“Let there be light — because I am tired of eternal darkness!”
Man, Jeb is such a rebellious teen that he still feels burdened and put-upon, even though there is literally a worldwide organization devoted to worshipping him as a god, which is actively working to make him the emperor of the Earth.
Continue reading Episode 953: Walking Around and Pretending to Have a Plan
“I can’t understand why I have the feeling that something frightening is going to happen.”
It always starts with a box.
You’ve finally figured out what you’re going to do with your life. You’ve got an unstable girlfriend hidden in your house, who’s provisionally agreed not to massacre herself until you get back. You’ve arranged with a friend to destroy the coffins that he was saving up for you. And now you’re going back home, so that you and your girlfriend can use a magical oil painting to travel one hundred years into the future, turn into different people, and live happily ever after. Everything is going according to plan.
And then somebody hands you a mystery box, and the world slips sideways.
Continue reading Episode 887: Whatever Comes Next
“We just pretend things, that’s all.”
Let’s review the current state of affairs. The children have been spending time with an older relative, playing a mysterious game. The kids were excited when this began, but now they’re scared and confused. What they do with the older man is a secret, and they know that he’ll hurt them if they tell anyone about it.
So what we’ve got is a surprisingly intense storyline about fantasy-metaphor child sexual abuse. If these characters had feelings, I’d be really worried about them.
Continue reading Episode 679: The Not Happening
“Go get me the stake and the mallet. I still have blood plasma downstairs from the experiment.”
Okay, if everyone can take your seats, we’ll begin. Today’s lesson: How to kill a television character.
Continue reading Episode 621: Better Than Medicine
“She believes she fell into the hands of a witch hunter, a fellow who roamed the countryside exorcising witches and hobgoblins.”
His name is Blair — Nicholas Blair — and he’s in Collinsport on His Dark Majesty’s Secret Service, to rescue a comrade who’s fallen into the hands of an enemy combatant.
The fallen agent — code name, Cassandra Collins — has been working undercover at Collinwood, as Roger’s innocent new bride. Her mission was compromised a week ago, when she was tied to a tree and exorcised by the spirit of Reverend Trask, an 18th-century witch hunter.
Nicholas is now staying at Collinwood, posing as Cassandra’s brother, and his mission — if he chooses to accept it — is to locate the tree where the witch was burned, and bring her back.
Continue reading Episode 525: The Blair Witch Project
“Julia! Why am I leaving the room, Julia?”
So it’s been a rough ride, this returning to the present day. Deciding to do a lengthy 18th-century time travel story was a leap into the unknown, but once they’d started, they had a general outline to work from. They needed to turn Barnabas into a vampire, get Josette to jump off a cliff, kill pretty much everybody else in the cast, and hang Vicki as a witch. That was a plan that they could execute, if you’ll pardon the expression.
But returning to 1968, the writers face another weird challenge. They’ve decided to pretty much reboot every ongoing storyline that they had — hastily wrapping up, reversing or straight-up ignoring all of the old story threads.
This is a very unusual move for a soap opera. These last five weeks have basically been the equivalent of a season premiere, a narrative structure that even night-time shows weren’t doing in the late 60s. Dark Shadows has changed some core relationships, introduced new characters, and brought back Angelique as this season’s Big Bad. Structurally, this is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but thirty years early and from the monsters’ point of view.
Continue reading Episode 484: Chekhov’s Gun
“You bungling fool!”
Yup. Still doing this.
We’re now at day four of this “Vicki on the lam” sequence, with no end in sight. Vicki is still hiding in the secret room in the Collins family mausoleum, with a bullet hole in her shoulder and a price on her head. She’s acquired a ten-year-old, Daniel, who’s also on the run, because Nathan is paying Noah to kill Daniel so that Nathan can get his hands on Millicent’s money, and so on. It’s all fairly dreary, and there isn’t a vampire in sight.
The good news is that Noah, the speed bump who walks like a man, is going to be shot and killed today. The bad news is it takes about twenty minutes to get there, and there’s nothing we can do but wait.
Continue reading Episode 455: Food and Medicine and a Plan
“I ask you to believe one thing, because it’s as true and as real as anything you’ll ever hear.”
Well, that scoundrel Nathan Forbes is at it again, manipulating the wealthy and naive Millicent Collins into marrying him, and giving him access to the Collins fortune. Exposed as a liar and an aspiring bigamist, Nathan is banned from Collinwood, plus Millicent tried to stab him with a letter opener, so figuring out the seating chart for the reception has been pretty decisively moved to the back burner.
Right now, the emotionally fragile Millicent is walking around with a box full of duelling pistols, looking for someone who’s willing to shoot Nathan in the face. It was that kind of breakup.
But Nathan, ever resourceful, has come up with a completely bonkers drawing-room-comedy-style plan, where his associate Noah attacks Millicent, wielding her cousin Barnabas’ cane. It’s all very fraught and complex.
Then Nathan jumps in and delivers some Batman ’66 style punches, and with a WHAM!, a POW! and a ZOK!, he chases the nasty bad man away. Millicent is overcome with emotion, and the whole production is a runaway success.
Continue reading Episode 444: Anatomy of a Speed Bump
“I suppose I’m exaggerating. But then again… maybe I’m not.”
At the top of today’s episode, we’ve got Barnabas sneaking up on a sleeping Vicki as she spends a not particularly peaceful night in Josette’s room. He’s got his fangs in this time, so he’s ready for action.
But then, from the corner of his eye, he notices Josette’s portrait, staring at him. He’s basically making a move on his new girlfriend while his ex is calmly sitting there and watching. It’s an awkward moment for everyone — even for Vicki, and she’s sound asleep.
Embarrassed and sheepish, Barnabas backs away from Vicki and exits the room. It’s a nice character-building moment for Barnabas, but unfortunately it makes the story less interesting. If he’s not going to bite her, then we don’t have a plot anymore. So now what?
Continue reading Episode 287: Notes on Camp