Tag Archives: moon

Episode 1034: Mistakes in Justice

“I tried slapping her, and telling her there was no such person as Alvah.”

And so, as Sabrina sinks slowly in the west, we wonder: is there any other version of this story we could pay attention to instead?

I mean, the current storyline on Dark Shadows basically entails Barnabas struggling to save fake Maggie from fake Angelique, as they fight over an imitation Quentin made of straw and food coloring. Sabrina is gone and Julia is on the ascendant, but still, it’s Parallel Time and there’s only so much I can deal with. So how about today we turn to an equally ersatz band of time, and see what’s happening over at the Paperback Library?

Dan “Marilyn” Ross is currently pumping out Dark Shadows novels at the rate of 159 pages a month, and honestly they’re just as canon as anything else, so we ought to keep an eye on them just to make sure they’re not hurting anybody. The current installment as of May 1970 is #17 in the PBL Gothic series: Barnabas, Quentin and the Avenging Ghost, the second book to use the “Barnabas, Quentin and…” construction.

The cover blurb says “Barnabas and Quentin join forces against Collinwood’s ghostly killer,” which isn’t strictly accurate, in that they don’t join forces, it’s not necessarily Quentin, there isn’t a ghost, and nobody gets killed. Besides that, it’s fine.

Continue reading Episode 1034: Mistakes in Justice

Time Travel, part 7: Here We Go Again

“You know of such things as zippers and machine wash, and you do not even know the year?”

Vampire playboy Barnabas Collins has been out of his box for six weeks now, and to be perfectly honest with you, he has not used his time productively.

Twenty years ago, Barnabas was bound up in chains and sent into cold storage, because ABC Daytime couldn’t think of anything else to do with him. In 1991, he was released for good behavior, and given a sweet prime-time slot on NBC. Yes, I know it’s on Friday nights, but think of all the starving vampires in Africa who don’t even get a show on Fridays.

The way that I understand it, this new iteration of Barnabas is supposed to be a charismatic bloodsucking charm machine, fascinating and sexy and passionate. What we’ve got is more in the area of mopey and spiteful, a self-involved bully who’s unable to form emotional connections with other people. He’s murdered at least four people so far, including a member of the Collins family, and last week he turned another Collins girl into his blood slave, and made her commit crimes that absolutely would have resulted in a prison sentence, if she’d turned out to be any good at it.

Barnabas’ big redeeming feature is supposed to be that he’s pining for girl governess Victoria Winters, who reminds him of his long-lost love Josette. But apart from a couple candlelight dinner dates, he’s hardly even talked to her, and instead he’s been using up all his romance time on blood-fueled makeout sessions with his own descendants.

Fortunately, Dark Shadows comes equipped with a built-in escape hatch, constructed in 1967 because the original series couldn’t figure out what to do with Barnabas either. It’s a custom bespoke time portal, carrying Vicki back to the late 18th century, on a sightseeing tour of the Collins family history.

So Vicki goes tumbling down the ruby slipper hole, to take another shot at rebooting the reboot. Look out below!

Continue reading Time Travel, part 7: Here We Go Again

Time Travel, part 6: One Giant Leap

“SHUT UP I WILL HEAR NO MORE!!!”

Today’s episode of Dark Shadows did not air on July 21st, 1969, because over the weekend, a couple of crazy kids from the Kennedy Space Center went and landed a rocket ship on the entire moon. This amazing stunt was picked up by the press somehow — I guess they had viral videos back then — and there was continuous commercial-free coverage of the event on all three networks for 34 straight hours.

The Eagle landed on the moon on Sunday afternoon Eastern time, and on Sunday night, Neil Armstrong was the first person to step onto the surface of the moon. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the moon on Monday afternoon, and at the time that Dark Shadows would have been on the air, the Eagle was approaching Command Module Columbia to prepare for the return trip to Earth.

