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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Yeah, suddenly taking the noose off a dead stranger who just appeared isn't going to get people thinking "Oh, that Vicki Winters must have been innocent all along!"

"The past is being relived even as we speak."

"Rewritten" more like. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey, indeed!

"Julia gets a new hairstyle!"

That's actually Grayson Hall's hairstyle that she had all along. (See Night of the Iguana, 1964.) Dab Curtis thought it it made Julia look too "sophisticated" so he had her wear that "helmet hair" wig up until this point. 

Stalled for a while on account of vacation -- and, this weekend, a curling tournament. But I've gotten to episode 465! The main thrust of it is Barnabas is worried that Vicki is remembering too much, and is running off with her... and in the cliffhanger, they apparently drive right into the ghost of Peter! Or is he a ghost?

But also:

Vicki buys a portrait of Angelique, which Barnabas just can't burn.

Carolyn wants Barnabas to leave her alone for his errands, as she knows he loves Vicki and wants a romantic life of her own. But Tony saw Barnabas biting Carolyn, and assumed it was some creepy rich-people incest thing. ("I knew the wealthy could be depraved, but I had no idea...!")

Joe Haskell returns Vicki's charm bracelet to her, found in the Old Courthouse, which was last seen used as evidence there 170 years ago. 

Roger Collins is obsessed with the portrait of Angelique, and calls Julia "Countess" at one point, not realizing his mistake.

Professor Stokes shows up seeking the portrait. He's a descendent of Ben Stokes, and he's also an occult expert. 

Vicki's been bitten by Barnabas, so she's not quite in her right mind at the moment.

We have moved on. We are up to 475, but we are stalled for a week or so while Tracy is out of town so you have a chance to catch up. Before you left I indicated that the upcoming sequence was not a favorite of mine, but I actually quite enjoy the episodes immediately following the 1795 arc. (The "Dream Curse" begins circa 477.) I'm glad you're up to Roger's fascination with the portrait of Angeligue. The poem he recites is "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, which has become one of my favorite poems since I discovered it. The first stanza is a melancholy love poem (which is how it's used here), but is really about love vs. faith in times of adversity.

DOVER BEACH by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
It's good to have you back, Rob! I've missed this discussion!
EDIT: For some reason, I can't get spaces to appear between the stanzas. 

I remember that poem from high school,  as well as Anthony Hecht's response:

The Dover B*tch, by Anthony Hecht

A Criticism of Life: for Andrews Wanning

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.'
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She's really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d' Amour.

That's hilarious. (Obviously I disagree with Hecht's interpretation.) I didn't read "Dover Beach" in high school, though; "since I discovered it" means "on Dark Shadows." It's part of my "White Cliffs of Dover" series, which includes Prince Valiant, James Bond (Moonraker) and Shakespeare (King Lear). 

That's a terrific poem -- and Roger really recited part of it with feeling, I thought.  I agree with Hecht, though, that Matthew Arnold must have been a real bummer of a date. 

It's been a weekend packed with curling, and promises to be a busy week, but I'm hoping to get at least a few more episodes under my belt as the days roll past, and the waves crash in the sea's melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.

I watched episode 466 last night. It's 4pm: Do you know where your vampire is?

A great episode that really moves things forward in a major way for Barnabas... his vampirism is becoming more and more of an open secret: We've got Julia, Carolyn, Vicki, and now Dr. Lang all in on it. And Willie, again, someday. Am I missing anyone?

Also interesting is the show's new approach to the supernatural -- not just being more open about exploring it, which it has been since at least the time-travel séance & the introduction of a witch on top of the vampire and the ghosts, but also that more and more people believe in it. We've just in been introduced to Professor Stokes and Dr. Lang in the space of a week, and both of them are completely on board with the idea that witches and vampires exist.  

Plus, Roger Davis returns as Jeff Clark, looking just like Peter Bradford! There's a lot more to unfold there, to be sure.

I went to the Dark Shadows wiki to check his name, and found this gem: "He is genuinely disliked by Dark Shadows fans for his tendency to get too physical onscreen with female actors." I'm trying to decide whether this means he treats them roughly (which I haven't noticed), or that fans are jealous of him for how many DS characters he gets to kiss.

"We've got Julia, Carolyn, Vicki, and now Dr. Lang all in on it."

Don't expect all of them to stay in on it.

"Also interesting is the show's new approach to the supernatural"

That's a good point. 

"I'm trying to decide whether this means"

It means he's very "handsy."

I don't know if you've been to the set that serves as Dr. Lang's house, but if not you'll be there soon. It is what is now known (since Big Finish) as "The House by the Sea." Dr. Lang lives there now; later, Nicholas Blair (and others) will live there. It has, retroactively, been redefined as the house Vicki fell in love with and where she hoped to live with Burke Devlin. I don't think it was intended to be the same house all along (certainly not from the Vicki/Burke days). It's more a matter of redressing the same set, and also using the same stock photo for the exterior. (Vicki's house was different set and a different photo, but it's still been retrofitted as "The House by the Sea.") There are absolutely no plot points (during the TV series) based on it being the same house, but apparently Collinwood isn't the only house in Collinsport in which hinky supernatural things happen (which speaks to your point about the show's approach to the supernatural changing).

Ah, yuck. That sucks, esp. since I liked his first character, and expected to like this one too.

We haven't seen Lang's house yet, but I remember the one Vicki and Burke were looking at. Boy, that's a thread that went nowhere!

And yeah, I guess since Julia is prone to hypnotizing people, she can put whatever cats she likes back in the bag.

I was just looking at Dark Shadows Every Day, and this episode is where that writer pinpoints the big change in attitude about the supernatural too. He talks about Dr. Lang asking to see Julia's neck. And then:

And there we are, it’s a different show. In one episode — really, in one deliriously nutty question — Dr. Eric Lang changes the way that Dark Shadows works.

After all, it took Julia more than a month to figure out that Barnabas was a vampire, and she was miles ahead of everyone else in town. Dr. Lang has been on the case for a little over ten minutes.

But Lang’s got an important advantage over everyone else. When Julia and Dr. Woodard were first looking into the problem of Maggie’s strange condition, they were on a relatively normal soap opera that had recently introduced some supernatural elements. Dr. Lang is walking onto the set of a spook show.

I always thought that in a world where magic and the supernatural were real, there would be more people ready to believe in it.

It makes me think of how, ages ago, on a previous iteration of the board, there was a guy who wrote a lengthy X-Files/DC Comics crossover story.  It was good stuff - better than anything I've ever written, that's for sure - but I don't think  he ever finished it, alas.  I forget how he handled Scully's skepticism, but I would think that in such a universe, people would consider the supernatural as a matter of course.

"What's your diagnosis, Dr. Pietrusiewicz?"

"I can't find any medical reason for your condition, so I'm referring you to Mother Nightwind to see if she can find a magical cause."

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