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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DARK SHADOWS AUDIO SEASON TWO – “Kingdom of the Dead”

Big Finish produces both “dramatic readings” as well as “full cast audio dramas,” the latter released in four disc “seasons.” The four episodes of season one, although intertwined, were more or less standalone stories, whereas the four episodes of season two are four parts of a single season-long story. Because, like many television series, Dark Shadows audio season one ended on a cliffhanger, it is necessary to spoil certain aspects of the last episode of that season before moving on to season two.

[SPOILERS for “The Rage Beneath”] The Lorelei, an 18th century ghost ship whose captain, Oswald Gravenor, has a grudge against the Collins family, sails into Collinsport harbor. Lured onto the ship by a possessed Maggie Evans to retrieve Barnabas’ stolen coffin, Barnabas and Quentin are caught aboard and the ship burns in an unearthly green flame and sinks. Both men are missing and presumed dead. [END SPOILERS]

As “Kingdom of the Dead” opens, Barnabas and Quentin are trapped in the Underworld by a mysterious jailor named Seraph (played by David Warner). Angelique has the power to free only one of them, and she chooses Barnabas, leaving Quentin to make a mysterious bargain with Seraph for his freedom. Although the decision to leave Quentin to literally burn in hell was Angelique’s, that action sets the two Collins men against one another. Quentin kicks Barnabas and Angelique out of Collinwood to live at the Old House as sides are chosen and battle lines are drawn.

As part of the deal he made with Quentin, Seraph is able to manifest himself in Collinsport where he passes himself off as Maggie’s Uncle Charles. Maggie herself doesn’t believe him, though, because her father Sam didn’t have a brother. Through her interaction with Seraph, Maggie not only learns Barnabas’ secrets (both of them) for the first time ever, but also regains her long-suppressed memories of the time Barnabas kidnapped and brainwashed her. At odds with both Seraph and Barnabas, Maggie flees to the Windcliff Institute (formerly “Asylum”) with the help of the long-suffering Willie.

Although Willie is still under the thrall of Barnabas, the script makes quite clear that the two of them can never be friends, and Willie is able to thwart Barnabas’ will under certain circumstances, such as where Maggie is concerned. At Windcliff, Maggie is put under the protection of the institute’s new director, Dr. Rankin (Lysette Anthony) a creature who feeds on fear and has her own evil agenda. Meanwhile, Seraph appears to Reverend Hartswood (Jerry Lacy), the reincarnation of Reverend Trask, as an angel.

Working incognito at Windcliff is none other than David Collins (Alec Newman), now a doctor. New to the cast are Ed and Susan Griffin (Jamison Selby and Ursula Burton), new owners of the Blue Whale. Camps have broken down as follows: Barnabas and Angelique; Quentin and David; Maggie and Willie; Seraph and Trask; all in conflict against each other. Susan, under the control of Seraph, is attacked by Barnabas and drawn into Quentin’s camp.

Whereas season one featured Barnabas and Quentin on the same side with Angelique as an uneasy ally, season two puts the danger back in Dark Shadows with multiple threats and conflicts. Big Finish’s “dramatic readings” are mostly pretty good, the audio equivalent of short stories, but the “full cast audio dramas” are more akin to fully developed novels, and as much as I liked season one, season two is better.
David Warner! Lysette Anthony (Hah!)! Jerry Lacy!
I know!

Jamison Selby (yes, he's David Selby's son, and yes, he's named after Quentin's son on the show) and Ursula Burton (I Googled her) are both quite good, too.
Although I am well acquainted with Dark Shadows episodes on VHS, I have only begun the process of familiarizing myself with episodes on DVD. At five episodes per tape, it’s relatively easy to recommend particular episodes, but at 35-40 episodes per DVD set, the task becomes somewhat more difficult. Not only do the main story arcs overlap each other, they also overlap from set to set. I have come to the conclusion that, for the show’s first year and a half or so, it got better and better as more and more supernatural elements were introduced into the soap opera plot. Story elements written for the show’s bible by Art Wallace were developed throughout this period, some of them delayed by the phoenix storyline and the vampire storyline, the last of them petering out circa episode #276. Here is a brief recap of the show’s first year on DVD.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 1: The introduction of Victoria Winters. The 35 episodes in this set detail Victoria’s first night and first two days at Collinwood. (As a matter of fact, her second full day runs for two more episodes on Vol. 2.) The main thrust of these episodes is who sabotaged Roger’s car.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 2: Bill Malloy is found murdered in episode #51. With the show in danger of cancellation, Dan Curtis decides to pull out all the stops and introduces the ghost of Josette in episode #70 (the last in this set), and the ratings go up.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 3: With the supernatural elements now in place, the mystery surrounding the murder of Bill Malloy is stirred in with the return of Burke Devlin and Vicki’s search for her past.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 4: Vicki is kidnapped and Laura Collins (Roger’s wife, David’s mother, Burke’s old girlfriend) returns.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 5: The supernatural elements are geared up as psychic investigator Dr. Peter Guthrie is called in to look into Laura Collins’ past and her possible connection with the supernatural legend of the Phoenix. The first séance is held at Collinwood.

THE BEGINNING: VOLUME 6: The Phoenix story arc ends and the blackmail of Elizabeth arc begins.

DARK SHADOWS COLLECTION: VOLUME 1: The introduction of the vampire Barnabas Collins.

