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


GOTHIC PAPERBACK LIBRARY

1. Dark Shadows - p183
2. Victoria Winters - p183
3. Strangers at Collins House - p183
4. The Mystery of Collinwood - p184
5. The Curse of Collinwood - p184
6. Barnabas Collins - p185
7. The Secret of BC - p185
8. The Demon of BC - p185
9. The Foe of BC - p185
10. The Phantom of BC - p185
11. BC vs. the Warlock - p186
12. The Peril of BC - p186
13. BC and the Mysterious Ghost - p187
14. BC and Quentin's Demon - p188
15. BC and the Gypsy Witch - p188
16. B, Q and the Mummy's Curse - p188
17. B, Q and the Avenging Ghost - p242
18. B, Q and the Nightmare Assassin - p244
19. B, Q and the Crystal Coffin
20. B, Q and the Witch's Curse
21. B, Q and the Haunted Cave
22. B, Q and the Frightened Bride
23. B, Q and the Scorpio Curse
24. B, Q and the Serpent
25. B, Q and the Magic Potion
26. B, Q and the Body Snatchers
27. B, Q and Dr. Jekyll's Son
28. B, Q and the Grave Robbers
29. B, Q and the Sea Ghost
30. B, Q and the Mad Magician
31. B, Q and the Hidden Tomb
32. B, Q and the Vampire Beauty
33. House of Dark Shadows - p241

ROB STAEGER: p189

NEWSPAPER STRIPS: p241

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Sigh. I'll never get these names right, will I?

I've seen through episode 436 now. 435 was a corker, with Ben showing up to testify -- and he names Angelique as the witch after all. And lays out pretty much all the things she did since she arrived (other than turning Banabas into a vampire). But then she manifests and shows up in person, Ben squawks out "But you're D-D-D-DEAD!" and his whole testimony gets discounted, since she clearly isn't. 

Then Angelique testifies that Vicki is the witch, and everyone believes her. Collinsport is a town full of credulous boobs.

In the next episode, the highlight is Nathan trying to get Ben to spill his guts about Barnabas. And even as Ben won't, Nathan realizes Barnabas is still around through the force of Ben's denials. Plus, Peter gets Ben to dig up Angelique's grave, but she's gone, of course. So Peter, thinking Ben's crazy, goes back and tells Vicki her only hope is to tell the whole truth in court.

Yeah, that'll work.

Some television shows do courtroom drama very, very well.

Dark Shadows isn't one of those shows.

437: The verdict!

"This is a scared little village," says Peter at the beginning of episode 437... so why not show people a book that tells them when they'll die? 

I watched up through episode 440 last night, and it's a nice run of episodes. 

First, we get Vicki's verdict (in glorious black and white), in which Peter's plan to tell the truth almost works, until Vicki tells the whole truth: she was participating in a séance when she was sent back in time. A Future Witch is still a witch!

Barnabas, upset at the verdict, wants revenge on Trask, and begins tormenting him with his magic -- flames going out, blood coming from the mirror, a floating hand reaching out for the Force-choke. (These don't seem to be traditional vampire powers, except maybe if you think of it all as hypnosis.)

Meanwhile, Barnabas drops his cane as he attacks Maudy, an out-of-town prostitute who was chatting with Ben and who counts Nathan among her clients. Nathan runs out and finds Maudy alive and spots the cane -- one more piece of evidence that Barnabas is still around. When he talks to Trask about it -- catching Trask as he's terrorized by Barnabas -- and hears about the ring on the floating hand, that's another. And he sneaks to the Old House to overhear Ben and Barnabas talk, so he's sure!

He tries to secure Maudy in her apartment, but Barnabas gets in anyway... and kills her and leaves her body in Trask's bed!

I didn't expect Dark Shadows to go with the "discredit a politician with a dead hooker in bed" trope, but here we are! 

And a few more episodes! I'm up to episode 442 now.  Trask convinces Nathan to help him dispose of Maude's body (she's dumped in the harbor), at the cost of delivering a letter from Nathan to Millicent (which Naomi tears up before she can read it). Then gets drawn to the Old House, where, as planned, Barnabas gets a written confession of Vicki's innocence from him, then he hangs him by the arms in an alcove and bricks him in, "Cask of Amontillado" style. (A Poe story that won't be published for 50 years, in 1846.)

"And a few more episodes!"

Yesterday, against my better judgement, we watched three episodes through 440; Tracy had the day off and we had some time to kill. Now I'm glad we did because I don't like pulling ahead, but I don't like falling behind, either. 

That "floating hand" was a pretty big technical achievement for the day, commonplace now, but groundbreaking then. Speaking of traditional vampire powers, if traditional deterrents would have been in effect, he wouldn't have been able to enter Maude's room without being invited (but that stricture never has applied to Barnabas and never will).

At this point, Dark Shadows is borrowing elements from classic literature (The Crucible, Cask of Amontillado); soon it will be adapting classic works into entire arcs. the bricking of Trask is a seminal moment of the 1795 arc and will reverberate throughout the rest of the series. 

By the way, do we ever learn how Peter and Trask know that Barnabas is supposed to be dead? The cover story is that he's supposed to be in England. I imagine Vicki might have told Peter, but why did Trask think he was dead?*

*Other than the fact that humans are fallible creatures, even soap-opera writers.

Hmm, I don't know. Do Peter and Trask know that Barnabas is supposed to be dead? If so, I guess I just never caught it or never thought about it. (I'm still two episodes behind you, if it's coming up in 441/442.) I'd just chalk it up to a continuity error (of which there are many more blatant ones). I'm not sure how Barnabas got his ring back after Josette lost it, but there it was on his big ol' floating hand. 

Yep, Peter mentioned it on an earlier episode; you'll see Trask state it in 442. It's a more dramatic thing to say than "Branabas??? But you're in ENGLAND!!!" but just imagine if he *had* said that, and Barnabas replied, "No. I'm dead."

I'm caught up to 242 now. Nearest I can figure, Trask took one look at Barnabas and just knew

Maybe not. I got nothin'. 

I watched episode 443 last night. With Trask gone, things start moving into a different stage. Nathan hatches a plan to frame/expose Barnabas as the Collinsport Strangler -- with the help of Noah, he's going to pretend to save Millicent (who's armed with a gun!) from the Strangler, but incriminate Barnabas by Noah's dropping his cane. (Noah is doing all this for 10 bucks.)

Meanwhile, Peter Barnes approaches Natalie with Trask's note saying Vicki is innocent. The court rejected it, but he wants to get her support. She says it's his handwriting, and Barnes decides to ride to Salem to contact Trask in person. (Apparently Barnabas arranged for his things to be taken from the hotel, and presumably the hotel to be paid, and left word that Trask has returned to Salem...when he's probably still slowly dying in the basement of the Old House.)

The guy who plays Noah will later return as Mrs. Johnson's son (who has the unfortunate name of "Harry Johnson"). 

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