“It is difficult to rechannel my thoughts after three years of thinking about nothing but you.”
So it’s not the late 60s anymore, is what I’m saying, and eventually a show that’s as adamantly late 60s as Dark Shadows is going to run into trouble when it tries to outlive its environment.
As you know, the difference between the 1960s and the 1970s is that in the 70s, America discovered the concepts of responsibility and safety. In late 1969, the innocent flower children of Woodstock met the lawless, murderous Hells Angels of Altamont, and the good trip became a bad one, to our lasting disadvantage.
At that point, the American people decided that maybe giving their children exposed metal hot plates as toys wasn’t such a great idea, and maybe we should try wearing seat belts, and using child-proof caps, and not letting the Manson Family stay in the guest house. You know, the whole actions have consequences, gravity is real, sometimes people are assholes thing that ruins so many promising utopias.
Continue reading Episode 995: I’ll Bite Anything
“Coming back from the dead is not a trick, Bruno!”
Okay, everybody gather round the table; it’s seance time again. Our hands must touch, obviously. Everybody knows about the hands. You can’t get anything done unless your hands touch.
Today, we’re making contact with my friend Randall Jessup, who’s going to confer with me on several subjects of great importance, specifically: what’s wrong with Sabrina, the dubious value of re-enacting things, what’s wrong with Parallel Time, what’s wrong with Sabrina (again, at length), and finally, a foolproof plan for what’s going to happen in the final year of this blog.
Continue reading Episode 990: Let It Burn
“I’m not just a little boy in every room in this house!”
Right now, I’m writing these words, and right now, you’re reading them, and those cannot possibly be the same “right now,” and so there is a time distortion in everything that we know about each other.
On Dark Shadows, it’s January 1970. For me, at the moment, it’s September 2016. For you, it’s some impossible-to-predict time in the future — a couple hundred of you today, and a couple thousand of you this week, and then who knows how many, in the long tail of tomorrows to come.
Continue reading Episode 927: A Limited Number of Tomorrows
“Dorcas Trilling, you are a great comfort to me.”
This is the first time we meet Dorcas Trilling, sycophant and instructress at Reverend Trask’s sleepaway punishment school for inconvenient children, and within seconds, she’s working our last nerve.
Continue reading Episode 751: Day of the Dorcas
“And there it was… a MYSTERY BODY!”
The story so far: I began writing this blog two Labor Day weekends ago, starting with Barnabas emerging from the mystery box in episode 210. Now it’s Labor Day weekend again, and by some cruel trick of time, my journey into the past has reached the halfway mark.
This is the midpoint between episode 210 and the end of this uncertain and frightening television show, and to mark the occasion, I should probably say something profound and clever about this episode that sums up what these last two years have taught us about vampires and storytelling and character development and natural selection and chromakey and why you should never give a gun to an actor, even an unloaded prop gun, because honestly, they will find a way to hurt themselves.
Unfortunately, it turns out that I don’t have very much to say about today’s episode, except that this is the one where, for one tantalizing moment, it looks like Quentin and Barnabas are about to kiss.
Continue reading Episode 720: Halfway
“Now you’re dead, and you’re going to stay dead.”
Pursued relentlessly by the muffled-tympani sound of a beating heart, black sheep and future poltergeist Quentin Collins races downstairs to the study, to check on his dead grandmother.
This is the first running of the Telltale Heart Grand Prix, and as Quentin applies the brakes and shudders to a stop, he finds Edith sitting up in her casket at the finish line, grinning at him like being dead is the most fun she’s had in years.
So there we are; it’s happened. The haunter has become the haunted.
Continue reading Episode 710: Been Caught Stealing
“Is this some kind of black magic?”
Fire in the lake: the image of revolution.
Thus the superior man
Sets the calendar in order
And makes the seasons clear.
Professor Stokes, this I Ching that you’re studying. How does it work?
For the last few months, Dark Shadows has concerned itself with two big storylines — the werewolf, and the haunting of Collinwood.
Currently, our sexy young wolfman, Chris, is all locked up in the secret room of the Collins mausoleum, unable to change back to human form.
Meanwhile, the spirit of avenging ancestor Quentin Collins has chased the family out of Collinwood, and they live in exile. Quentin is holding young David, the future of the Collins line, in a hidden room somewhere in this utterly haunted house, and we fear the worst. Both stories have reached a crisis point, and Barnabas and Julia have absolutely no idea what to do next.
So here comes Professor Stokes to tell us absurd things about Chinese divination, because wisdom comes from far away, and besides, seances are so 1967.
Continue reading Episode 700: I Ching the Body Electric
“Don’t you realize that Quentin is a bad person?”
The next morning, Barnabas and Julia return to the Collins family mausoleum to collect their werewolf friend, Chris. But when the stone door swings open, they find that he’s still a snarling, well-dressed animal; he hasn’t changed back to a human again.
Half-beast and half-man, Chris is stuck in that moment of transition, and he can’t find his way back to where he was before. But who can?
Continue reading Episode 699: The Player
“You will live, as I live — as one of the damned!”
Fall 1968 is a rough time for the Dark Shadows writers, because they’re stuck with a convoluted storyline that just won’t unconvolute. So they’ve embarked on the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, where they shed all of the characters, actors and plotlines that are surplus to requirements, which is practically all of them.
In this time of turbulent change, we turn to the old traditions for comfort. I mean the really old traditions, like dressing up in animal skins and making blood offerings to Asmodeus.
Continue reading Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat
“The powers you have, they give you a certain amount of control over time and space.”
Once upon a time, there was a little lost princess…
Continue reading Episode 622: Heated Arguments on Somebody Else’s Lawn