You will notice that the volume numbers are reset to “1” with the debut of the show’s most popular character. Originally, the vampire story was to have been a single arc ending with Barnabas being put to his final rest, but the ratings shot so high that Dan Curtis, no fool he, transformed Barnabas Collins into the show’s central character. That is all well and good, but the vampire story is so closely intertwined with the blackmail plot, one must really go back to the introduction of Jason McGuire. Without Willie Loomis to release him from the coffin there can be no Barnabas, and with Jason to bring him into Collisport, there can be no Willie. Therefore, to anyone interested in watching the vampire story from the beginning, I would suggest starting with episode #195.
It's worth it. Dennis Patrick steals every scene as Jason. He's clearly having a ball.
According to “New Comics for September 1,” the first volume of the Complete Gold Key Dark Shadows Collection ships tomorrow!

Doctor Hmmm? said:
The first volume collection the Gold Key comics is due out any week now ...

Boy, I'm on the fence about this one. I feel a lot better about buying reprints of old bad comics when they're in paperback (like the Checker collections of Gold Key's Star Trek).

I know what you mean, Darin, but these are so bad they’re good… MST3K bad.

Gold Key issued 35 Dark Shadows comic books between 1968 and 1976. The first seven had photo covers; George Wilson painted and drew the covers of #8-35. Joe Certa drew the interiors, but the characters bear little resemblance to the actors who played them on television. The only characters from the TV series were Barnabas Collins, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Roger Collins, Dr. Julia Hoffmann, Quentin Collins, Professor Stokes, Angelique, Willie Loomis and Reverend Trask. Every issue was edited by Gold Key’s managing editor Wallace Green, and the uncredited writers include Denise Van Lear, Donald J. Arneson and Arnold Drake.
Dark Shadows #165, Aired 3/24/67

1)OK, who's Mr. Smooth in the coffee shop?

2)Why was Elizabeth in the hospital? How did they finally pry her out of that house?

3)Burke took David fishing? Have Burke and Roger settled their differences? Or is Roger secretly hoping Burke will "Fredo" the little freak?

4)"Jason!" Voorhees?

It occurs to me that you could be a"regular" on this show, and still have weeks off at a stretch.
Dark Shadows, Aired 3/27/67

1)This actor does "creepy grin" real well.

2)"Eighteen years ago"? Hmmm...

3)"He was a friend of Paul's."

4)"Everything's going beautifully."

Obviously, this guy either has something on Elizabeth, or has convinced her that he has something on her.
Dark Shadows #165

#195, actually (for those of you following along at home).

OK, who's Mr. Smooth in the coffee shop?

This is actually the second appearance of Jason McGuire. As the dialogue indicates, he met Maggie the night before (episode #193) in the Blue Whale, but #195 is a better starting point because #193-194 are concerned primarily with tying up loose ends of the previous storyline. The one important thing from those episodes you need to know (although it will be recapped) is that an art dealer came to Sam Evan’s house interested in his painting style of ten years ago, but he sold a number of those painting to… Roger Collins.

A number of new characters are introduced via the Collinsport Inn (and/or the Blue Whale) in the early months of the show: Vicki Winters, Burke Devlin, Laura Collins (Roger’s wife, david's mother from the previous story) and now Jason McGuire.

Why was Elizabeth in the hospital? How did they finally pry her out of that house?

That’s a loose end from the previous storyline. Without giving too much away, she was under a spell that rendered her comatose.

Have Burke and Roger settled their differences?

Not quite yet, but Burke’s vendetta against the Collins family will come to a head… soon.

It occurs to me that you could be a"regular" on this show, and still have weeks off at a stretch.

That’s true (unless you were Jonathan Frid). The ABC studio was in midtown Manhattan and many of the actors were doing live theatre as well. Dan Curtis and his writing staff would often “write around” the availability of their regular players.

"Eighteen years ago"? Hmmm...

Yes, everything’s connected.

Obviously, this guy either has something on Elizabeth, or has convinced her that he has something on her.

Obviously. But... no, nevermind.
Dark Shadows, aired 3/28/67
1)"It's hypocrisy time at Collinwood!" Isn't it always?

2)Is that a different actor playing Sam Evans?

3)"Blow the whistle on you"? What's that all about?

4)What's the deal with the paintings?

5)What's in...THE ROOM?
”It’s hypocrisy time at Collinwood!” Isn’t it always?

Pretty much.

"Blow the whistle on you"? What's that all about?

That would be telling.

What's the deal with the paintings?

That would be telling.

What's in...THE ROOM?

That would be telling.

You won’t have long to wait to find out the answers to questions one and two. Although the answer to the third question will be revealed eventually, they’re going to drag it out a while longer. You will remember the “basement room” has been a background element from the earliest episodes.

Is that a different actor playing Sam Evans?

I told you not to get too attached to the actor playing Sam Evans! Mark Allen played the role for several episodes between #5-22; David Ford played the role for several hundred episodes between #35-530. David Ford has a much better on-screen rapport with Kathryn Leigh Scott (who plays his daughter Maggie). David Ford wore a beard but Mark Allen didn’t. Evidently, Sam Evans grew one between episodes #22 and #35, but I always wished someone would have remarked, “Sam! That beard makes you look completely different!”

Actually, I have a fan-fic theory (two of them, really) as to why prominent characters keep changing their appearance and no one seems to notice. The earliest one deals with time travel subtly changing the present. A more recent twist deals a renegade Time Lord (not the Doctor) and forbidden experiments using stolen regeneration technology. You’ll see another such example of this shortly… very shortly.
People have used the "regeneration" theory to explain why Godzilla changes appearance and temperament every so often.

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