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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The Volume One DVD contains episodes 210-250, starting with Willie releasing Barnabas from the coffin. After the events you’ve just seen, Barnabas asks for and receives permission from Elizabeth to live in the Old House and restore it to its original condition. He “hires” Willie as his handyman. Soon Barnabas meets Collinsport Inn waitress Maggie Evans (whom he sees as the reincarnation of his lost love, Josette), and commissions her father Sam to paint his portrait. Maggie begins to exhibit weakness and increasingly odd behavior. Eventually she disappears from the Evans’ cottage. No one knows that she has been abducted by Barnabas and brainwashed into believing she really is Josette.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
The Volume One DVD contains episodes 210-250, starting with Willie releasing Barnabas from the coffin. After the events you’ve just seen, Barnabas asks for and receives permission from Elizabeth to live in the Old House and restore it to its original condition. He “hires” Willie as his handyman. Soon Barnabas meets Collinsport Inn waitress Maggie Evans (whom he sees as the reincarnation of his lost love, Josette), and commissions her father Sam to paint his portrait. Maggie begins to exhibit weakness and increasingly odd behavior. Eventually she disappears from the Evans’ cottage. No one knows that she has been abducted by Barnabas and brainwashed into believing she really is Josette.

Well, of coruse! :)
Time Travel in Dark Shadows: “The Ripple Effect”

In some fictional realities it is possible to alter events of the past, in others it is not. In Dark Shadows it most definitely is, and I have been trying for some time to determine how time travel works within parameters of the broadcast episodes. I have recently folded in a conceit from Lost, that a changed timeline strives to “reset” itself, which gels with my own ideas about how time travel works on Dark Shadows.

My primary theory is that not only do characters’ actions affect events when they travel to the past, but so too does their mere presence. Like a stone thrown into a body of water, the ripples caused by the presence of an individual thrust into a time not his or her own spread out in all directions in the time-stream, reaching into the past as well as the future as the ripples are swept along in the current. The “ripples” occur whenever a time traveler leaves his or her own natural time (to go forward to the future or backward the past), but not when he or she returns. (I have a secondary theory that psychic time travel is less damaging to the time-stream than physical time travel, but because someone usually physically follows (or precedes) Barnabas when he travels psychically, it’s largely a moot point.)

Sometimes the effect of the ripple is subtle. For example, someone’s physical appearance may change completely, yet the people around him will be entirely unaware of the change. Other times the effects are more profound, but except for the traveler(s) who effected the change, no one else in the altered timeline will be aware of it. I have identified all of the following events as catalysts for creating alternate timelines.*

Vicki travelled from 1967 to 1795
Angelique travelled from 1796 to 1968
Vicki travelled from 1968 to 1796
Barnabas travelled from 1969 (January) to 1796
Barnabas travelled from 1969 (Feb) to 1897
Julia travelled from 1969 (Sep) to 1897
Quentin & Petofi travelled (briefly) from 1897 to 1969
Barnabas travelled from 1897 back to 1796
Barnabas and Julia travelled from 1970 parallel time* to 1995
Julia travelled from 1970 (Sep) to 1840
Barnabas travelled from 1970 (Oct) to 1840

*NOTE: So-called “parallel time” differs from an altered timeline in that it represents an entirely different reality as opposed to a merely “altered” one.

Let’s examine the events of 1795, for examples of both the “ripple effect” as well as the timeline itself altering to “correct” itself.

ORIGINAL TIMELINE:
Jeremiah and Josette are lovers
Barnabas is Jeremiah’s rival for Josette’s affections
Jeremiah and Josette marry
Angelique, jealous of Josette, curses Barnabas
Sarah’s governess is blamed for Angelique’s deeds
Josette, pursued by Barnabas, leaps from Widow’s Hill
Phyllis Wick hanged as a witch

REVISED TIMELINE:
Barnabas and Josette are lovers
Angelique casts a spell on Jeremiah and Josette
Jeremiah and Josette marry
Angelique, jealous of Josette, curses Barnabas
Sarah’s governess is blamed for Angelique’s deeds
Josette, pursued by Barnabas, leaps from Widow’s Hill
Victoria Winters hanged as a witch

In 1967, a séance caused Victoria Winters to be physically transported to the year 1795, and because her arrival caused” ripples” to spread further into the past as well as the future, she arrived in a timeline already altered simply by virtue of her very presence. By the time she arrived it was already Barnabas, not Jeremiah, who was betrothed to Josette; Victoria’s actions in the past had nothing to do with that, it was her mere presence; she was the X-factor. Angelique soon casts a spell to bring Josette and Jeremiah together as the timeline struggles to reassert itself. Victoria plays out the role originally played by Phyllis Wick, but being hanged in the past causes her to be thrust back to her proper time.

