“I’m thinking that the spirit of James Forsythe has gradually retrogressed.”
One-time parallel pop idol Quentin Collins manhandles his older brother Morgan into a bedroom at gunpoint, an eventuality which under other circumstances could be the starting point for an intriguing afternoon.
Morgan Collins, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of 1680 power-broker James Forsythe, was found throttling his aunt Julia with a garotte under the impression that she’s Constance Collins, also of 1680, which she clearly isn’t, so I’m not sure where he got the idea. Morgan was stymied, but he plans to try again, and he’s going to keep on trying until he runs out of aunts.
So Quentin locks Morgan in the bedroom, with a pair of armed servants guarding the room, one in the hall and the other outside the window. This is how the Collins family of 1841 Parallel Time deals with civil unrest; they’ve also got brother Gabriel locked up in the tower room for exactly the same reason.
Morgan pounds on the door fiercely, with both fists. “Let me out of here!” he shouts. “Do you hear me? I’m going to get out somehow, and when I do, I’m going to kill you! I’m going to kill every Collins I can get my hands on! Do you hear me?” They do, but they don’t find his argument compelling. They’re already aware that he wants to kill them; that’s why they’re locking him up in the first place. This is not going to go over well at his pre-trial detention hearing.
So now there are two people whose response to this storyline is to become a crazed, ranting lunatic with violent tendencies, and neither of them is me, which is a miracle.
Continue reading Episode 1230: Mortal Engines
“I can see Collinwood — but not the Collinwood of today!”
As we careen toward the conclusion of this rattletrap of a television show, I’ve been peering into David Collins’ crystal ball, which now happens to be in my personal possession for reasons that I’ll tell you about later, and I’ve been looking forward into the future of Dark Shadows, to see what happens to this story, once the story is over. This is the War for Dark Shadows, the battle to determine what this story becomes in the decades ahead.
As we all know, the organizing principle of Dark Shadows is Oh my god, what are we going to do next, the agonized heartcry of a team of writers and producers trying desperately to stay ahead of the audience. The only way to do this is to triangulate based on what the viewers are currently responding to, and then steer towards the next surprise.
Continue reading Episode 1216: Return to Return to Collinwood
“Tell me, why do you insist on being a bad historian?”
Quentin Collins is broadcasting on all frequencies, into the unknown. “We seek the spirit of our dear, departed ancestor,” he candle-calls, “who remains so very close to all of us!” That’s a bit of a stretch. Quentin is currently organizing this let-your-fingers-do-the-walking seance slumber party in order to find out why that dear, departed ancestor left him and his family with a hundred and sixty-one years’ worth of tedious curse, and Brutus isn’t even going to pick up the phone.
Instead, Melanie shuts her eyes, moans and arches her back, which is the seance version of clearing your throat. “Lottery!” she chokes. “Now!” Quentin and Flora look on, in horror. “Lottery!” she repeats. “Now! Or — all — will — DIE!”
She begins to scream. “PLAGUE!” she chants. “DIE! PLAGUE! DIE! PLAGUE! DIE!”
So obviously Quentin’s wondering, ummm, is it possible there’s someone else there that we could talk to?
Continue reading Episode 1211: Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague, Die, Plague
“We’re innocent — yet, terribly guilty!”
You know, sometimes you find yourself in the woods, in the middle of the night, standing over a perfectly rectangular hole that you’ve dug, dressed up like an angry leprechaun and surrounded by plastic trees. You gaze down at the disaster you’ve uncovered — the busted body of your sister Stella, recently killed and inadequately inhumed — and you ask yourself, what the hell kind of soap opera am I living in, anyway?
Continue reading Episode 1209: Birdland
“Nature puts a bar between the worlds of the living and the dead for a reason.”
The sun rises once again on the house on the hill; Collinwood wakes to a new day. Many changes have come to the house, and to those who reside therein, as the years of time have swept by.
And it has been years of time, hasn’t it? Specifically, it’s currently August 2003 and this is the Brooklyn Marriott, which may not be the time or the place you were expecting. That’s time for you, I guess; it’s sneaky that way.
