Tag Archives: smart people

Strange Paradise, Episode 5: When Raxl Attacks

“Killed? Revenge? We?”

Okay, one more lap around the track, and then we’re done with this forever, I promise. This week, we’ve been taking a break from Dark Shadows to watch the first week of the failed 1969 Canadian knockoff, Strange Paradise, and it’s even stranger than I expected it would be. This is the fifth episode — here’s the other Strange Paradise posts if you want them, and if you’d like to watch along, there’s a YouTube channel that can scratch that itch. But I have to warn you that there’s a strong possibility that the show does not actually exist. We may be experiencing a shared dream, and this is all an illusion.

Because when you think about it, the whole concept seems unlikely. Dark Shadows is on television every single afternoon, fifty-two weeks a year, minus a few days off for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Apollo splashdowns. And the people who like Dark Shadows really like it a lot; when Strange Paradise debuts in September 1969, it’s the high point of Dark Shadows’ popularity.

So if you’re launching a second half-hour daily supernatural soap opera at that time, then there are only four possible theories that might justify such a thing.

#1. The people who are currently enjoying Dark Shadows for 30 minutes every day would like it even better if there were 60 minutes of supernatural drama in the afternoon.

#2. There’s an untapped audience of people who don’t currently watch a daily spookshow soap opera, who might turn on your show by accident and get hooked on it.

#3. You think that you would be better at making Dark Shadows than the people who are already making Dark Shadows, very successfully.

#4. You have a television production company, and you know that Dark Shadows is popular, and you honestly can’t think of a single other thing to do.

So what we have here is the Shadow of Shadows, a muck-encrusted mockery of a mad-science duplicate, trying to capture somebody else’s lightning in a bottle. They’re tampering in Dan Curtis’ domain, with predictable results.

Continue reading Strange Paradise, Episode 5: When Raxl Attacks

Episode 370: A Woman Scorned

“You, and one handkerchief, are all I need to make him regret what he’s done to me.”

Vicki has traveled in time — she’s trapped in 1795, and so are we, for the foreseeable future. We’re here to learn the secret history of how Barnabas became a vampire, and how he lost Josette, the woman that he loved.

In the last episode, we met Angelique, a beautiful young maid who works for Josette’s family. She had a love affair with Barnabas in Martinique, before he knew that the wealthy Josette returned his affections. Josette is traveling to Collinsport for her wedding to Barnabas… but Angelique isn’t done with him yet.

Continue reading Episode 370: A Woman Scorned

Episode 363: Anyone But You

“She’s lonely, very lonely. She’ll talk to anyone… anyone but you.”

The vampire, the doctor, the lawyer, the governess, the niece and the little boy who talks to dead people. For months, they’ve been scrambling around each other — a little chaos engine that chews its way through anybody who gets too close.

And now we’ve gotten to the point where it just can’t go on. Barnabas is the most popular character on the show, but he’s radioactive — every character that he touches ends up murdered, hypnotized, lost in the jungle, or packed off to an insane asylum.

So far, we’ve killed off Jason, Burke, Dr. Woodard and Willie. Pretty soon, we’re going to start losing members of the Collins family, and that gets expensive, story-wise. If you kill one of the kids, that’s a hard stop on any other plot development; the show just becomes one long funeral.

In fact, my estimate is that this storyline has about three more days left in it, and then they’re going to have to come up with a whole new idea.

Continue reading Episode 363: Anyone But You

Episode 284: Doctor Who

“Our mistake is thinking that there are limits as to what can take place on this planet.”

Maggie’s still locked up at the Windcliff Sanitarium, recovering from her recent vampire abduction. Dr. Julia Hoffman — the noted blood specialist, psychologist and all-around smart person — is hypnotizing Maggie with a penlight, trying to bring her repressed memories to the surface.

They took a field trip to the Eagle Hill cemetery yesterday, and they found the Collins mausoleum, which triggered some frightening memories. Julia noticed that there was a grave marker for Sarah Collins in the mausoleum, and now she’s trying to learn if there’s a connection between the 10-year-old named Sarah who died in the 18th century and the little girl named Sarah who helped Maggie during her incarceration.

That is an incredible leap in logic, and I’m using the dictionary definition of “incredible”, as in: impossible to believe. Julia is going to make a lot of these intuitive leaps over the next week, making connections that no real human would ever make given the current information. And every single one of her batty conclusions is exactly correct.

Julia is therefore a completely unbelievable Sherlock Holmes type detective, who pulls insights out of the air and is right every time. And the audience loves her and believes in her anyway.

Continue reading Episode 284: Doctor Who