Tag Archives: sherry

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Episode 979: Jeb Hawkes Must Die

“I’m leaving! I’m going where the action is!”

Hey, guess what, we’re still killing Jeb Hawkes. It’s been three weeks since the royal teen rebel smashed his box and exploded the Leviathan altar, and two weeks since Angelique tagged him with a wiggling shadow of imminent demise, and one week since I really seriously stopped caring about what happens to Jeb Hawkes.

Continue reading Episode 979: Jeb Hawkes Must Die

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Episode 978: What’s Cooking

“Aren’t you about to be recommitted to the underworld?”

So it turns out Julia can’t cure vampirism after all, just like she can’t cure lycanthropy or Frankenstein Syndrome or acute-onset Creature of the Black Lagoonism. I’m afraid that universal health care for Universal Monsters is still just a dream.

Now Barnabas is reacting to her anti-vamp treatments by becoming even more of a vampire than he was in the first place, which puts the kibosh on the Nobel Prize for sure. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences does not want to hear your excuses. They want results.

And sadly, the result here is that we had Megan as the sleepy co-dependent vampire blood slave a couple weeks ago, and now we’ve got Sabrina in the same role, which means I’m supposed to watch Sabrina urging Barnabas to drink her blood, and consider that entertainment. Well, I’m not having it. The show has refused to provide me with a single reason to like Sabrina, and if she wants to die from blood loss and neck trauma, then she should go and do it on her own time. This window is closed.

So instead of watching that, let’s go — for the very last time, I’m afraid — and look at a new form of Dark Shadows merchandise.

Continue reading Episode 978: What’s Cooking

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Episode 834: The What’s-Thatters

“Death runs faster than any man.”

A memo from young Icarus to his father, re: altitude. What are you talking about, Dad? These wings that you made from feathers and wax are working great. Why do you say that I’m flying too high? You’re supposed to fly as high as you can, that’s the whole point of flying!

And so, as Icarus sinks slowly in the west and learns some valuable lessons about swimming, let’s turn to Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis. In defiance of good taste and common sense, Dan has turned his poky little soap opera into a five-alarm spookshow spectacular, delighting the teenagers and housewives of America with larger-than-life characters, hair-raising plot twists and inventive special effects. The ratings are still climbing, which makes Dan wonder: What can I do for an encore?

Today, we see Dan’s first answer to that question — Dead of Night, a primetime pilot for ABC that tried to adapt the Dark Shadows formula to an hour-long nighttime drama. Dan produced this pilot in late 1968, with several members of his Dark Shadows family — director Lela Swift, writer Sam Hall, composer Bob Cobert, and actors Thayer David and Louis Edmonds.

ABC finally broadcast the hour-long pilot in late August 1969, because they’d already paid for it and you might as well. While he’s been waiting for it to air, Dan’s scaled his ambitions up even further — he’s currently pursuing a deal with MGM, to make a Dark Shadows film. So before that kicks off, it’s useful for us to take a look at this pilot episode, “A Darkness at Blaisedon”, and see Dan’s first attempt to bring Dark Shadows to a wider audience.

Constructed haphazardly out of feathers and wax, Dead of Night introduces a trio of new characters — psychic investigator Jonathan Fletcher, his live-in chum Sajeed Rau, and the beautiful young heiress Angela Martin — and throws them onto a haunted house set, to see how far they can fly. Icarus, you are cleared for takeoff.

Continue reading Episode 834: The What’s-Thatters

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Episode 776: Blood Sports

“If we only knew what these three bullets meant.”

“Miss Collins,” Rachel says, eyeing the loaded heater in her former employer’s hand, “you must put the gun down. You’ve got to realize!” And then: Ka-POW! It turns out she doesn’t got to, after all.

So we start the week off with a bang, and it’s going to get messier from here. This is a particularly dangerous time to be a Dark Shadows character; we had two murders last week, and there’s going to be three this week, including the governess who just got fired ten seconds ago. Soap operas don’t usually have a weekly body count like this, except for General Hospital, obviously, where they have a dedicated budget for ammunitions.

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Episode 747: Die Laughing

“And Barnabas will grab her, and carry her off to a triumphant life behind a locked door!”

