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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"No movement on the Vicki front..."

One thing I'm paying attention this time through is how long Vicki remains locked in the secret room in "show time" vs. "Real time."

"...it looks like Joe & Carolyn are breaking up for good!"

I started watching Dark Shadows initially with the Barnabas episodes. From that POV, Joe & Maggie had always been a couple, and it was strange to later go back and watch the early episodes when Joe was dating Carolyn.

Oh, good. He's definitely trading up!

And I realized yesterday that if Barnabas debuts in episode 210, I'm more than halfway there!


The next arc is 128-194.

The next two after that overlap...

One begins 195...

Barnabas begins 210...

They run concurrently. 

Nice! I have a feeling a double storyline will suit this show.

Certain storylines are already overlapping (the sobbing in the cellar, Vicki's parents), and it is one of those which begins circa 195.

True... there are always undercurrents of something else going on. I'll be happy when the initial Burke storyline is resolved, and we find out what really happened 10 years ago. My theory is that Laura was driving, not Roger -- but Roger let a drunk Burke take the blame to protect her. So Burke's right that he wasn't behind the wheel, but he's wrong that Roger was. The idea that no one has so far even suggested that the woman in the car might have been driving is SO 1966.

Looking forward to more cellar sobbing!

(Oh, and I've just watched episode 120: David's brought Matthew some more food, and seems on the verge of discovering Vicki while Matthew has run off to the well.)

"I have a bad habit of thinking everyone wants a cup of coffee." 

Maggie is head and shoulders the most self-aware character on this show. 

Interesting theory (about Laura Collins).

I must admit, I never noticed the excessive coffee drinking before... until now.

Speaking of episode 120 (among others)... I'm sure you've noticed by now that, from time to time, the recording quality drops. That's because, as with Doctor Who, many (although not as many) of the video taped episodes are missing. In all cases (except one*), these episodes have been replaced with filmed balck and white kinescope copies (which were recorded for continuity purposes, I think). This practice will become even more apparent after the switch to color is made.

*In the one instance in which neither a taped nor a filmed episode is available, an audio with still photos has been substituted (but that won't be until nearly the end of the run). 

Re-watched a tape titled "Episodes 195-217", although those don't match Slate Guy's numbers.

I've watched up through episode 129 now. David finally built up the nerve to tell Burke where Vicki was... but by the time they got there, she'd already been saved from being hacked to death (!) by Matthew, because the ghosts of Bill Molloy and the Widows scared him to death! And now I'm wondering if we'll ever see the ghost of Matthew!

Speaking of Matthew, I think Thayer David would have made a wonderful Solomon Grundy!

And now we're in the next story, as Laura Collins has come back to town, and Sam is drinking more then ever, and Roger and Elizabeth are worried! (Elizabeth about David, Roger about his own skin.) No one knows what Laura wants yet, and they're suspicious that she might be colluding with Burke Devlin. 

We've seen the last of Matthew, but not of Thayer David... not by a long shot.

I don't know how the Laura Collins character would have played out under the original (i.e., pre-supernatural) plan, but I can tell you this: she is barely mentioned in the show's bible. At the time Dark Shadows was in development, soap opera fare of the day included marital infidelity, divorce, alcoholism, etc. Laura Collins was originally conceived to be an alcoholic who had been undergoing detox at a "sanitarium." 

The arc which runs episodes #193-275 is outlined in the bible pretty much as it plays out on TV, but the arc you've just begun, 123-191) is not mentioned at all. This tells us that the "ghost" theme had built up momentum and they were eager to keep it going with... well, I'll let you discover that for yourself. 

I can tell you this now: before I ever started watching the show for the first time, the 30th anniversary Dark Shadows Almanac caught my eye on the bookstore shelf. It wasn't concerned about spoilers, lemma tell ya! In it, one of the storylines was described as "Matthew Morgan Kills Bill Malloy and Kidnaps Victoria." Thanks a lot, (publisher) Kathryn Leigh Scott! A better title would have been "The Death of Bill Malloy"... still slightly spoilery, but better. 

It would have been spoiler for me, though, anyway. I started watching on VHS tapes released by MPI Media, which started with episode 210 and the first eight of which were edited to highlight the introduction of Barnabas Collins. That series ran for 200 tapes, then they went back and launched a 54 tape set from the beginning, and including complete versions of the previously released versions with the sub-plots edited out. Someone wanting to watch the complete series would watch 1-54 of one series, followed by 9-200 of the other. But I digress.

Anyway, the first tape of the first series recapped everything from the first 209 episodes, and I mean everything: who sabotaged Roger's car, who killed Bill Malloy, what happened to Mathew Morgan, Laura Collins' secret, who was driving the car the night the pedestrian was killed, and other plot points you haven't gotten to yet. 

I hope you stay in the mood to watch these for a long time to come because I'm having a good time following along. 

Oh, believe me -- I'm having a blast! This is pretty much the first piece of media I'm letting myself watch on anything -- laptop, phone, TV -- instead of just planting myself in front of the TV to watch it. I wind up catching half an episode as I'm cooking eggs in the morning, or another little bit here and there during the day. I never, ever thought I'd make it this far... but I've got momentum, and I'm pretty hooked. 

That said -- I wonder how I'll react when Barnabus comes along and the supernatural elements get more and more overt? I *think* I'll be really happy with the change... but  will I? Or am I just in it to see if Joe finds true love with Maggie, over coffee and conversations about mainsails?

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