Tag Archives: ritual

Episode 700: I Ching the Body Electric

“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

Episode 699: The Player

“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

Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat

“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

Episode 622: Heated Arguments on Somebody Else’s Lawn

“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…

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Episode 609: Nobody Understands Dark Shadows But Me

“Why do I remember that sometimes the trees have no leaves at all, and at other times, the leaves are green?”

So Adam the enormous Frankenteen is standing around in the drawing room, when his mate Eve opens the door and gives him a look.

This is what she does all day, apparently, just walks around the house giving people looks. Turns out that’s a job.

Continue reading Episode 609: Nobody Understands Dark Shadows But Me

Episode 507: The Spirit of St. George

“According to my calculations, only one more person must have the dream.”

I knew this was going to be hard. When I started this uncertain and frightening journey through Dark Shadows, I knew that the Dream Curse storyline was waiting for me, and it was going to test my endurance more than anything else on the show. But here I am, six weeks into the story, and I just looked at my episode guide, and I’m only halfway through. We’re currently at the beginning of June 1968, and the Dream Curse ends in mid-July.

I know I keep saying “Here’s the problem with the Dream Curse,” but here’s the problem with the Dream Curse: characters just saunter in and out of the storyline, and it doesn’t seem to matter. The allegedly terrifying chain-letter dream sequence moves from one character to another, and once they’ve passed the baton on to the next person, they drop out of the storyline.

Remember when it was a big deal that Mrs. Johnson needed to go to Boston, so she wouldn’t pass the dream on to Jeff? Or was that David? Or Julia. I’m pretty sure it was either Julia or River Song. No, wait, that’s Doctor Who. I’ve got this written down somewhere.

Continue reading Episode 507: The Spirit of St. George

Time Travel, part 2: Blood, Sweat and Tears

“Oh, God. Oh, God. Doc… please. Oh, God, doc. I’m beggin’ ya. I’m beggin’ ya. I’m beggin’ ya. Please, doc. Please. Oh, God. Oh, God. God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Doc. No. No. God. No.”

Merry Christmas! Today’s episode of Dark Shadows was pre-empted for Christmas Day 1967, because apparently people would rather watch football than 18th century vampires on Christmas, go figure. I want this blog to keep the Monday-to-Friday rhythm of the original broadcast, so we’re going to do some more time travel today, back to the year 1991, when NBC recklessly decided to give executive producer Dan Curtis another shot at making Dark Shadows all over again.

As we saw in the two-hour pilot episode, the Dark Shadows revival started with all the best intentions and all the worst ideas.

The main character is Victoria Winters, because after all these years we still think that’s a solid plan, but at least they did us the favor of not having her speak very much. I don’t think she has a single line in this entire episode.

We’ve also got a mentally challenged backwoods Willie Loomis, a sour-faced Julia with no sense of humor, a breathless Cinemax refugee who answers to the name of Carolyn, and don’t even get me started on Barnabas and the turtlenecks. On the plus side, we’ve got a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt as David, so at least there’s some star power on the set.

NBC aired the two-hour pilot on Sunday, January 13th, and then the second and third episodes together on the next night, and pretended it was some kind of exciting four-hour miniseries event. To be clear, we’re just watching episode 2 today. I’m only human, and besides, it’s Christmas.

Continue reading Time Travel, part 2: Blood, Sweat and Tears

Time Travel, part 1: Mist Opportunities

“I’m just glad to be here.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thursday’s episode of Dark Shadows was pre-empted this week, so ABC could air football on Thanksgiving afternoon. I want the blog to keep the Monday-to-Friday rhythm of the original broadcast, so today, the normal blog entry is pre-empted by our own Thanksgiving treat.

Today, we’re going to do some time travel, fast-forwarding to the mysterious far-off year of 1991. It’s a Sunday night in January, and NBC is airing the prime-time remake of Dark Shadows. This first episode is a two-hour journey into the unknown, so let’s get started…

Continue reading Time Travel, part 1: Mist Opportunities

Episode 314: A Logical Explanation

“I’ve got a feeling about this doll.”

It’s the next morning, and Joe’s been out all night searching for young David, who’s trapped in the secret room in the mausoleum.

Joe walks over to Maggie’s house, and he slumps down into a chair to grab a few moments of rest. He’s exhausted, and dirty, and he hasn’t shaved. And you remember how yesterday I noticed that Joe is really handsome? Cause, damn.

But there’s no time for romance; we’ve got serious business today. Worn out from weeks of baffling mysteries, Joe finally says what everyone’s been thinking.

“We all know there’s something very strange going on in this town,” he says, “but I’m beginning to think that it’s something so strange that…”

That what, Joe?

“That it borders on the supernatural.”

BOOM! And the world explodes.

Continue reading Episode 314: A Logical Explanation