ABC got hammered, by the way. All three networks were showing basically the same thing, but CBS had Walter Cronkite, who was that most elusive of creatures, a respected television news anchor. They also had a scale model of the lunar module, and a seven foot long conveyer belt so they could simulate what it would look like for the astronauts orbiting the moon. But mostly they had Cronkite, for 32 of the 34 hours of coverage. Apparently his keepers at CBS wouldn’t let him sleep.

So CBS got a 45 share of the viewing public, NBC got a 34 share, and ABC had a 14 share. Each network invested 1.5 million dollars to broadcast the mission, and they couldn’t run commercials in case something blew up or they found a moon monster. So ABC lost a lot of money, and everybody was watching Cronkite anyway. They might as well have showed Dark Shadows.

I wonder, on that sunny Monday afternoon, if there were any kids staring at the scale models pretending to dock with each other, and thinking, Come onnnnnn! They just ripped off Count Petofi’s hand on Friday! Enough already with the moon! I probably would have thought that, but I’m bad at priorities.

Continue reading Time Travel, part 6: One Giant Leap

Episode 676: Murder Club

“Well, it’s obvious you’ve forgotten that you attacked me in this graveyard, the night before last.”

And then, one day, you find yourself walking with a mysterious older man to a secret place where he says he can keep you all night and nobody will ever know, and you ask yourself, how did my life end up this way?

Continue reading Episode 676: Murder Club

Episode 674: Donna of the Dead

“Would you want to see a sister of yours, if you’d been responsible for everything that had happened here?”

“There is one possible explanation,” Barnabas says, as he paces the drawing room thoughtfully. “The man turned into an animal.”

And you know what? He’s right. That is the only explanation that anyone considers. Nobody else even tries.

Continue reading Episode 674: Donna of the Dead

Episode 671: The Phone Book of the Dead

“You know how girls are, they’re always having dizzy spells.”

Carolyn’s heading out for a moonlight stroll over to her mother’s private mausoleum. Elizabeth died three weeks ago, but Carolyn insists on paying regular visits to the crypt, just for old times’ sake.

Before she clocked out, Liz was convinced that she would be buried alive — everyone would think she was dead, but she’d really be lying in a comatose state, trapped in a coffin and unable to call for help. So she built herself a state-of-the-art mausoleum, complete with a push-button at her fingertips that she could press if she suddenly got better.

So Carolyn goes to visit every day, wondering if her mother will ever revive. Maggie tells her that it would be better if she could just accept her mother’s death, but Carolyn says that she still keeps hoping.

Maggie finally blurts out, “It’s not possible for someone to come back from the dead,” except on Dark Shadows, of course, where they never do anything else.

Continue reading Episode 671: The Phone Book of the Dead

Episode 652/653: Kill the Moon

“It was the moon! I’m afraid of the moon, Barnabas, and I don’t know why!”

We’re in the dying days of the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, when all of the year’s dangling plot threads are finally resolved, and we can move on with our lives. Today’s episode aired on Christmas Eve 1968, and there’s just a couple more shoes to drop before the clock strikes midnight and we start a new year.

One of the last remaining storylines is the curse that Cassandra put on Elizabeth in a fit of pique, condemning her to do nothing but ruminate obsessively about her own death. This is an incidental story thread that’s been dragging on for more than six months, and for a while it seemed like they might forget all about it. But now Cassandra’s revenge is back with a vengeance, and we’re just going to have to deal with it.

When we left Liz yesterday, she’d wandered out of the house and walked to the graveyard, where she collapsed and pretended that she was dead for a minute. Barnabas went out to retrieve her, and now he’s scooped her up and brought her back home.

The interesting thing, as we close up these remaining story threads, is that Barnabas now appears to be in charge of everything. Liz’s collapse has left Collinwood with a bit of a power vacuum — Roger’s away on business, Vicki’s run off with her husband, and Carolyn has stepped off screen and won’t be back unti Friday. So Barnabas steps in, spending all of his time this week just fussing around and taking care of everybody.

This may be the point in the show when Barnabas the serial killer turns into the redeemed character that people remember — a cross between kindly uncle, butler and babysitter.

Continue reading Episode 652/653: Kill the Moon