Tag Archives: potion

Episode 998: The Absence of the Disturbances

“Somehow, the absence of them is more frightening than the disturbances themselves.”

I don’t know about you, but Quentin Collins has spent the evening jumping from one crisis to the next. He began by questioning his butler about the murder of Dameon Edwards, a mysterious gigolo who everyone had pretty much forgotten about, until he suddenly started projecting his essence around the house and conducting post-mortem piano recitals.

Then Quentin went downtown, where he found the mysterious John Yaeger beating a romantic rival with a cane, a spontaneous act of pointless violence which is somehow connected to Quentin’s friend Cyrus, a mad scientist who’s been writing mysterious thousand-dollar checks to cover other people’s bar fights. Quentin chased Yaeger from the docks to the bar, and from the bar to Cyrus’ lab, and then to a barmaid’s boarding house and finally back to the lab, where he almost cornered the guy but lost him at the last minute.

Now Quentin’s come home after a long, weary night, and Alexis, his mysterious sister-in-law, rushes to his side as soon as he walks in the door.

“Quentin!” she cries. “Thank god you’re back!”

Quentin goes on alert again. “Why, has something happened?”

“No, it’s not that,” she pants. “It’s just this house.” Which is typical.

“There haven’t been any more disturbances, have there?”

“No,” she admits, “but somehow, the absence of them is more frightening than the disturbances themselves.”

“What do you mean?”

“This house — it’s so quiet!” she breathes. It’s like the calm before the storm!”

Or maybe everything’s fine, Quentin thinks, and you need to cut back on the espresso.

Continue reading Episode 998: The Absence of the Disturbances

Episode 996: Love Potion No. 9

“When was the last time I became myself?”

We’ve all had nights like this, haven’t we? You’re living the wrong life, working at the wrong job, engaged to the wrong person. You long for the taste of something different on your tongue, something that gives you the power to flirt with strangers, and knock over tables, and tell people what you really think of them. Something that tastes like freedom. So you unlock the wall safe and grab that bottle of Do Not Touch juice, and you suck down way more than you probably should, and you go out looking for trouble. We’ve all done that, right? I mean, I haven’t, because I have self-respect. But your way is fine, too.

Continue reading Episode 996: Love Potion No. 9

Time Travel, part 8: She’s Me

“The cards — they have anticipated you!”

But that’s the thing about epic tragedies, you know? You don’t need spoiler alerts, because everybody knows how this is going to go.

Against all odds and two decades later, Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis managed to sell NBC on a prime-time revival of the show, reintroducing the characters and the stories that America once loved so deeply and temporarily. But this time, the show would have prime-time network production values, like shooting on film and doing retakes and thinking about things in advance. And they could tell the story properly now — introducing the vampire right from the start, and making sure that Josette is the lookalike of the right person.

And it’s here, in episode 8, when the show gets noticeably better. They’ve got some grown-up writers at last, and a tighter focus on the more appealing members of the cast. They know where the story’s going, and they don’t waste time trying to introduce two simultaneous female vengeance fire demons, like they did in episode 4. Things are finally starting to go uphill.

But we know what happens when things go uphill, especially if it’s Widow’s Hill. That road leads to a messy death on the rocks below, which is exactly what happens to our star-crossed revival.

Yes, the show gets better, here in the back half of the season, but not better enough, and it’s too late anyway; the ratings have sagged to such an extent that the gods have already decided the series’ fate. After this, NBC gives 9pm Friday to some equally doomed comedies, and then the NBC Friday Night Movie, and then Dateline. Twenty years after the lights go out on the great estate at Collinwood, NBC will finally manage to put a successful fantasy drama in this timeslot, but I’m afraid it’s going to be Grimm.

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Episode 750: Gypsy Ascendant

“I want to stay here, and watch them be destroyed one by one.”

So the lesson, I suppose, is don’t murder your wife, because it could turn out that she’s secretly a gypsy, and her siblings will trick you into drinking a magic potion. I mean, there are probably other reasons not to murder your wife, but that’s the one that comes to mind at the moment.

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Episode 474: You Only Live Twice

“We cannot be inundated with people you have met in the past!”

Angelique Collins — soap vixen, she-devil, champion of evil and destroyer of worlds — has torn the veil asunder and returned to this mortal plane, to bring ferocious plutonium-studded revenge to the family that wronged her. She accomplishes this by dropping a not-very-convincing black wig on her head, changing her name, and showing up at the house to see if anyone recognizes her.

This is not exactly the silliest thing that she’s ever done — she turned a dude into a cat last year, which is hard to beat — but it’s in the top three. It’s kind of like robbing a convenience store, shooting the cashier, and then showing up the next day to apply for the vacancy. I’m pretty sure they remember what you look like.

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Episode 377: Speed Dating

“I don’t know who she was. But your love was wrong, terribly wrong.”

You know, people talk about breaking new ground in the arts, but then you go and make an episode of afternoon television that ends with a woman holding the bloody stump of another woman’s demon-possessed arm, and all of a sudden everyone gets all weird about it.

They say, Where’s the romance? because apparently people think that soap operas should be about characters falling in love with each other. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. If you’ve got voodoo dolls, time travel, tarot cards and marionette bats, then who has time for all that sappy girl stuff?

But fine, whatever. Today — just for you — Dark Shadows is all about the love.

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Episode 372: Another Country

“Joshua Collins can think up a whole lot of ways to be cruel to a man.”

Vicki has mysteriously traveled back in time, from 1967 to 1795, and now she has to fit in, because she doesn’t know how to get home. She’s actually doing remarkably well, under the circumstances. Personally, I’m not sure what I’d do if I suddenly found myself in the wrong century; I don’t really have a backup plan for that. I’ve just tried to stay in the century that I’m in, and so far, it’s worked out okay. So Vicki does earn some respect, just for getting up in the morning and dealing with whatever year she happens to find herself in.

That being said, it’s Vicki, and she’s an idiot. So, obviously, when she meets a Collins family servant who looks like the guy who kidnapped and tried to kill her with an axe last year, she doesn’t say, “Aha, here’s another person from 1795 who coincidentally looks like someone that I used to know; I should play it cool and introduce myself.” Nope. She backs up against the wall and shouts, “Stay away from me!” and then she screams and screams and screams and screams and screams.

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