I’ve theorized before it was, in fact, Quentin Collins’ “stairway through time” which weakened the time-stream sufficiently to allow all this time travel to take place, but what was it which weakened the time-stream enough to allow the stairway to work in the first place. That’s simple enough: all the time travel described above! That’s right: it’s a paradox. I have more, but that’s enough for now.
Barnabas:( Looking at a photo album) "And who is this?"

Elizabeth: "That's Throckmorton P. Collins. He lived in Collinwood for a time in the 1880's."

Barnabas: "And who are those gentlemen with him?"

Elizabeth: "Those are two friends of his - Doctor Phillips and Doctor....Newman, I think it was. By all accounts, quite peculiar men - they used to speak to disembodied voices, but apparently other people would hear the voices, too. Supposedly they were fascinated by the architecture of Collinwood - particularly the staircases, for some reason. One day they both just up and disappeared - funny thing is, no one ever saw them leave the house."
Elizabeth: "That's Throckmorton P. Collins. He lived in Collinwood for a time in the 1880's."

He was the town's water commissioner, you know.
"Those are two friends of his - Doctor Phillips and Doctor....Newman, I think it was. By all accounts, quite peculiar men - they used to speak to disembodied voices, but apparently other people would hear the voices, too. Supposedly they were fascinated by the architecture of Collinwood - particularly the staircases, for some reason. One day they both just up and disappeared - funny thing is, no one ever saw them leave the house."

You have no idea how well that fits! (Especially the "hearing voces" bit.) On TV, the history of the Collins family remains largely unrevealed between the years 1840 and 1897, and again between 1897 and 1966.
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Elizabeth: "That's Throckmorton P. Collins. He lived in Collinwood for a time in the 1880's."

He was the town's water commissioner, you know.

Heh-heh-heh...
Open note to Bob:

Storylines on Dark Shadows most often come to a slow boil. The tension builds over a period of weeks and then is usually resolved very quickly. After your sample of “The Beginning” Vol. 6 and DVD set 1, my thought was to provide you next with a sample of set 2 crossing over into 3, beginning with a costume party held by Barnabas to celebrate the renovation of the Old House in which the modern day members of the Collins family (plus Vicki and Burke) dressed as their 18th century ancestors. The only problem was that that would have meant two tapes in a row for you of all build and no pay-off.

Tracy’s suggestion was to send some episodes set in 1897 featuring Quentin Collins. That was a good idea, because the 1897 storyline begins on a Monday and builds to a cliffhanger on Friday. But if I do that, I might as well through in the first five episodes of the 1795 storyline which does the same, and hey… so does the return to 1796! Each of those 5-day continuities represents the start of an extended story with a beginning, middle and cliffhanger ending of its own, but still no pay-off!

As with Doctor Who when the Doctor regenerates or takes on a new companion, sometimes the most memorable episodes of Dark Shadows are the ones involving actual time travel, so after I assembled the tape described above, I assembled a sampler of some of my favorite time-travel episodes. And there’s pay-off!

The difference between the two tapes is that one of them contains individual episodes (for the most part) whereas the other one is comprised of five-episode chunks. I suggest watching the faster-paced one first, or… because the episodes on both tapes are in broadcast order, you could switch back and forth between tapes using the episode numbers I provided.

Either way is fine, it just depends on what you’re in the mood to watch.
What I think would be funny would be Bela Lugosi, Christopher, Jonathan Frid and Al Lewis beating the snot out of one of them"Twilight" vampires and taking his lunch money.
Dark Shadows: "Never Hold A Seance On A Time Rift"

1)Wah! It's in color! It was more "atmospheric" in black-and-white.

2)Julia is sort of Barbara Wright-esque, appearance-wise. How long has she been around for? I'm told she was brought in for Maggie Evans - so, when did she become David's therapist?

3)A seance? Yeah. OK - it's the obvious answer when you think your kid has psychological problems.

4)Carolyn is in with Barnabas, now? What happened to Willie?

5)Who's Dr. Woodard? What happened to them? Did Barnabas kill them? Does Julia know what Barnabas is?

6)Obviously, Collinwood is built over a time rift, like the one in Cardiff. Be funny if the Gelth came through.