This post is another installment of The War for Dark Shadows, the decades-long struggle that’s taken place after the show’s finale to define what Dark Shadows is, and find fresh perspectives. Today, we’re going to jump into a Dark Shadows Festival in full flow, and listen to the Big Beginning.
Continue reading Episode 1190: The Years of Time
“I don’t know what is happening inside you, but it is evil.”
“Witchcraft!” cries Barnabas. “Of course I’ll help Quentin, I’ll do anything I can.”
He seems utterly shocked by the idea that Quentin’s been accused of witchcraft, even though everyone’s been talking about it for weeks. I know the dude only works nights, but seriously, how are you this out of touch? What have you and Julia been doing all this time?
Continue reading Episode 1164: Almost Helping
“I can’t bear thinking that when we’re together, we draw her from her grave!”
The table-rappers are at it again. “We must touch hands,” says Quentin Collins to his latest lover, “and we must maintain contact throughout. Understand?” She understands; I think we all do. It’s another romantic, moon-stricken night, where we touch hands by candlelight, look deeply into one another’s eyes, and beseech people.
“We beseech the spirit of Joanna Mills to appear to us,” he calls, “or to communicate through one of us, so that we may resolve all of the problems that have afflicted all of our lives!”
Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how many problems he’s expecting to resolve between now and the opening titles. This isn’t a spot-fix for a specific issue; the man wants to resolve all of the problems for all of their lives — and this is a soap opera household, with industrial-grade problems. This could take all night.
Continue reading Episode 1151: Wherever You Will Be
“Charting the future is not a whim with me.”
Gentleman vampire Barnabas Collins is terribly concerned about the future, and for good reason; he’s been there, and it sucks. He spent a couple weeks trapped in the 90s, where he found his house tore up from the floor up, and he’s desperate to counteract the oncoming calamity.
But we all know that he’s going to fail; the future for Barnabas Collins is not going to be on ABC-TV at four o’clock in the afternoon. Collinwood will fall, and the family will move to a series of temporary shelters in paperback novels and comic strips and audio plays. That future is fast approaching — not today, and not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of his life.
And he might have figured that out, if he’d bothered to learn anything about the world in 1995. He didn’t even crack a newspaper; the name “Bart Simpson” means nothing to him. He spent the entire time running around the house, looking for ghosts.
Dark Shadows has spent the last year and a half turning inward, gradually losing touch with the world outside the great estate. Even the town of Collinsport hardly matters, these days. Barnabas came back to the present with the name “Rose Cottage” on his lips; nobody’s ever heard of it, but I’d bet money it’s going to turn out to be somewhere on the Collinwood grounds. It’s the only place they care about.
But this isn’t the only example of Barnabas Collins flash-forwarding on a mission of purely parochial interest. In November 1971, he shot a whole hundred years into the future, and you’ll never guess what he was looking for. Nope, don’t even try. Whatever it is you’re thinking, it’s dumber than that.
Continue reading Episode 1074: Future So Bright
“A whole tangle and labyrinth — I’m convinced that she’s somewhere there!”
It’s the same old story. You start out with another Earth on the opposite side of the sun, where all the good people are evil, and everyone’s got a mustache except the people who are supposed to have mustaches. But you can’t leave well enough alone.
Pretty soon, you’ve got people from the other universe popping up to cause trouble. They move into your house and call themselves Cassandra, and refuse to admit that they’re the spinoff. They demand crossovers and reboots and flash-forwards, rewriting time to suit their own purposes. Before you know it, you’ve got Skaro Daleks fighting Necros Daleks, and 616-Thor taking a spare hammer from Ultimate Thor, and two completely different ways for Edith Collins to die, and anything that you do to try to fix the problem only makes everything worse.
They say that those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it, but it turns out the people who do remember the past repeat it even more. It’s gonna get repeated either way.
Continue reading Episode 1057: Infinite Jest
“I know about hypnotism. I know how to resist it!”
It was Roger!
Continue reading Episode 1053: Whodidn’tit