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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Undoubtedly. 

The opening voiceover for 366 says essentially the same thing: For the modern world, time has stopped. It's a whole new show... for months!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I don't know if you noticed, but after the arrival of Phyllis Wick, the camera pulled back and the action froze. The freeze frame indicates that the present day action is essentially "frozen in time" while Vicki's trip to the past plays out.

Actually it was  on the "Dar Shadows Time Travel Sampler"/

The Baron said:

This sounds familiar. I wonder if it's on "Adventures of a Time-Traveling Vampire" tape?

Yeah, that makes sense.

"The opening voiceover for 366 says essentially the same thing"

It's been a while since I've seen these episodes. I had forgotten they repeat that in the opening ad infinitum (brace yourself). I don't think I myself previously noticed the pull-back and freeze frame in 265, though. 

think that this is my response to 366 from page 17.  I didn't know the episode numbers for these.

"

Dark Shadows: "Vicki Arrives in 1795"

1)Is this the first time travel story they did?

2)Joe is Nathan Forbes.

3)Liz is Naomi Collins.

4)"Josette married Jeremiah" - is this an EYKIW?

The Commander said: The 1968 Barnabas' recognition of Phyllis Wicke is possible if he had met Phyllis sometime before the 1795 sequence in which Vicki participated. Perhaps Barnabas was the one who hired Phyllis to be the Collins governess. (The dialogue of the episodes of the time may decry that; I just don't remember them that well.)

In this episode, at least, 1795 Barnabas thinks that Vicki could be the new governess - he doesn't even know that the new governess is called Phyllis Wicke. This militates against the idea that he hired Phyllis. Naomi doesn't know that Vicki isn't Phyllis by sight, although she does know Phyllis' name. My impression is that Naomi hired Phyliis through the offices of some third party."

Yep, that's definitely 366, all right. I have a few general comments to make about that episode, then I will move on to address "The Phyllis Wicke Paradox" as well as other EYKIWs yet to come. 

First of all, if the release of Barnabas from his coffin in 210 changed Dark Shadows forevermore (and make no mistake: it did), episode 366 had an impact that was just as profound. Imagine the audience of housewives and schoolchildren watching this for the first time in 1967. Did Vicki Winters just travel in time? During a seance? That is absolutely insane! I would say it's comparable to the first time "Doctor Who" regenerated. 

Victoria Winters does not have the reputation of being the sharpest tool in the shed (I think you'll agree with me there), but it's compounded here (and in episodes to come) as she meets member after member of the 18th century Collins family and mistakes them for their 20th century counterparts. She just doesn't seem to get it. But I think, in this case, her dullness represents an underestimation of the audience on a certain level. Dan Curtis was trying something new and wanted to drill into his audiences' heads that this wasn't just another costume party.

Regarding the apparent "paradox" of Barnabas knowing or not knowing Phyllis Wicke, it can be accounted for by the so-called Grandfather Parodox; the 1967 history and the 1795 "flashback" are two entangled histories happening in parallel. In other words, we think the situation creates a paradox, when in fact it does not

REALITY #1: Phyllis Wicke is governess

REALITY #2: Victoria Winters is governess

Which is not to say I don't think an alternate reality is involved. Everything we learn in 1795 is a contradiction to what we already "know" from previously established "canon"  (I use the term ironically here). But reality obviously diverged from PEC (previously established canon) at some point prior to Vicki's arrival at Collinwood instead of Phyllis Wicke. 

"Obviously this girl's beauty has bewitched you."
"Obviously, it's made you envious." Well, DAMN, it's ON.

So here I am in episode 367. Abigail (the former Mrs. Johnson) accuses Vicki of being a witch. (She's gonna be trouble.) Vicki sneaks off to Collinwood (the new house, still under construction) and meets Jeremiah...and he looks like Burke! I never expected him to be back -- I assumed with Burke dead, Anthony George had left the show. So that was an incredible surprise. 

Weird to see the new relationships here...Joshua and Naomi as a married couple, Abigail as Joshua's sister. This is going to be fun. 

From page 27:  "Meanwhile, the Cybermen, having concealed themselves in Eagle Hill Cemetery, find a mysterious vault containing a coffin wrapped in chains. "Investigate" says the Cyberleader, and his faithful Lieutenant begins removing the chains from the coffin.."

