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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SEXISM IN THE SHADOWS: To continue my thoughts about Dr. Hoffman being one of the "best men in the field," I gave the "real-world" explanation yesterday. The "in-show" explanation is simply that Dr. Woodard read "doctor" in front of her name and automatically assumed she was a man. That fits in with '60s norms and that makes him sexist. But I think that it was later revealed that Dave Woodard and Julia Hoffman went to medical school together, and that makes him really sexist. 

Oh, Dr. Hoffman is JULIA Hoffman! I've heard of her from a friend who's way ahead of me in watching the show. Excellent!

I've seen 242, and about half of 243 yesterday before getting sidetracked with work. It's good to see Dr. Woodard tracking down Willie to look further into the anomalies in Maggie's blood, especially now that his office has been ransacked*; I've yet to see if he's successful in getting him to comply.

*And here's a place Barnabas went to that he definitely was *not* invited into.

243: I don't know if you've gotten to this part yet, but Jason takes the "blackmail" plot up another notch (courtesy of Ron Sproat, BTW). 


Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:


*And here's a place Barnabas went to that he definitely was *not* invited into.

Perhaps the office has a welcome mat?

244: All blackmail, no vampire. 

I don't think I mentioned it before, but the name "Josette" did enjoy a brief surge in popularity for baby girls in 1968, much as some variation of "Khaleesi" did a couple of years ago (and, yes, I do know that the character's name is Daenerys). 

I watched the end of 243 last night.

MAWWIAGE?
Oh, that's great that Josette had a baby surge!

246 (no spoiler): In this episode, we are introduced to the third and final standing set of the Old House. We have the sitting room, Josette's room and this new one. (I think we see an additional bedroom or two once or twice in 1795, but those don't really count.)

I wish I'd've thought of it when the vampire story started, but I wonder how much time has passed in show-time...? How many days has Maggie been missing? How long does it take Sam to paint the portrait? That type of thing.

245: When I posted yesterday I suspected I skipped 245. Turns out I had, but watching them out of order didn't matter all that much. Burke and Vicki have another date. (He kissed her on the forehead.) As far as we have seen, Carolyn still does not know. 

Quote of the episode: "Some of the most beautiful things I've seen were microscopic views of hideous malignancies." That should be on a Valentine's Day card.

I've seen up through episode 247 now... and after a few close calls, Maggie might be on the verge of discovery. She found the pipe her dad left behind, started to realize she wasn't actually Josette, and made her way to the cottage. Sam spotted her outside their window, but she was gone by the time he and Burke made it out of the house.

Meanwhile Jason plans on marrying Elizabeth, and Carolyn intends to get into the secret room in the basement. And Barnabas is still being super-dominating with Willie -- though he did switch the blood-sample slide that the doctor would be examining.

A few interesting things:

In one speech, Barnabas indicates that he has serious self-loathing for what he's become. He also admits he's "extremely vulnerable" in his coffin. (And BTW, he's got one thick mattress in that coffin -- he sleeps pretty much up at the height of the hinges!)

At one point in 247, Burke suggests he might have Sam paint his portrait someday...as if he hadn't already commissioned him to do that very thing.

Episode 253, watching through the show again, I am reminded of how much I despise David. No spoilers but I have to say, "Thank you, Willie!" 

I've watched up through episode 251 -- mostly!* -- now. Maggie knows who she is, and Barnabas knows she knows, and has locked her in a room in the cellar until she thinks she's Josette again. And in the other plotline, we (and Carolyn, Roger, Vicki, and Jason) finally got to visit the secret room in the basement. They didn't detect anything amiss, and suspicions have been settled...at least until Elizabeth announces she's planning to marry Jason! Things are gonna get weird.

A few other things: I liked Willie's defense of Maggie...and Maggie's attemts to tempt the "old" Willie with jewels. Some real nice character work there.

As for the props department...well, it's clear that the show knows that to kill a vampire you need to drive a stake through their heart. But from the clank when Maggie drops it, it seems they don't much care that it's a wooden stake. 

Also: Fangs! Always good to see 'em.

I realize that when I was watching late last night, I drifted off and missed the last act of 251, so I'll have to refresh myself on that before I move on. 

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