“We cannot love at will, any more than we could prevent our love.”
Oh, it was such a good idea at the time.
When Dark Shadows went to 1795, the show discovered that they could shake up the soap by traveling back into the past, using the existing cast but dressing them up in old-time costumes, and giving them new names and storylines. It was a spectacular way to move forward, interrupting a story that didn’t have anywhere to go, and breathing new life into the premise. While they were in the past, they figured out that you could have more than one monster on the show at the same time, and once they came back to the present, they started piling them up in heaps.
Problem is, they’re now doing time travel for the fourth time, and it turns out giving everybody a new character name every six months doesn’t automatically refresh the show; you also need to think up some new storylines. In fact, traveling to another time means that it’s possible to rehash the same plot points with a freshly neuralyzed set of family members, and there’s nobody around to say, wait a minute, this already happened, fifty-seven years from now.
Well, live and learn, I suppose, although on this show, it’s more like live and die and come back to life and then learn the same stuff over again.
Continue reading Episode 1169: This Wonderful Little Gathering
“Human, yes… except for his hatred! That’s what makes him so dangerous!”
Yesterday, sporadic vampire Barnabas Collins burned down the local antiques store, because his enemies turned him into one of the living dead, and then they didn’t know where the off switch was. This should be a lesson for us all.
But this isn’t the first time that Barnabas has been revamped, and it won’t be the last, not by a long shot. He’s been bouncing back and forth between the living and the dead for a couple of years now, and every treatment is only a reprieve, not a cure. Barnabas may long to be human again, but the audience wants fangs, and we cannot be denied our simple pleasures.
So it’s no surprise that the Gold Key Dark Shadows comic books have gone through the same cycle this year. In February 1970, the same month that flappy bat reclaimed TV Barnabas, comic book Barnabas was suddenly freed from his curse with no explanation, apparently sprung on a technicality. He mentions “the day Angelique’s curse dissolved,” and then he’s human for four issues, or as close to human as Barnabas ever gets.
But a year later — issue #8, February 1971 — the bat came back. “Barnabas Collins… the VAMPIRE!” says the caption. “Caught in a web between the lust for blood and the peace of normal life, Barnabas Collins laments his fate… even as he PREPARES TO STRIKE!”
So this is an opportunity for us to look at Barnabas’ current difficulties from another angle, and since the antiques shop is still smoldering, we might as well see what’s cooking at Gold Key Collinwood.
Continue reading Episode 952: Something Evil People Are Afraid Of
“Again, fate took a hand in the form of a woman.”
Have you ever tried to describe a childhood toy to someone, and realized halfway through that time is real, and mortality is real, and you have become super mega tragically old?
Well, if you haven’t, then listen up. This is what it sounds like.
Continue reading Episode 629: In Many Somber Colors
“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
“I don’t know what you’re thinking about, but whatever it is, I’m sure you’re quite wrong.”
So here’s something you don’t want to see on your doorstep first thing in the morning — Burke Devlin, all self-righteous and shouty. He gets right up in Willie’s face and says, “I have to see Mr. Collins.”
Willie says that Barnabas isn’t home; he left early this morning and didn’t say where he was going.
Burke shouts, “You’re lying! I saw him come into this house before sunrise this morning, and he never came out.”
Stunned, Willie says, “You’ve been spying on him?”
“Well, I’ve been watching him,” Burke says, splitting hairs.
Willie asks the obvious question. “Why?”
“Because I find Mr. Collins a very odd person,” Burke says, “and the same goes for you.”
So there you go — any last shred of sympathy that we might have had for Burke, tossed away in a weird moment of spiteful bitchery. As a general rule, if you’ve been standing outside behind a tree all night, waiting for a guy to come home, then you lose any right to call other people odd. It doesn’t matter if the guy you’re spying on turns out to be a vampire. You are part of the problem.
Continue reading Episode 304: Scooby-Doo Must Die