Tag Archives: jane

Episode 849: Here Today

“Where have you been? To Boston, for some new finery?”

Honestly, what can be done to rid this town of Josettes?

We kidnap them, we shoot them, we hang them, we throw them off a cliff onto the rocks and the raging sea, and they always come back — sighing, fretting, and making a nuisance of themselves. The problem, really, is that the Collins family insists on hiring governesses, which is a Josette-heavy industry.

The latest Josette is named Kitty. It turns out she was a governess once, and she married her employer, Lord Hampshire. Her husband is dead now — suicide, obviously — and the child is nowhere to be seen, which is all par for the course when you let a Josette into your house. Ruin and devastation, as far as the eye can see.

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Episode 733: Pretty People are the Devil’s Playthings

“It would break his heart, just as it would break your neck!”

Rachel Drummond, girl governess and Nancy Drew cosplay enthusiast, has had just about enough of this nonsense. She’d just managed to put her difficult past behind her and move on with her life, when who should walk in but her difficult past, and his wife.

Rachel is an orphan, as all governesses are, and she was raised at Worthington Hall, an oppressive work camp run by the odious Reverend Trask. After years of confinement, she managed to sneak past the barbed wire and light out for the territory, and now, by some grotesque mischance, the gendarmes have found her at Collinwood, and they want to drag her back to the Hall.

But Rachel has no patience for this. She has no intention of going anywhere with these people, and she’s ready for a fight. So it turns out that Rachel has a personality after all; it must have been stuck in baggage claim when she first arrived.

Continue reading Episode 733: Pretty People are the Devil’s Playthings

Episode 727: Nick and Jane

“Does something evil change to good for no reason?”

Okay, time to hit the books again. The new Dark Shadows writing team has decided that it would be cool to introduce a new subplot every week, just to see what happens, and they’ve gone back to the library for material.

They’re not content to just do a simple Turn of the Screw time travel sequel starring Count Dracula, like normal people would. Over the last six weeks, they’ve also introduced characters and plot points from Jane Eyre, The Crucible, The Telltale Heart and Nancy Drew.

And just when you think you’ve got a handle on what’s going on, there’s a knock at the door, and who walks in but a deluxe combo of Mr. Brocklehurst from Jane Eyre, and Mr. Squeers from Nicholas Nickelby. It’s like freshman English all over again; we should get course credit for this.

Continue reading Episode 727: Nick and Jane

Episode 717: Mommy Weirdest

“They’re dolls! Plain ordinary breakable dolls! She has dozens of them, and can’t tell the difference between them.”

Mad Jenny Collins is loose in the haunted corridors of ABC daytime television, eyeliner askew and ready for adventure. She’s been locked up in the tower room for god knows how long, and from the looks of her, it hasn’t been a soothing experience.

She keeps breaking out of her cell and setting fire to people’s bedrooms, which isn’t a productive use of her time, and at the moment she’s got hold of a pair of scissors that must be left over from the Jurassic era. You know how they tell you not to run with scissors? You shouldn’t even walk with these. That’s a pair of scissors where you close the door and turn the lights off and hope it goes away.

It’s not easy to explain just how insane this situation is, so let’s see how Charlotte Brontë described it, in Chapter 20 of Jane Eyre:

What crime was this that lived incarnate in this sequestered mansion, and could neither be expelled nor subdued by the owner? — what mystery, that broke out now in fire and now in blood, at the deadest hours of night? What creature was it, that, masked in an ordinary woman’s face and shape, uttered the voice, now of a mocking demon, and anon of a carrion-seeking bird of prey?

Well, I mean. You have to give it up to Charlotte B for that. I can’t speak for anybody else, but in my opinion I think she nailed it.

Continue reading Episode 717: Mommy Weirdest

Episode 715: The Secret of the Mysterious Clue

“I see a night of terror! I see strange screams, muffled sounds!”

Rachel Drummond, plucky girl detective, climbs the stairs to the Collinwood tower room. According to legend, no one has set foot in this room for a hundred years, but something’s happening up there — something sinister.

As she climbs, Rachel reviews the case. She came to this big spooky mansion as the governess for Edward Collins’ two young children — but nobody is willing to say what happened to their mother. “My wife is not dead,” Edward said. “She is away. She is going to stay away.”

But Rachel’s seen a light in the abandoned tower room, which is impossible. She’s seen the maid bring a new doll into the house, but the children say they never received it. And every time she asks a question, everyone tells her that some things are better left unanswered.

They can’t put off Rachel that easily. There’s a mystery hidden in this house — something sad, and dangerous — and she’s going to get to the bottom of it. The idea that this is none of her fucking business does not seem to have occurred to her.

Continue reading Episode 715: The Secret of the Mysterious Clue

Episode 707: Another Jane

“I know Collinwood more intimately than anyone else in the family.”

Her name is Rachel Drummond. Her journey is beginning, a journey that she hopes will open the doors of life to her, and link her past with her future. A journey that will bring her to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea, high atop Widows’ Hill, a house called Collinwood — a world she’s never known, with people she’s never met, people who tonight are still only shadows in her mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of her tomorrows.

And, man, talk about linking the past with the future. Here we are three years later, and we’re still doing Jane Eyre.

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Episode 457: Misdirection

“I must go somewhere — find someone — no matter what the consequence!”

Well, we’ve stunned Joan Bennett, if that helps. You can check that off your bucket list.

But never mind that — the big story today is happening on the other side of the camera. Apparently, this is Take Your Executive Producer to Work Day, as we begin a week of episodes directed by a certain Mr. Dan Curtis.

Dan was the creator of Dark Shadows, and the primary creative force behind the show. He’s an interesting guy — a bold thinker, driven, aggressive, and one of television’s true eccentrics.

My favorite Dan story comes from Leonard Goldberg, an ABC executive who was interviewed for a DVD bonus feature. Before Dark Shadows, Dan was a golf show producer, but one day, he called Goldberg and said, “I have to tell you — last night, I dreamt a daytime show.”

He said, “There’s this girl, and she gets on a train, and she’s very nice and very pretty, but very fragile, and she’s going up into New England somewhere. And she’s going to be the governess for a man, who’s a very scary kind of guy, who lives on this big, lonely –“

I said, “Dan, Dan, Dan — let me stop you for a second. You’re telling me the story of Jane Eyre.” And he said, “What’s Jane Eyre?”

I said, “Well, it’s a very famous story.” He said, “Is anybody doing it for daytime television?” I said “No,” and he said, “So, let me finish.”

That’s the guy who can create Dark Shadows. I was about to say, “who can create a show like Dark Shadows,” but that’s the point — there is no other show like Dark Shadows. That’s who Dan Curtis is.

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Episode 269: Loving the Monster

“You’re doing a wrong thing!”

Comforting thoughts, courtesy of Dark Shadows: Any time you think you’re having a run of bad luck, think of Elizabeth at this moment. She’s being blackmailed into marrying a man that she despises, and the only way out is to throw herself off the cliff at the top of Widows’ Hill. And who shows up to talk her down off the ledge? Her screeching, judgemental, charm-free governess, Victoria Winters.

But I’m sure it’ll work out, because there’s no sense of real threat here. I don’t care how many times Liz walks up to the edge; there’s not a single person in the audience who honestly believes that she’s going to jump. Even if you don’t watch a lot of soap operas, anybody can spot this as a narrative dead end. It’s just not going to happen.

So, for me, the real question is: Why do I love this show so much, when I can’t stand the main character?

Continue reading Episode 269: Loving the Monster