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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Yep... I meant to mention that when Roger comes home, he basically wrings exposition out of Vicki in the most irritated manner possible! And then Carolyn comes in to add a little fine detail once Vicki establishes the broad strokes.

So... Willie encounters Sarah in the woods and she says she's out looking for David. "Sometimes I almost know where he is," she says, "but then I’m not sure." What? She led him to the secret room and then left him there. How can she not know where he is? I used to think there was something about her manifestation that keeps her from quite realizing she's a ghost, as if she's in a state a denial or something. (This interpretation aligns with my theory about the Caretaker.) But then another idea occurred to me: what if she wants him to starve to death so she'll have a little ghost playmate. That would be creepy.

On another note, when Roger and Joe are standing in from of the bluescreen at the highest spot around, Joe asks, "What's that down there?" and Roger tells him it's Eagle Hill Cemetery. I'm not sure why Joe, a local lad, wouldn't know that, but that's not my question. My question is, why isn't Eagle Hill Cemetery on a hill? Watch, too, as the series goes on, the cemetery will move closer and closer to Collinwood until it's practically in their backyard. 

I think it's already gotten closer -- the first time we saw it, it was a drive away -- now David was able to walk there. And yeah... I guess it could be on another, lower hill, but still.

As for Sarah, I like the idea of her wanting a ghost playmate. Brrr...

I've seen up through episode 318 now (a return to black and white! It looks great!).

David's been found -- Sarah helps him escape, then Barnabas sees him in the graveyard, and then Burke stops him from absconding with him himself. Barnabas (with Julia) goes back to the secret room, and finds David's busted pocketknife. 

Meanwhile, Sam and Dr. Woodard visit the Collins mausoleum, but don't find the secret room. But they do see the memorial for Sarah Collins, which is the last thing Woodard needs to decide that Sarah is a ghost. 

Woodard questions David about Sarah and the mausoleum, but doesn't get too far because Julia whisks David away. Then she runs back to the Old House to stop Barnabas from killing David... but not before Dr. Woodard tells her he's removing Maggie Evans from her care.

And finally, as Barnabas prepares to storm out and kill David, he's stopped -- as Sarah makes her presence known with mysterious winds and a shaking chandelier (and possibly the notes of London Bridge on a recorder -- it's not clear whether Barnabas can hear that, or just the audience).

One thing that's been bugging me -- I really wish someone on the sound crew created a stone-on-stone sound effect for the secret door in the mausoleum. It sounds nothing like a large stone door would sound, and it always pulls me out of the action. 

We're an episode behind you.

The Caretaker says he's worked at the cemetery for 35 years. 35 years since he died, or for 35 years before he died? I still think he's an addled ghost, especially in light of Sarah's recent behavior. But in either case, though (living or dead), how does he know about the portrait hanging in the Collinwood foyer? Or the history of Barnabas, who wasn't even buried there (as far as anyone knew)? I don't really see him as travelling in the same social circles as "the Collinses of Collinsport." 

I figure the mausoleum (which Dr. Woodard consistently pronounces "mauso-LAY-um") must be built into the side of a hill. Otherwise, it would be like the TARDIS.

I've decided to accept that the light in woods at night, in the cemetery, in the mausoleum, even inside a coffin, is for the audience's benefit. there was a scene in which the Caretaker is clearly standing right in front of Sam & Dave, yet they can't see him, not until one of them shines a flashlight in his face. And when they do, the flashlight isn't even turned on! It's like when a character walks in from a thunderstorm bone dry, and even goes through the motion of shaking off his or her raincoat. 

Caught up now. 

This is the fourth consecutive episode written by Gordon Russell, who joined Ron Sproat and Malcolm Marmorstein on the writing staff a month ago. Two weeks later, Marmorstein was fired, so now it’s just Russell and Sproat.

I wonder about the caretaker -- the one thing that doesn't square with him being a ghost of some sort is that he said he was going home for the night. That seems really out of character for him.

I've seen episode 319 now -- Another girl is attacked (no one we know, apparently), and Doc Goodard hatches a plan to make it sound like Maggie's getting her memory back in order to trap the killer, and eventually Sam goes along with it... with the Sherriff's refinement that Sam plays it like he's hammered, and he's trying to keep Sam from spilling the beans.* (I was wondering if we'd just dropped Sam's troubled relationship with The Sauce, but here it is again.) 

*Maggie does make some coffee in this episode.

Willie is at the Blue Whale to hear this, and buys it hook, line, and sinker. He brings the news to Barnabas, who's not happy.

"ANOTHER GIRL ATTACKED" screams the headline on The Collinsport Star

I'm sure it was ClarkKent_DC who pointed out how fake all TV newspapers look, and this is no exception.

The normally silent bartender was more verbose in this episode than in all his other episodes put together. When he was speaking with his back to the camera, I didn't even recognize his voice. His name is usually given as "Bob" but sometimes "Andy" or "Pudge." Most sources list his name as "Bob Rooney" and I have come to accept that. But an online source I read yesterday pointed out (and I believe it) that the surname came from 219 when Sam, pretending to be drunk, refers to the bartender as "Bob-a-roonie." (He also orders a "martoonie.") I think "Bob Rooney" came from a misunderstanding of "Bob-a-roonie."

Similarly, there was an episode of Lost in Space in which Dr. Smith was referred to as a "fifth columnist." I have an episode guide which says the episode refers to him as the "fifth colonist" (which doesn't make a licj of sense because there were seven aboard and he was a stowaway

"Willie is at the Blue Whale to hear this, and buys it hook, line, and sinker."

He does, but where was it Sam and sheriff Patterson were supposed to be coming from? Sam was already "plastered" when they got to the Blue Whale, and Patterson entered with him. Where they supposed to have been out bar-hopping? 

My thought on where Sam was supposed to be before the sheriff brought him to the Whale -- outside, wandering around town, drunk on his own whiskey. Then he gets belligerent with the sheriff, and convinces him to bring him to the Blue Whale instead of home right away. It isn't a great story, but it's the best one I can come up with. 

Yeah, I guess. Still, what passes for traditional "policework" in Collinsport is really quite remarkable. Plans of action are just as likely to be proposed by the town doctor as the town sheriff. 

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