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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And it's hard to blame 'em. Think about how frustrating many of us found Smallville!

(Then again, Smallville's success proves doling out things in small doses can be done!)

The Baron said:

I agree, it would be hard. Viewers would be like "Get to the vampire!"

On to Episode 54. Matthew has confessed to Elizabeth about pushing Molloy's body out to sea, Elizabeth has gotten the cops involved (Sheriff Patterson, as opposed to the constable we saw last time), and the cliffhanger is the sheriff wants to talk to Roger. 

(Actually, it seemed like they couldn't decide whether the first guy was a constable or a sheriff, but settled on sheriff. Roger threatened his job if he didn't cooperate and put the fix in for Burke Devlin in the matter of who sabotaged his brakes. Now, two days later, there's a new sheriff in town! Roger works fast!)

Meanwhile, Burke has been putting pressure on Roger at his office, and David has told Victoria the house is full of ghosts - and he knows about the dead body she found. 

I have my own ideas about how a Dark Shadows remake should be done, but i can't discuss them yet. 

I think the 1990 remake (short-lived as it was) got it mostly right, but I'd make further changes still.

I thought the constable and the sheriff were two differnet people...? In any case, the sheriff is later played by two different actors, but (on Earth-J) I like to think of them as two brothers, both of whom "traded" the office in alternate elections.

They are two different people... but according to the DS wiki, it looks like the constable (Jonas Carter) has appeared in all the episodes he'll appear in -- and by the end of his appearances, they were calling him the sheriff, instead of constable. Sheriff George Patterson is the new guy. 

Still, it's been two days. Quick turnaround!

And now, through episode 56. Roger talks to the sheriff, and seems very eager to put forth any explanation but murder. He even at one point tries to suggest Elizabeth's hiring decisions led him to commit suicide. He's a peach.

Meanwhile, in town, Sam is acting squirrely too. There've been a few times he's mentioned Bill in the past tense, before he knew he was dead. That suggests Sam did it. I also would prefer if it wasn't Roger, who seems so clearly a villain.

The coast guard finds Molloy's body.

Also, Vicki goes into town in search of Sam. 

In episode 57, I should note, Vicki eats a lobster roll. (Between scenes.) 

Also, she makes a date with Maggie to have dinner with her and Sam at 6:30. Meanwhile, Burke goes to the sheriff for answers, and discovers Molloy's time of death was 10:45 (according to his stopped watch) -- 15 minutes after he got his 10:30 call. Burke was at the Whale until then, and he thinks the bartender will be able to corroborate that detail.

For anyone who wants to get into Dark Shadows but is intimidated by the 1200 plus episodes of the series, there may be a solution. I stumbled across two compilations on the streaming service Tubi - Dark Shadows:The Vampires Curse and Dark Shadows:The Haunting of Collinwood. Both features have a three hour run time, stringing together key episodes. Vampires Curse is one of the shows early time travel stories. Taking place in 1795, it tells of how Barnabas came to be a vampire and provides much of the series back story, while Haunting introduces the ghost of Quentin Collins.

I plan to watch Haunting of Collinwood this weekend and will report back with additional details.

I've seen up through episode 62 now... the Molloy investigation continues apace. Sam's told Burke that he didn't kill Molloy, and Burke believes him... which (apparently) leaves Roger, who's also acting very suspiciously, and tries to bully Victoria into giving him an alibi for his phone call at 10:30 and his whereabouts at 10:45 -- and then tries to bribe her by offering her a job in Florida instead. So THAT's suspicious.

ALSO: Victoria finds a painting of a woman who looks like her, painted some 25 years ago. Sam gives a name to the painting --Betty (or Nancy, I forget) Hanscomb -- but he might have said Hansen instead, which Maggie overheard. Tough to say if that's typical Dark Shadows word-fumbling, or an actual clue,,, but Hansen is the name of the auto accident victim,

Plus, we get a lot more detail on that car accident! Burke, Roger & Laura were all drinking at the Blue Whale. Burke insisted on driving, and they left the bar that way. What's in dispute is whether Roger later persuaded Burke to pull over and let him take the wheel before the accident happened. And possibly Sam knows something about this. 

And how many records does the Blue Whale jukebox have, anyway? I count 3 -- two surf-rock instrumentals, and I kind of remember a slow one in an earlier episode. 

Weird: Amazon Prime now has only most episodes of The Beginning for free on Prime, with the rest available for purchase. I suspect its a glitch -- it wasn't that way last night. But I might be stalled at episode 62 (or really, halfway through 63) for a couple days until this is resolved.

With Jeff and I being huge fans of Dark Shadows, we purchased portraits of Barnabas and the woman in the painting that looks like Victoria. We haven't framed them yet but they are incredible likenesses. 

Rob, I am having so much fun reliving these episodes as you make your way through. 

I'm so glad you're following along, Tracy! And it was from your portraits that I realized the importance of the one Victoria found -- though I'm not sure who it's of, yet.

And good news! Tubi is also carrying Dark Shadows: The Beginning, so if an episode has to be purchased on Amazon for some reason, I can watch it for free on Tubi.

At any event, I'm up to episode 64 now, and Matthew has tried to threaten (and choke) Burke into leaving town, the sherrif has warned Burke about going to Collinwood....and Burke has just shown up at Collinwood, confronting Elizabeth! 

We've been on vacation, but we're back as of today.

We have both of the compilations doc photo mentioned, The Vampire Curse and The Haunting of Collinwood. I cannot recommend them as replacements for the original episodes, but I can as "refreshers" for someone who has already seen the arcs in their entirety. As doc mentioned, they are three hours each, all main plot with no sub-plots. They hit the main beats but are exhausting to watch in a single sitting. 

Regarding the portrait of Betty Hanscomb, I'll just go ahead and tell you (because it's never resolved onscreen or in the show's bible) that I believe it to be Victoria's mother. The fact assertion that she supposedly died before Vicki was born is just another unresolved mystery. (The identity of her father, OTOH, is another matter.) If you've seen the images I posted a few months ago of Betty and Barnabas, I won't bother to link them now.

Regarding the jukebox at the Blue Whale, the soundtrack albums identify "#1 at the Blue Whale" and "#2 at the Blue Whale" (although, as you point out, there is another up-tempo number as well). The show's musical director, Robert Colbert, wrote all of the incidental music so as to avoid having to pay royalties to the copyright holders. "Josette's Theme" became quite well known, and "Quentin's Theme" actually charted on Billboard.

At this point, the show's ratings are in the crapper and Dan Curtis is about to pull out the stops. You are almost to a milestone episode which changed the course of Dark Shadows forevermore. 

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