From Page 18:

"

Dark Shadows: "Meeting More Revolutionary Era Collinses"

1)Mrs. Johnson is Abigail Collins, the family nutjob.

2)I figure Collinsport got wicked in-bred over the years, that's why the same physical types kept recurring. By 1970, everyone in town is their own great-uncle, even the women. Actually, that could explain alot.

3)"You are possessed." Uh-oh.

4)That's not the Burke I know! This must be after they fired Mitch Ryan. Anyway, new Burke is Jeremiah Collins.

5)Roger is Joshua. It suits him.

6)It is interesting seeing the familiar faces in different roles."

Mitch Ryan is Burke Devlin, but Anthony George is Jeremiah Collins.

Rob, I don't recommend any of the following to you at this point; you're too far into watching all of the episodes in order (an option I never really had), but these are things to keep in mind for future reference. BTW, is your wife watching along with you? If so, what does she think?

ALTERNATE OPTIONS (Is that redundant?): 

1. 365/461: The fourth seance begins in 365 and ends in 461. It is possible to skip directly from one to the other; I know because I have done it. Sure, there's going to be some "unexplained" weirdness going on (from the points of view of the cast other than Vicki), but at least the viewer who made the leap wouldn't be any more confused than the characters themselves.

2. "The Curse of the Vampire": This DVD is one of two lengthy story arcs that MPI Video has condensed and edited into a single, three and a half hour "movie." It's not quite a movie, though. For one thing, the 93 episodes of the "1975" arc were never intended to be edited together in this fashion. For another, this edit includes no sub-plots at all and little character development. "The Curse of the Vampire" is rather relentless because it’s scene after scene of the same characters advancing the main plot with no relief, no rhythm. If one were making one's way through Dark Shadows and felt pressed for time or otherwise just wanted to hit the highlights, one slip this release between 356 and 461.

3. "Year One": In 2013, Dynamite Comics released a five-issue limited series titled Dark Shadows: Year One which basically retold the vampire origin story in less than 19 weeks or three and a half hours. I have been waiting for this opportunity to read it for a second time.

 NEXT: Big Guns

Oh, there's no way Kathy could be watching this with me. If we were watching together, we'd be on episode 30 by now. We just don't binge a show -- we watch an episode, maybe two, and then watch something else and get back to it in a week or so. She's seen me watching it -- and likes a comment I relayed to her from a Letterboxd review of the movie: "This movie is mostly 80 minutes of watching people yell 'David' in the dark."

She'd like it if she had the patience and time for it, but we could never watch it together. Our schedules  don't line up well enough for that. Also, the one way I've made the progress I have is by untethering myself from the TV. I'll put on some headphones and put the show on my phone while I make eggs in the morning, or wash some dishes. There's just so much of it, and at some point I realized I had to choose between having a "pristine" watching experience or never getting to the end of it at all (possibly dropping off entirely because it was going too slowly for me, which it probably would be if I limited myself to when I felt like watching it on the big TV). But watching while I do something else is probably very similar to how it was intended to be consumed: It's a soap, so a lot of people would do chores while the TV was on in the background. 

Oh, and that's why I don't judge Vicki too harshly for always thinking someone in 1795 was their 1968 counterpart: People were watching, but they couldn't be relied on to see every show, and they might be doing other things as they watched. It's essential to hammer things home, again and again, for an audience like that. 

And now I've seen episode 368... Angelique arrives! And has a romantic past with Barnabas! And, one suspects, is the "wicked woman" who might get in the way of Barnabas's romance with Josette, if the Countess's cards are right. 

The Countess -- I love that the show reminds viewers the French Revolution wasn't that long ago -- retains her title out of pride, and is played by Grayson Hall. Angelique is played by Lara Parker, who I believe is new to the cast. 

Also: Looks like Naomi likes to hit the sauce! And whether he's playing Roger or Joshua, Louis Edmonds can be relied on to make his Collins the most insufferable Collins. 

We've got cast members as yet unseen... the actors who play Carolyn, David, Sam, the sheriff, the caretaker...and, of course, Maggie, though I expect her to be Josette.

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