Rascal-in-chief Quentin Collins has spent the better part of a week hunting for his lunatic soon-to-be ex-wife Jenny, vowing to kill her before she kills him. But it hasn’t happened yet, and he’s starting to get bored, so he settles in for a quiet evening of drinking sherry, propositioning the domestics, and not giving a shit.

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Episode 615: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

“What difference does it make who catches the vampire?”

Hey, look who’s come over for a social call — it’s Sheriff George Patterson, the three-time winner for Least Effective Police Officer in the Dramatic Arts. In the two years that he’s been on Dark Shadows, Collinsport has grown from a gloomy little seaside town into a nightmarish hellscape ruled by demonic mob bosses, who never get prosecuted or even questioned very hard. We’re not going to see another law enforcement losing streak like this until the Pink Panther movies in the mid-70s, and even Inspector Clouseau managed to catch the bad guy once in a while.

As we’ve seen this week, there’s been a massive conspiracy to kill that nice young Joe Haskell, with four characters directly involved in a plot to poison his medicine. Furious, he decided to take the law into his own hands, and there’s an eyewitness alleging that she watched Joe strangle Barnabas Collins while he was innocently napping in an armchair.

Joe is not technically in custody at the moment, because he’s in the hospital, recuperating. But he never gets booked, and nobody else in the crime syndicate does either. Sheriff George Patterson lives in the law-breakiest town in the world, and he never even makes a goddamn arrest.

Continue reading Episode 615: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

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Episode 559: Everything You Deserve

“I specialize in human relations.”

Also, Nicholas is in love with Maggie.

Sorry to spring it on you like that, but it’s that kind of storyline. Nicholas Blair is some kind of evil wizard man, and so far we haven’t had any indication that he’s looking for a girlfriend. In fact, he’s been mocking Angelique relentlessly for having human emotions. And yet, here we are.

It’s not at all clear why Nicholas has chosen Maggie, either. He seems to have fallen in love at first sight, during a chance encounter at Collinwood. Maggie’s very pretty and very nice, but they don’t have anything in common. I’m not even sure that he’s human. He might as well fall in love with a puppy.

But there are four pretty girls on the show, and three of them already have a storyline, which leaves Maggie at a loose end. She’s got a dull job, she’s happily engaged to Joe, her alcoholic father has died, and it’s been a year since she was kidnapped by anybody. If Nicholas needs a human weakness, then it might as well be Maggie, I suppose.

Continue reading Episode 559: Everything You Deserve

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Episode 521: Look Who’s Talking

“If Cassandra is still alive, why is Trask’s skeleton hanging in the basement of the Old House?”

Barnabas and Julia spent most of yesterday’s episode speculating like mad about whether the spirit of Reverend Trask actually succeeded in banishing Cassandra.

Today — as Elizabeth is quietly packed off to Windcliff, following a sorcery-assisted suicide attempt — the Junior Detective squad still continues to treat this question as an emergency stop-press concern.

“If Cassandra is still alive,” Julia says, “why is Trask’s skeleton hanging in the basement of the Old House?” The great thing about a question like this is that you can keep on asking it for days and days, and never get any closer to an answer. This is a good way to kill time on your television show, if you have one.

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Episode 416: Stone Cold

“Why wouldn’t you let me bury them in the earth?”

As we open a new week on Dark Shadows, Joshua comes home from a business trip and finds Naomi in the drawing room, hip-deep in sherry.

He responds as he always does, with bitter sarcasm. “Well, I’m happy to see you up and busy at such an early hour,” he growls. “This was well worth the whole night’s journey, to be welcomed by this charming bit of domesticity.”

Naomi looks off into the distance.

“A little bird flew to the window,” she says, so apparently it’s going to be one of those conversations. “It hovered there for a moment, and then flew away. The first bird of the morning.”

This newsflash from the aviary is Naomi’s way of leading up to the breaking news story — on Friday, their little daughter Sarah died of pneumonia.

Wait, Sarah’s dead? God damn it, did somebody let her get outside again? We have got to start locking the front door, and this time I mean it.

Continue reading Episode 416: Stone Cold