7)Boom mike in shot during the seance.
Dark Shadows: "Vickie's Neck Hurts"

1)Wait, who's narrating?

2)There's one guy in the crowd who looks like Eugene Levy.

3)"May God have mercy on your unrepentant soul." Yeah, yeah, blow it out your a***.

4)Wait, they didn't know Julia was a doctor?

5)Barnabas just doesn't look as good in color.

6)Why doesn't Barnabas just waste Julia?

7)Liz, dear, "banana yellow" just isn't your color.

8)"I'm Batman."

9)I thought that was Barnabas in the shadows. That was well done.

10)What's with Barnabas'/Frid's ear?

11)What's Barnabas afriad that Vickie knows? That he's a whompyear?
For those of you following along at home, these are episodes #365 (Vicki time-travels to 1795, a Friday episode) and #461 (Vicki returns to the present, a Monday episode).

Wah! It's in color! It was more "atmospheric" in black-and-white.

Definitely. [The series switched to color with episode #294.]


Barnabas just doesn't look as good in color.

Agreed.

How long has [Dr. Julia Hoffman] been around for?

Exactly 100 episodes at this point (about five months, real time).

Wait, they didn't know Julia was a doctor?

No, she originally came to Collinwood posing as an historian writing a book on the Collins family. This cover story strokes the Collins ego just enough that Elizabeth opened the doors wide. She’s not really David’s therapist; it’s just that only Maggie and David have seen Sara at this point (with any frequency, anyway; others have caught glimpses). The story goes that writer Sam Hall had originally intended the role to be played by a man, Dr. Julius Hoffman, but someone misread his handwriting. At some point someone asked whether of not there was any reason the role couldn’t be played by a woman, and his wife Grayson Hall was cast. Hmm…?

I have little doubt that this is where Chris Claremont gets his “Is there any reason this character can’t be a woman?” philosophy. He took the name Sebastian Shaw from Dark Shadows, as well as the N’Bari demons and (most famously) Phoenix.

Does Julia know what Barnabas is?

Not at this point.

Carolyn is in with Barnabas, now? What happened to Willie?

[SPOILER] Maggie had been abducted, but no one knew by whom. At one point, Willie ran to the Evans cottage to warn Maggie that Barnabas was after her, but the police, assuming he was her kidnapper, shot him up pretty bad. John Karlen left the show for a while (I don’t know why; perhaps to do a play…?) and wasn’t in the 1795 storyline at all. Whenever the script called for Willie, they stuck some guy in an opaque oxygen tent. Karlen/Willie returned shortly after the storyline returned to the present.[END SPOILER]

While Willie was away, Barnabas needed a “spy” within Collinwood. This aspect of Carolyn being in Barnabas' power was eventually dropped and Carolyn supressed it or developed amnesia or something.

Who's Dr. Woodard?

You’ve already met Dr. Woodard. He’s the Collins family physician who treated Willie and he also referred Maggie to Julia Hoffman’s care. Three actors played the role, and yes, he eventually ran afoul of Barnabas Collins.

Obviously, Collinwood is built over a time rift, like the one in Cardiff.

Or a Hellmouth, like in Sunnydale.

Boom mike in shot during the seance.

One of the infamous “dark shadows.”

Wait, who's narrating?

In episode #461, Nancy Barrett (Carolyn). One thing about the time travel episodes (in general) and the introduction of Barnabas (in specific) is that the focus of the show shifted away from Vicki and to Barnabas. I can’t really say the show “jumped the shark” at this point because its most popular days were still to come, but it did turn a corner and never came back. After Barnabas became the main character and Alexandra Moltke left the show, the opening voice-overs were divvied up among all the other players. Because she did them all for years, though, Moltke by far did the lion’s share.

Why doesn't Barnabas just waste Julia?

He does come very, very close at one point, but spares her because she convinces him that she can create a serum to scientifically “cure” him of his vampirism. I kind of which he had, because eventually Dark Shadows became “The Barnabas and Julia Show” (in much the same way Lost in Space eventually became “The Will, Dr. Smith and the Robot Show”).

I thought that was Barnabas in the shadows. That was well done.

They pull that trick quite often… sometimes not so well.

What's with Barnabas'/Frid's ear?

Uh…?

What's Barnabas afriad that Vickie knows? That he's a whompyear?

Exactly. She doesn’t know, but Barnabas doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. This is exactly the point at which the 1991 revival series ends.

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