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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The Power of Collinwood? The Evil of Collinwood? The Evolution of Collinwood?  Collinwood in ManhattanThe Victory of Collinwood?  The Collinwood Master Plan? The Collinwood Invasion of Earth?
Beneath Collinwood? Escape from Collinwood? Conquest of Collinwood? Battle for Collinwood?
Collinwood: The Motion Picture?  Collinwood II: The Wriath of Quentin?  Collinwood III:  The Search for Barnabas?
The Collinwood of Death?  The Collinwood of Doom? Running Through the Corridors of Collinwood?
There are quarries near Collinwood?
The Baron said:
There are quarries near Collinwood?

Tombstones, vaults and mausoleums don't grow on trees.
Barnabas Joke of the Day: His favorite cheese is Munster.
Episode #189: The second séance at Collinwood. I tend to forget about this one (perhaps because it was so small, with only three participants), and think of the one that sent Vicki into the past as the second, but I guess that’s the third (or maybe even the fourth because I think they had one at the costume party thrown by Barnabas to celebrate the restoration of the Old House). When Victoria is possessed it sounds as if she’s having an orgasm, but when David’s possessed he just sounds constipated.

Paperbacks: It strikes me that the dark shadows paperbacks would make excellent springboards for a revived TV show. They’d have to sex ‘em up a little bit, of course, but they’re very much in the flavor of the show’s early days, the era I’ve come to prefer.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Do you know how Barnabas will finally get caught? He’ll be overdrawn at the blood bank.
I’m not quite finished watching the Phoenix sequence but I’m down to the last day of events so the end is clearly in sight. In a bonus DVD interview Diana Millay said the story was originally intended to have gone on for much longer, but she was pregnant and beginning to show. I think it’s just about the right length as it is; any longer and it would have started to drag. This is my third or fourth time through the whole thing and I’m enjoying it more than ever before. People think the introduction of Barnabas was the turning point of the show, but it was really Laura Collins. She was in the background from the very beginning, but not as a supernatural character. Originally she was intended to have been brought in for a simple custody battle and would have died in a mysterious manner which would have implicated Vicki.

When the ratings spiked after the ghost of Josette was actually shown the show’s entire paradigm shifted. At that point, all the subplots (Burke’s vendetta, Elizabath’s guilt, Vicki’s identityetc.) were back-burnered in order to focus on the supernatural element. Those sub-plots weren’t developed at all for 13 weeks until the Phoenix sequence had run its course. After that the sub-plots were re-introduced and tied off (except for Vicki’s identity, which never was), and Barnabas was introduced to top and continue the trend of the supernatural.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: When Barnabas decides to buy something, he always says, “I’ll bite that.”

Not sure which episode number I am currently up to, possibly #260. Maggie has escaped Barnabas and has been sent off to be cared for by Dr. Julia Hoffman in secret, while her father and doctor tell everyone she has died. The Caroline and Buzz situation seems to be nearing a resolution - or at least I hope so!

 

I haven't started on the DS paperbacks, so generously sent by a resident of Earth J, but they are next up in my reading stack.

This post contains a mild spoiler for the first four paperbacks in the series (which I assume few will read) but avoids spoilers for the TV show (which I assume someone soon might watch).

THE CURSE OF COLLINWOOD: I see a definite trend in this fifth Dark Shadows paperback (first printing May 1968) to synch up with the televised version. The second page references not only the end of the Phoenix storyline (episode #192), but also the end of blackmail sub-plot (circa episode #270 or so). More telling, though (and here’s the “mild spoiler” to anyone wishing to read the first four paperbacks), Victoria’s love interest Ernest Collins is dead by the third page. It’s not a perfect fit, due to the presence of a character gone before the start of either the Phoenix story or the blackmail plot, but the discrepancies in continuity aren’t insurmountable.

“But as [Victoria] had stood there between a grim-faced, bare-headed Roger and a sad Elizabeth, hearing the final words spoken over the grave, her attention had drifted for a fleeting moment to a large stone vault just beyong where Ernest was being buried. It was so much bigger and impressive than anything else in the remote old burial ground that she momentarily wondered about it. Later she was to remember this and speculate if her sudden odd feeling had been the result of a whispered message from Ernest, a warning from beyond that even at this moment she was moving into the shadow of an unknown horror!”

I thought at first that the vault described above was Barnabas’ mausoleum, but it turns out to be the crypt of Derek Collins and his wife Esther, who both died under mysterious circumstances in 1859. Derek Collins was a slaver, and events suggest that a shaft of moonlight striking the coffins might have caused him and his bride to rise as zombies. On the other hand, there is also an escaped murderer on the loose, and the sequence of odd happenings may be attributable to him and his girlfriend. A new character added in to the mix is Amos Martin, the half-mad son of a witch who lives in a shack on the beach. Trying to tie events together is Sergeant Sturdy, and caught in the middle, as usual, is Victoria Winters.


Barnabas Joke of the Day: Barnabas always insists on biters in all his drinks.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Barnabas always insists on biters in all his drinks.

 

I don't get it.

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