I’d like to start this continuation of the Dark Shadows discussion from the old board with a look at some of the new and upcoming Dark Shadows audio stories from Big Finish Productions. There aren’t nearly as many Dark Shadows audio adventures as there are Doctor Who ones, but the Doctor Who series has been around longer. The Dark Shadows audios are a mixed bag. The first release was a full-cast sequel titled “Return to Collinwood”. Later they began to release a series of interconnected sequential stories grouped in short “seasons”. More recently they’ve been going back to the timeline of the original television show and telling interstitial one-shots. As the Dark Shadows series seems to be catching on, Big Finish seems to be ramping up their production schedule. “Curse of the Pharaoh” was released in September, and the next four are set for monthly release beginning in January at a special subscription rate.

CURSE OF THE PHARAOH:

“Curse of the Pharaoh” stars Nancy Barrett (reprising her role as Carolyn Stoddard) and Marie Wallace (perhaps best known as “Eve” on the TV show) in a new role, famed Egyptologist Dr. Gretchen Warwick. The story doesn’t specify, but I assume it takes place shortly after the end of the series original TV series, circa 1970 or so. Both actresses are kind of rusty and sound as old as they are, not as young as they (Caroline, anyway) are supposed to be. Barrett was always a better actress than Wallace, and that remains true. Wallace’s shortcomings are spotlighted in this “dramatic reading” in which she plays other bit parts, most of the male (Bob the bartender at The Blue Whale, Eliot Stokes on the telephone, Carolyn’s father in flashback), which she performs in a gruff kind of storybook voice as if reading aloud to a child. The story itself is a sequel to the unpopular “Leviathan” television storyline. If you’ve never heard a Dark Shadows audio and thinking of trying one out, there are better ones to start with than this.

KEY: OB = Old Board; UR = Un-Reviewed

Return to Collinwood - 169

SEASON ONE:
S1.1 The House of Despair - 1
S1.2 The Book of Temptation - OB
S1.3 The Christmas Presence - OB
S1.4 The Rage Beneath - 7

SEASON TWO: Kingdom of the Dead - 7

DRAMATIC READINGS:

1. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 1 - OB
2. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 2 - OB
3. Clothes of Sand - OB
4. The Ghost Walker - OB
5. The Skin Walkers - OB
6. The Path of Fate - OB
7. The Wicked & the Dead - OB
8. Echoes of Insanity - OB
9. Curse of the Pharaoh - 1
10. Final Judgment - 1
11. Blood Dance - 1
12. The Night Whispers - 1
13. London’s Burning - 2
14. The Doll House - 30
15. The Blind Painter - 87
16. The Death Mask - 88
17. The Creeping Fog - 89
18. The Carrion Queen - 89
19. The Poisoned Soul - 96
20. The Lost Girl - 96
21. The Crimson Pearl - 114
22. The Voodoo Amulet - 129
23. The House by the Sea - 170
24. Dress Me in Dark Dreams - 154
25. The Eternal Actress - 162
26. The Fall of House Trask - 163
27. Operation: Victor - 166
28. Speak No Evil - 166
29. The Last Stop - 166
30. Dreaming of the Water - 167
31. The Haunted Refrain - 167
32. A Collinwood Christmas - 167
33. The Phantom Bride - 167
34. Beneath the Veil - 167
35. The Enemy Within - 167
36. The Lucifer Gambit - 167
37. The Flip Side - 167
38. Beyond the Grave - 168
39. Curtain Call - 168
40. The Harvest of Souls - 170
41. The Happier Dead - 168
42. The Carriage Damned - 168
43. The Devil Cat - 168
44. The Darkest Shadow - 173

SEASON THREE: Bloodlust - 170-172, 181

45. Panic - 173
46. The Curse of Shurafa - 173
47. In the Twinkling of an Eye - 173
48. Deliver Us from Evil - 173
49. Tainted Love - 173
50. ...And Red All Over - 175

Echoes of the Past - 176

Blood & Fire - 176

Haunting Memories - 177

Phantom Melodies - 178

Dreams of Long Ago - 178

THE TONY & CASSANDRA MYSTERIES:
The Mystery at Crucifix Heights - 179
The Mystery of La Danse Macabre - 179
The Mystery of Flight 493 - 180
The Mystery of Karmina Sonata - 180

SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT:
Trio - 180
Honeymoon from Hell - 180
Retreat -180
1:53 AM - 180

MAGGIE & QUENTIN - THE LOVERS' REFRAIN:
The Girl Beneath the Water - 180
The Sand That Speaks HIs Name - 180
The Hollow Winds That Beckon
The Paper to the Flame
  

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So.... I just started watching Dark Shadows on Amazon Prime. As far as I can tell, the whole series is available there, so that's where I'm starting. I'm only up to episode 9, so there's a LOT I don't know about what's coming up and who's who. But I'm enjoying the ride! (I'm going to bold my most recent episode in every post, so it's easy to know where I'm at.)

I'm also not looking through this 188-page thread for a while, since I don't want to spoil myself. So forgive me if I cover well-trod ground. 

So far...I know he's being set up as an antagonist, but I really like Burke Devlin. Handsome, charming, mysterious, with a stretch in prison behind him. I want to know more. When I last hit pause, Carolyn was about to go up to his hotel room.

I love that Conrad Bain (Mr. Drummond) was the bellhop in the first episode. He hasn't been seen since, but I keep looking for him. 

I'm very interested in the bad blood between Roger and Burke, and I'm wondering what the hell is up with wild child David. And I'm also interested in Sam, the alcoholic artist, and his daughter, the waitress. So much to look forward to!

Cool. You should definitely read the whole thread sometime, though.

"So.... I just started watching Dark Shadows on Amazon Prime."

I was so excited when Tracy told me the news last night!

"I'm also not looking through this 188-page thread for a while."

Understandable. But I do recommend to you to read the whole thing at some point. I have re-read the whole think start-to-finish at least once. There's a lot on here. If this were a Dark Shadows message board, it would represent dozens of discussions. We not only have multiple people discussing the show (sometimes the same episodes but at different times, as you are doing now), but there are discussions of Dark Shadows comic books, comic strips, audio dramas, the 1990-91 revival series, movies, and more. At one point, I was even posting a Dark Shadows "Joke of the Day" from the book Barnabas Collins in a Funny Vein. Most recently, I was posting reactions to the series of Dark Shadows paperbacks, but I got only halfway through the series before I petered out. (I'll return to it someday.) I maintained an index of Big Finish audios on the initial post, but I've long been considering indexing the entire discussion. Maybe I'll take this opportunity to do that.

"So much to look forward to!"

And I'm looking forward to reading about it here! 

I'm watching episode 210 right now on Tubi. It's listed there as "Season 1, Episode 1," but it's not, of course. I'll look for "The Beginning" next.

Yeah, episode 210 is when Banabas is released from his coffin. (I hope that's not a spoiler, Rob!) There are many (myself included) who feel the early, pre-Barnabas episodes represent Dark Shadows at its best. 

No worries -- that's not a spoiler! I know a little bit about the broad strokes and trajectory of the show, but not about specific plotlines. It's a show I'd watch in reruns for a couple weeks a year as a kid -- no local station carried it, to my knowledge, but our beach rental did! And I found a Dark Shadows comic at the newsstand there. So Collinwood has always been associated with the beach to me.   (Of course,this place helped cement that association, even though I could never convince my parents to bring us there.)

I'm up to Episode 12, by the way. Carolyn's brought Burke up to Collinwood; he's already spoken with Elizabeth, but Roger's just about to see him! Meanwhile, Mr. Drummond tries to get Sam to sober up, but he riles him up about Roger and Burke that he gets drunk all over again. Later, Maggie tries to stop him from leaving town for good.  

Hopefully, we'll get some more details about whatever happened in the past between the Collinses and Burke soon. 

OK, and now I'm through Episode 14. From all the foreshadowing (and an upcoming episode synopsis) Roger's pretty obviously about to have car trouble in his trip to town... but who's the culprit? I love how the show sets up two plausible suspects: first, Victoria sees Burke Devlin hanging around Roger's car... and, of course, he invited him to the Blue Whale in the first place. And then, in the next episode, we see Young Pyschopath David reading a mechanic magazine and holding a -- sparkplug? I don't read those magazines, so I don't know. But it seemed like he was trying to plant it in Victoria's room and hope she gets blamed for the upcoming accident. (David gets caught doing this, and pretends he was going to give Vic a gift -- a shell he found along the beach.)

