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Dark Shadows

A cult classic supernatural soap opera that ran from 1966-1971.

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One of the best television programs to come out of the 1960's

  • Mar 17, 2010
Rating:
+5

One of the best television programs to come out of the 1960's, the brainchild of Dan Curtis was a revolutionary break from what daytime television was and changed the way the soap opera was considered!  It focused around the mysterious, wealthy Collins family.   A family that housed many dark secrets.  An innocent young lady named Victoria Winters arrived to be a governess for a spoiled brat rich kid named David Collins.

His Aunt, Elizabeth is the patriarch of the family and she has her own secrets, forbidding Victoria to enter the Collinwood (the name of the family mansion) basement.  The audience seems to suspect that Elizabeth may have murdered her husband and buried him in the basement and that Victoria may be Elizabeth's illegitimate child.  As the show moved along we have David playing with his father's (Roger) brakes, which almost kills him.  Roger has his own issues and has been blackmailing Burke Devlin.

Curtis was ready to dump the show because at the beginning the ratings were not too good.  He decided to add a ghost to the story (what's and old mansion without a ghost?).  This immediately caused the ratings to go up.  Then Curtis came up with one of the most inovative ideas to daytime tv and that was to introduce a vampire to the plot.  The vampire arrives mysteriously and bears an amazing resemblence to one of the Collins' ancestors as well as the same eerie name of Barnabas Collins. 

This stroke of genious shot up the ratings and with the later introduction of Quentin Collins the show became number one and not only had older people watching but many school kids would rush home from classes everyday so they could follow the show.  The show later became the first tv show to reach the big screen with the movie House of Dark Shadows followed by Night of Dark Shadows. 

In 1991 there was a revival series launched with Ben Cross as Barnabas with a good supporting cast: Jeanne Simmons, Roy Thinnes, and a then unknown Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  This show premiered when the Iraq war started and was constantly pre-empted and its Friday night timeslot was less than ideal.    Needless to say it was cancelled after a half season even though mobs of fans (including yours truly) protested outside of NBC Headquarters in New York and LA.

All told, along with Star Trek, Dark Shadows went on to change what was expected of television and spawned legions of fans and fan conventions many years after the show was cancelled.  Today, Johnny Depp owns the Dark Shadows franchise and it is expected that he will launch a new film with himself as Barnabas Collins soon!

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August 19, 2010
Michael, great review, so tell me, is the series available on DVD?
August 19, 2010
Yes, but unfortunately the DVD sets are many and quite expensive. I'm still hoping that they'll release a set featuring multiple seasons altogether for a lower price. I love this series dearly, but not enough to spend over 30 per set when there are over 25 DVD sets. I don't have that kind of money lying around.
August 19, 2010
You might be able to take them out of your library. Note: There have been several iterations of the DVDs issued. Some of these iterations may be cheaper than others. Through Amazon you may be able to get a good discount on used DVDs. I have bought several DVDs this way and they play just as good as new ones.
August 23, 2010
Yeah, there's quite an epic collection here.
 
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More Dark Shadows reviews
review by . May 22, 2009
One of the best television programs to come out of the 1960's, the brainchild of Dan Curtis was a revolutionary break from what daytime television was and changed the way the soap opera was considered!  It focused around the mysterious, wealthy Collins family.   A family that housed many dark secrets.  An innocent young lady named Victoria Winters arrived to be a governess for a spoiled brat rich kid named David Collins.      His Aunt, Elizabeth is the patriarch …
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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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About this tv show

Wiki

When a modern-day groundskeeper opens the Collins family crypt during a treasure hunt, Barnabas Collins, the 200-year-old family vampire, emerges to begin feeding on the living again. This short-lived series features high-end special effects and a love triangle between the woman who is a lookalike for Barnabas' lost love and the woman who is trying to cure him of his "problem." Show History:"Dark Shadows" was a revival of the successful ABC daytime drama that ran from 1966 to 1971.
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Details

Premiere Date: January 13, 1991
Description: Dark Shadows was a gothic melodrama that centered around the people and events of the Collinwood Mansion.
Genre: Soap Opera
Studio: Dan Curtis Productions
Original Air Date: June 27, 1966 - April 2, 1971
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