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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Famously, of course, they made the uneven House of Dark Shadows film which depicts the Barnabas Collins plot in a manner closer to what was originally intended, before Barnabas-mania kicked in.

By the time we get to the Gold Key comics, which outlived the show by some years, Barnabas is entirely heroic:

I just finished episode 239. Vickie and Carolyn walked into the Old House unannounced -- but not uninvited, by Vicki's estimation -- and saw Josette's refurbished room. And then Sam and Joe drop by to tell Barnabas Sam can't continue the portrait while Maggie is missing, while Maggie, thinking she's Josette, is hidden away upstairs. But upon hearing Joe's voice, her trance breaks, and she nearly alerts them to her presence. It ends with Barnabas threatening her that she'll never get away. Never! Never!

Although the show would later contradict itself on certain matters, I consider virtually everything from the black & white episodes to be pretty much canonical. Allow me to remind you of some things you already know, and point out some things from this and other recent episodes. First, Josette was the bride of Jeremiah Collins, the man who built Collinwood. Second, Josette leapt to her death from Widow's Hill, ostensibly because she was an outside and the townsfolk didn't like her, but that's local legend. (Aside: at one point, the writers considered making Jeremiah the vampire.) 

In a previous episode, Barnabas spoke of himself as Josette's "lover," yet in this episode, he says that the music box is the only gift she would accept [from him]. Why would that be? Also, he reveals that Josette was 18 years old, and that he was tasked with teaching her to speak English. It's likely that Jeremiah was somewhat older than his bride, but Barnabas was probably closer to the same age, perhaps even younger. Everything we have learned lately is very much from Barnabas' point of view. Could it be that his attentions were, in fact, unwanted? 

Thanks for remining me of Jerimiah! I'd forgotten that Josette's husband had already been named, and I was assuming it was Barnabas. So they either had a forbidden love, or he had a one-way obsession with her. My assumption after hearing the story of her death was that they were lovers, but when she found out he'd been turned into a vampire, she ran from him and killed herself rather than be turned into a vampire too. But the idea that she didn't love him back -- and was married to another man -- is one I didn't even consider. And... is Barnabas Collins even a Collins? Or was he just a jumped-up English tutor who took on the family name as part of his obsession? That part of the line ended with him... but can he trace his ancestors back before him? (That said, he probably IS a genuine Collins -- the portrait lends him a lot of cred in that direction. But what a twist it would be if he'd just glued himself to the family like a remora, but the centuries had obfuscated his deception!)

"Although the show would later contradict itself on certain matters, I consider virtually everything from the black & white episodes to be pretty much canonical."

To be clear, my post above reflects my personal interpretation of the backstory, even in light of certain future contradictions. Right now, your interpretation is just as valid as mine. 

I will confirm that Barnabas is a true Collins; it will soon be established that Jeremiah is his uncle.

I've seen through episode 241 now -- David's been into the Old House a couple of times, and saw Maggie the first time, and then had a conversation with Maggie (as Josette) the second. (Vicki knows about this.) The sheriff seems to have eliminated Willie from suspicion in Maggie's disappearance, but he did hear the music box as he visited Barnabas's house. Maggie is trying to remember her old life at the end, searching high and low for David.

Also, in 140, Roger admonishes Vicki for being to lenient on David, as if it should be her job to discipline him, not his. Give here a break, Roger -- she whines at David about homework as hard as she can!
The above link is to a recreation painting of Laura and David from the Phoenix story.

We've bought from this store before and have always been pleased.

While Barnabas is renovating the Old House he ought to invest in a lock for the from door and some nice thick drapes. It's almost as if he wants to get caught. 

Holy crap. just saw Grayson Hall in a Night Gallery!

Oh, wow -- I never noticed the wings in the painting before!

242 (no spoilers): Just as the "Phoenix" story postponed the "blackmail" plot, so too did the "vampire" story relegate it to back-burner status. My theory that each of the two main writers handled a specific aspect of the overall plot must go unproved because every episode deals with the vampire now (although the blackmail plot resurfaces in 242 and it is written by Ron Sproat). 

NOTE: Dr. Woodard describes Hoffman as one of the "best men in the field." The character's first actual appearance will not come until 265, but by then "he" will become a woman. "Legend" has it that writer Sam Hall misread someone's hand-written notes about Julius Hoffman as Julia Hoffman and wrote the part for a woman. I have always found that story somewhat suspicious as the part went to Grayson Hall, the writer's wife. Supposedly, Hall asked Curtis, "Is there any reason this character cannot be a woman?" That story apparently inspired Chris Claremont (who we know watched the show: Phoenix, Sebastian Shaw, the N'Gari, etc.) because he based a large part of his career on it. 

Note, too, Mitch Ryan substitute the word "microphone" when he meant to say "microscope." 

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