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 - 264
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, 264
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, 269

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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I'm sorry to hear they're gone. I'm just starting to see Robert Rodan's work now.

I've seen a few more episodes -- up through episode 495. Adam is starting to learn to speak, and can say Bar-na-bus -- which might get Barnabas into hot water, since he escaped and was wandering the Collinwood grounds saying his name. When last seen, he'd picked up David, then put him down, and was shot by Roger.  (Oh, and David doesn't remember disliking Cassandra.)

Willie -- somehow this sex pest has become the most sympathetic character on the show -- sneaks into Maggie's house to slip Josette's earrings into her purse. When she finds them, she admires them, and feels like they're meant for her. Joe's a little uneasy about this. 

Julia cautions Mrs. Johnson to leave Collinwood before she can tell her dream to David, but she doesn't intend to leave. 

No one who'd understand it's meaning has heard Dr. Lang's voice on his tape deck yet. 

"Oh, and David doesn't remember disliking Cassandra."

He also doesn't remember being deathly afraid of Barnabas, either (which is a pre-1795 plot point the writers just let drop). 

"Willie -- somehow this sex pest has become the most sympathetic character on the show"

I think the show's writers not only depend on the audience having a short memory, they count on it. 

Oh, they certainly do! And I think they were right to. The late 60s TV audience -- preoccupied, not necessarily seeing every day's episode, having no way to see earlier episodes after they aired -- was very different than modern viewers. We pay attention and look for nuance, and expect everything to be part of a grand design. But Dark Shadows is a great example of how TV used to be more casual and seat-of-the-pants.

And yet Dark Shadows was also its own unique thing, like no other serial drama of its (or any other) day.

A little more Dark Shadows this week: I'm up through episode 498. The Dream Curse has progressed a bit -- Mrs. Johnson has come back from Boston and told David, who's dreamed and told Willie. Meanwhile, Maggie's getting obsessed with the earrings she found -- and which Joe has gotten appraised at $15,000, and is highly suspicious of. Maggie goes to the Old House to remember, and she meets Willie, and they reconcile -- with her now realizing that he wasn't trying to kill her, but instead trying to warn her, and Willie being quite shifty about who he was trying to warn her about. Willie asks her for a date, Maggie says Joe wouldn't like that, and then once Maggie leaves, Willie takes out a rifle and decides again that he wants to kill Joe. 

But first, Barnabas gets him to steal Angelique/Cassandra's portrait from Collinwood. Barnabas takes it to Sam, whom he hires to age the painting -- with a hard-bristled brush! -- overnight, starting at 10:15. And then, at that time, as Cassandra is confronting Barnabas, Sam starts painting.... and Cassandra starts painfully aging before our eyes!  

Ah, getting back to episodes I've seen.

John, as Willie, really starts to sell his performances. Crazy. Scared. Belligerent. It's a joy to watch. 

Right now he's my favorite character. Browbeaten by Barnabas and yearning for Maggie, his accumulated experiences have completely broken him. He's a real wild card, and I'm loving it. 

Oh, man, I've seen through episode 500 now. We've got Carolyn breaking up with Tony. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? (I'd forgotten they were dating.)

But seriously, we've got some great stuff in these episodes. In one, Angelique visits Sam, ties to get the painting, and then makes him go blind and steals it for herself! All very nicely done. (And man, the 200-year-old portrait looks great!)

But also, we've got Willie trying to teach Adam to say a confession that he stole Josette's earrings, taunting him with food, biting into it, and eventually spitting part of a chicken leg at him. It's one of the rawest, truest pieces of acting I've seen on this show -- pretty much the opposite of the arch, teleprompter-leaning scenes that can dominate the drawing-room scenes. Adam goes berserk, breaks out of his chains, and chases Willie around the house. Barnabas stops him, and beats Adam with his cane. Adam feels hurt and betrayed, and disarms Barnabas and starts to strangle him. CLIFFHANGER!

"We've got Carolyn breaking up with Tony. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????"

Honestly, I had forgotten that Tony even returned (to any great extent, anyway) after the 1795 arc, but actually he'll be around for a while longer yet.

"Angelique visits Sam... and then makes him go blind"

A while back, you asked about Sam and I said, "We haven't seen the last of him." What I left unsaid was, "...but he has seen the last of us." 

"It's one of the rawest, truest pieces of acting I've seen on this show"

I first saw Dark Shadows on VHS, and some of those tapes featured interviews with the actors. Both Robert Rodan and John Karlen cited the "chicken leg" scene in their individual segments. That scene was apparently a lot of fun for them to film. 

Just saw episode 501. Adam doesn't kill Barnabas, but escapes into the night, and eventually goes to Collinwood for some high-quality Frankensteining. He takes Carolyn hostage, and Elizabeth smells a rat... she wants to know why Barnabas was already out hunting him. 

Also, we hear the "Love Theme From a Man and a Woman" again instead of generic music, and I wonder if anyone paid money to play it.

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