“What kind of life do you lead, Mr. Jennings?”
Two weeks ago, Dark Shadows entered a period that I’m calling The Great 1968 Wrap-Up, a long overdue narrative house-cleaning. Soap opera storylines are always a bit of a tangled web, but if you’re not careful, the structure becomes so dense that it collapses in on itself, and becomes a dangerous gravitational singularity.
- Barnabas Collins isn’t a vampire anymore, because his life force is shared with
- Adam, a Frankenstein monster who’s trying to start a family with
- Eve, a female monster who’s animated by the life force of
- Danielle, a French Revolution-era murderess, who’s madly in love with
- Peter, the 18th-century lawyer who’s traveled through time to follow
- Vicki, the Collins family governess, who was just left at the altar by
- Jeff, who’s discovered that he’s actually a reincarnation of
- Peter, and he’s not very happy about it.
Obviously, that’s a complex set of facts and relationships for the audience to keep in mind, especially because the one thing that absolutely everybody knows about Dark Shadows is that it’s the story of Barnabas Collins, who yes he is a vampire, what are you even talking about that he’s not a vampire anymore?
So that’s the level of mess that we’re dealing with here. We’re currently two weeks into this massive clean-up project, and we’ve now reached the stage where they’re just strangling cast members and leaving them in the closet.
Continue reading Episode 627: Bad Moon Rising
“Is that what you’ll do with me, when you don’t want me anymore? Will you have someone carry me to the woods, and kill me?”
“You are my slave,” Angelique says, staring directly into the camera. Try not to take it personally. She probably doesn’t mean you, specifically.
“You must come to me,” she adds. “Hurry!” Then she says it again, in an increasingly urgent tone. “Hurry! HURRY!”
I need to point out that this is not what normal television usually looks like. I feel like I have to say that every once in a while, just to remind myself that normal television exists.
Continue reading Episode 608: You Are My Someone
“If I had known you were going to pursue your usual nonsense, I would never have come downstairs.”
Okay, there’s just one more week of the Dream Curse, one of the most tedious storylines in all of Dark Shadows. When I started this blog, I knew that the Dream Curse was going to be a hard period to work through. The problem for me isn’t really that the episodes are bad — some of my best entries are for bad episodes — it’s that they’re so repetitive. There are only so many ways that you can talk about a three-month storyline where exactly nothing happens.
But soap operas are resilient beasts; they rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher and better things. Probably. I’m pretty sure we’ll get to cool stuff at some point.
So here we are, in the darkest hour, fidgeting and waiting impatiently for the dawn. But what the hell. Let’s have some fun.
Continue reading Episode 532/533: In Darkest Hour
“I will hate you until I end your life, and I will end it.”
Man, did you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? Meet Barnabas Collins. He’s experiencing an epic, unbroken string of days like that, which is a real shame, because he doesn’t have a whole lot of days left. As the saying goes: Life sucks, and then you die. And then things start to go seriously downhill from there.
Continue reading Episode 403: But I Loved You, and Other Excuses
“I’m the sole judge of who deserves what!”
Time is running out for Maggie Evans, who’s still being held prisoner in the Old House basement. Her only hope is that the mysterious little girl who she saw on Monday will come back, bringing parents, the police and a crossbow.
Maggie’s just on the verge of giving up when Sarah suddenly appears in the cell, still playing with a ball and singing “London Bridge”. This is a new milestone for the show. On Monday, it was possible that this was just a really weird kid who’s been hiding in the basement since the late 18th century. But today, the girl straight-up apparates through a brick wall, leaving no room for doubt.
Continue reading Episode 258: The Casual Ghost