Meanwhile, more details of the past! There was a killing 10 years ago, and Burke went to jail for it -- because of Roger's testimony. Immediately after the verdict, Roger married his wife moved to Augusta with his wife -- did we get a name? If so, I missed it -- but until the trial, she and Burke had also been friendly. So it could be that Roger set Burke up to steal his girlfriend? 

Oh, and a mysterious door opened! Then it closed. David claims he doesn't know what's in there, and doesn't have a key.

This is a blast.

(Also, Carolyn really has the hots for Burke, and she doesn't care if Joe knows it. In fact, that might be a plus.)

Oh, I wasn't really serious about that "spoiler." I figure if anyone knows anything at all about Dark Shadows it's that the vampire Barnabas Collins is far and away the series most popular character, and the one who saved the show. Your observations are interesting, but I'm going to refrain from commenting on them. (I will point out that Roger's wife's name is Laura, and... No, no... her name is Laura. that's it.) Also keep looking for the clues as to who Victoria's parents are. You've got an eye for detail (and red herrings) as demonstrated by your attention to Roger's car trouble), and I think there are enough clues to figure out the secret of Victoria's parents. (Alexandra Moltke once complained about how stupid her character Victoria was.) 

As already mentioned, Barnabas will be released from his coffin in episode 210, about one year into the show. But a close examination of the episode-to-episode transitions reveals that that happened on Victoria's 52nd day at Collinwood. If you are on episode 14, for example, you are in the middle of Victoria's second day (her first full day), in Collinsport. Here's how it breaks down:

Day 1: Episodes 1-4

Day 2: Episodes 5-20

Day 3: Episodes 21-37

Day 4: Episodes 38-47

Day 5: Episodes 48-52

Day 6: Episodes 53-66

Day 7: Episodes 67-70

Day 8: Episodes 71-78

Day 9: Episodes 79-87

Day 10: Episodes 88-91

Day 11:Episodes 92-96

Day 12: Episodes 97-98

Day 13: Episodes 99-103

Day 14: Episodes 104-105

Day 15: Episodes 106-113

Day 16: Episodes 113

Day 17: Episodes 114

Day 18: Episodes 115-119

Day 19: Episodes 120-127

Day 20: Episodes 128-129

Day 21: Episodes 129-132

Day 22: Episodes 132-139

Day 23: Episodes 139-140

Day 24: Episodes 141-143

Day 25: Episodes 143-144

Day 26: Episodes 145-146

Day 27: Episodes 147

Day 28: Episodes 148-150

Day 29: Episodes 151-154

Day 30: Episodes 155-156

Day 31: Episodes 157-159

Day 32: Episodes 160

Day 33: Episodes 161

Day 34: Episodes 162-163

Day 35: Episodes 164-165

Day 36: Episodes 166

Day 37: Episodes 167-171

Day 38: Episodes 172-173

Day 39: Episodes 174-176

Day 40: Episodes 177-181

Day 41: Episodes 181

Day 42: Episodes 182

Day 43: Episodes 183*188

Day 44: Episodes 189-193

Day 45: Episodes 193

Day 46: Episodes 194

Day 47: Episodes 195-196

Day 48: Episodes 197-203

Day 49: Episodes 204

Day 50: Episodes 205

Day 51: Episodes 206-207

Day 52: Episodes 208-210

I was thinking it was still the second day of the show! At one point she just said to David (I'm on episode 15 now, but that's it for a while, I swear!) that David used to think she didn't like him, but now he trusts her. And I thought, Lady, he's known you for an afternoon!

Anyway, Roger's car has spun out of control, and Elizabeth has just gotten the call at Collinwood, with David and Victoria watching. Now the fun and finger-pointing begins! Two real suspects -- Burke and David -- and one fake (Victoria, framed).

I love how much fan scholarship there is about this show. 

Another thing I like -- unlike modern weekly shows, where pretty uch every character has to get serviced every episode, this one just focuses on two or three plotlines each episode, letting the rest simmer in the background -- giving actors certain on days, and off days. Even with Vicki being the central character so far in the run (and the one whose VO introduces every episode), sometimes she doesn't appear at all!

