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Episode 1226: Eternal Invisible

“Umba… Umba… Man of no time… Let your will leave your body… Let your will be mine… Umba… Umba… Man of no time… Will leave body… Will be mine…”

We now have only four more weeks of Dark Shadows ahead of us, as Collinwood falls under the sway of several confusing ghosts. To take our minds off the looming pencils-down, let’s look to the future: specifically, April 1973, and the Gold Key comic books.

By this point in the television series, everybody basically agrees that there’s a 1970s status quo, with Elizabeth, Roger, Carolyn, David and sometimes Quentin living at Collinwood, and Barnabas bunking out at the Old House, with slight variations. It’s just Elizabeth, Roger and Quentin in the comics, and just Elizabeth and Carolyn in the comic strip, while Barnabas lives at Collinwood in the Lara Parker novels. But there’s always a stable structure based around the great estate, as a starting point for new stories.

With that basic structure in mind, there are two kinds of plots that the spinoffs can accommodate: #1) a new person arrives at Collinwood to make trouble, and #2) Barnabas and/or Quentin are sent off somewhere else.

That second story type is interesting, because it never happened on the show. Like most soap operas, the Dark Shadows story is tied to a specific town, and often to a specific mansion. The idea that Barnabas would travel to Venice, Cairo or Salem for a storyline would be unthinkable on the television show; they only had enough studio space for the drawing room, the Old House, the mausoleum and some woods, and could maybe stretch as far as Maggie’s house or Widow’s Hill if they were feeling particularly adventurous.

The only real analogues to the “Barnabas adventure” story on the show were his trips to 1897, Parallel Time and 1840, which were treated like exotic locations even though they were located in exactly the same house. That idea was picked up in the comics, which sent Barnabas hurtling into the past and the future of Collinwood, but they also used more exotic locales, as we’ll see today.

The question for the day is: What happens when you set Barnabas adrift in another fictional world? And the answer, obviously, is that he destroys everything and leaves no survivors.

Continue reading Episode 1226: Eternal Invisible

Episode 1178: The Mary Sue

“Linger, my friend, while I tell you my fascinating thoughts.”

“Mr. Collins, are you there?” calls Lamar Trask, talking to a brick wall. He’s excited, this is his first murder.

Trask has walled up the trans-temporal eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins in a basement alcove, for vengeance purposes. First he thought that Barnabas murdered his father, the Reverend Trask, fifty years ago. Now he knows that Barnabas isn’t a vampire, but he still thinks that Barnabas is responsible for his father’s death. Or maybe it was Barnabas’ father who was responsible. It’s not clear to me what Trask thinks. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, one way or another.

“Mr. Collins, something has occurred to me,” he continues. “Something I think you might find interesting. Shall I tell you?” From behind the wall, Barnabas says yes. Apparently he’s still taking calls.

“Good,” Trask smirks. “You’re not dead yet. Linger, my friend, while I tell you my fascinating thoughts.” Which kind of sounds like what I’m saying, at this point in the blog.

Continue reading Episode 1178: The Mary Sue

Episode 1058: When I Am Not With You

“Do you know how the world is? It’s so very light when I’m with you.”

Roxanne is terrible. Dear god, she is terrible.

I’m hard on Barnabas love interests in general; I don’t actually like Josette all that much, either, which I know is a controversial stance. I appreciate her role in the story — obviously, she’s crucial — but when Josette and Barnabas are together, they don’t talk about anything but love. His relationship with Vicki was neutered and unimportant — in that case, he was really just a third-wheel spoiler between Vicki and Jeff. The parade of Josette lookalikes were kind of fun, but only when they were Rachel and Kitty and Maggie; as soon as Josette took over, they got boring again. Really, the only story-productive relationships that Barnabas has are with Angelique and Julia, and everyone else is an also-ran.

But Roxanne is so far beyond anything we’ve seen before. Roxanne is toxic.

Continue reading Episode 1058: When I Am Not With You