“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
“It was some kind of mumbo-jumbo!”
Meanwhile, it’s 1790, and governess Victoria Winters is trapped by time, stuck two centuries early with no ride home. She’s been locked up and accused of terrible things, and now she’s on trial for her life, represented by pop-eyed barrister Peter Bradford. Opposing counsel is the Reverend Trask, who’s assisted by reckless spinster Abigail Collins and his own eyebrows, not necessarily in that order. And the Countess Natalie DuPres is terribly worried about her niece Josette, a young woman who seems entirely unable to date anyone with more than a couple of days to live.
Oh, and Barnabas — d’you remember Barnabas? He used to be the main character on this television show — Barnabas is in a box, all by himself.
Continue reading Time Travel, part 11: Trial’s an Error
“Well, of course you have a hand. There it is, see?”
Edward Collins comes home from a hard day of whatever, and finds his younger brother Quentin swilling brandy in the drawing room. Quentin says that he needs it, after what happened today.
“All right, Quentin,” Edward sighs. “What has happened this time?”
And then this is the nonsense that happens next.
Continue reading Episode 803: What Fresh Hell
“Victoria Winters, your name is now known to fire!”
So here’s a way that you could open your TV show: start with a long scene of a witch chatting with her homemade tarot deck, as she assembles a house of cards in real time.
“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it,” Angelique says, “since I’ve had work for you. You must see each other face to face, and watch that each of you obeys my least command.”
She’s always giving little pep talks to her props like this. It’s sweet, and it encourages them to stay engaged in the process. Also, she doesn’t have any friends.
Continue reading Episode 400: Playing with Fire
“Please, allow this man to come here and perform his mumbo-jumbo, so that we can keep peace in this family.”
Yesterday, witch-vixen Angelique sent her unwilling henchman, Ben, to steal a hair ribbon from Abigail Collins, the twisted spinster who’s pretty much the last person you want to get caught stealing a hair ribbon from, if you plan on experiencing a single quiet moment in the next twelve months. So guess what happened.
Now, Ben doesn’t appear in today’s episode, so we can’t see what’s happening to him. Instead, we’ve got Angelique standing in the Old House drawing room, staring into space. “They caught Ben,” she reports. “He hasn’t completed my mission. He almost said my name.”
She shudders, and adds, “But he did say one word before I could stop him… Witch.” Ben is apparently live tweeting his interrogation.
Continue reading Episode 399: Hide and Seek
“The tarot cards give us access to knowledge of the occult which cannot be transmitted either orally or in writing.”
On Friday, a vengeful Angelique cast a spell on Josette and Jeremiah, sending them like sleepwalkers to a forbidden tryst, outside in the moonlight. Josette was followed by her aunt, the Countess Natalie, who was an eyewitness as the spellbound couple embraced, and pledged their love.
Now it’s the next morning, and Natalie does the only sensible thing she can do — she brings Josette’s father, Andre, out to the spot where the lovers met, and tells him that they’re being menaced by an evil force.
That doesn’t necessarily sound like the logical next move, but soap operas are approximately 90% information management. If somebody does something, then the next day, everybody has to stand around and talk about it. And if it’s a secret, then there’s all kinds of extra information management activity, including eavesdropping, speculating and making up excuses. Frankly, we’re lucky anything ever happens at all.
Oh, and we’re still in the past, by the way. Remember how we were in the past? Well, we’re still there.
Continue reading Episode 376: Card Tricks