I'll keep an ear out for clues about her parentage. I'm not sure what age she's supposed to be -- I'm guessing early 20s, but she could be late teens, I suppose -- but whenever she was born was approx 10 years before the trial of Burke Devlin. AT that point, she'd be around 10, in the foundling's home. The money she was sent was postmarked Bangor, but apparently the Collinses' only contact with Bangor was during the trial -- Roger and Laura went to Augusta right after that. But Bangor's not *that* hard to get to, and it's easy enough for someone to drop an envelope in the mail once a month -- even as a favor for another person, who, say, hasn't left the house for 18 years. There wasn't a freak, Manhunter-created pregnancy-hiding blizzard up in Collinsport 18 years ago, was there? ;) 

"And I thought, Lady, he's known you for an afternoon!"

Yeah, you'll notice more examples in which the dialogue more closely resembles "real time" than "show time."

"I love how much fan scholarship there is about this show."

I'll try to throw out little non-spoilery "scholarly" tid-bits as they become relevant. [For example, the there are 1225 episodes (although due to quirky numbering we need not go into here, the last episode is numbered #1245).] To that end, I've just reviewed the first 80 pages of this discussion. I may repeat some scholarly tid-bits, but I have discerned what's safe for you to read if you'd care to "time travel" on an episode-by-episode basis.

Yesterday I said something about indexing this discussion and adding it to the initial post. That would be really difficult to do! For one thing, throughout much of what I have read today, three of us (Bob, doc photo and myself) are simultaneously reviewing episodes from three different periods of the show's timeline. I can tell you this: the "Barnabas Joke of the Day" starts on page 28 and shows no signs of stopping by page 80. 

I myself summarized episodes #1-93 on pages 26-30, but you may want to wait until after you have watched all those before reading that section. But I do recommend Bob's summaries. He posted reactions to episodes 1-7 on pages 3-5 (those should be safe enough for you to read, but skip my post "Early Shadows Pacing" because it will give things away), and episodes #8-193 on pages 39-79. (Beware the discussion of Vicki's folks on p.44 and the very top of p.45!) that should keep you occupied for a while.

"Another thing I like... this one just focuses on two or three plotlines each episode,"

You will find that almost every episode features three sets and five actors. (Dark Shadows had more "permanent" sets than any other soap at the time, but the studio could accommodate only three at a time.) This method allowed for adequate and natural recap (for housewives who missed an episode or schoolkids who didn't make it home on time) as a character in one episode related events to a character in another. For the most part, this exposition was smooth... good storytelling!

"Even with Vicki being the central character so far in the run... sometimes she doesn't appear at all!"

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas had to really carry the lion's share as he was featured in virtually every episode. All of the other actors were paid scale; Frid was the only one who was paid more. At one point (which you won't get to for a long time), Frid wanted a vacation and the writer's [mild spoiler] had him staked in his coffin and presumed dead (i.e., "laid to his final rest").[end spoiler]

"I'm not sure what age she's supposed to be -- I'm guessing early 20s."

As the show begins, Victoria is 20 and Carolyn is 18. [Two other significant events happened 18 years ago.]

"There wasn't a freak, Manhunter-created pregnancy-hiding blizzard up in Collinsport 18 years ago, was there?"

No, that was confined mainly to the Midwest. ;)

"...but that's it for a while, I swear!"

Whadda ya mean? I'm just getting into this!

This is going to keep me occupied for a while... thanks for the careful detail!  (And don't worry, I'll be watching more soon! But three in an afternoon while I had some breakfast and prepped a chicken for smoking was enough for a while...)

I myself summarized episodes #1-93 on pages 26-30, but you may want to wait until after you have watched all those before reading that section. But I do recommend Bob's summaries. He posted reactions to episodes 1-7 on pages 3-5 (those should be safe enough for you to read, but skip my post "Early Shadows Pacing" because it will give things away), and episodes #8-193 on pages 39-79. (Beware the discussion of Vicki's folks on p.44 and the very top of p.45!) that should keep you occupied for a while.

"And don't worry, I'll be watching more soon! But three in an afternoon while I had some breakfast and prepped a chicken for smoking was enough for a while..."

I misinterpreted what you meant by "that's it for a while."

Tracy explained it to me last night. 

Excelsior!

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