Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dark Shadows

Julia's not the only one who's been MIA. Since disappearing into my own work vortex, I've been relaxing by Netflixing "Dark Shadows," a soap opera that ran from 1966-1971 and followed the travails of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine. The main character of the show is the 20o year old vampire, Barnabus Collins, who is freed from his imprisonment in the Collins mausoleum to... do what exactly? Take his revenge? Atone for his sins? Live a life of luxury and ease while smarmily uttering thinly-veiled hints about his true nature? I haven't quite figured it out. It was wildly popular while it was on and was known for focusing on supernatural characters and events in a Gothic style – groundbreaking stuff back then.

Aside from the general cheesiness you get with any soap are the state of the art (of 1966) special effects - which were also groundbreaking at the time. Just like all those sci-fi shows on TV now can trace roots back to Star Trek, all of the supernatural ones ("Supernatural" comes to mind of course, as well as my personal favorite, "Buffy") can be traced back to "Dark Shadows" (although the precursor to both shows was "The Twilight Zone" which really can't be beat for the range and sophistication of the stories).

One of the most reliably enjoyable features of every episode is the terribly written prologue. Here's just a taste:

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