4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Dark Shadows: The Revival - The Complete Series [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
The 1991 series is, at times, a very 1980s affair - big hair and shoulder pads, proving the '1980s era' we perceive of actually probably ran somewhere from around 1985-1993! I find myself liking the 60s/70s original show a lot better, for all its cheapness. The acting here is just a little too '1980s Dynasty,' for my tastes, and the direction is rather flat with synthesised incidental music that dates it terribly. Had the show been made a couple of years later as TV began to move into the era of The X-Files, Buffy, Angel and all the great high production values shows we now see in the US, I reckon it would have been much better. It's still campy fun, though. That said, there are technical issues which might well be hindering my enjoyment.
Unfortunately for this release, the episodes have been cropped from 4:3 to 16:9 (except for the opening titles, bizarrely!) so the information on the box saying it's 4:3 full frame is wrong. As it's also US format NTSC, trying to watch the zoomed episodes on a full HD TV makes for a murky experience. Worse still, a lot of the scenes were shot in the daytime and supposed to have a filter added to make them look like it's nighttime. Unfortunately, this release doesn't have the filter added, so you have the lunacy of a vampire standing in a foggy graveyard with wolves baying in bright California daylight!!
I like the ***idea*** of Dark Shadows as it has interesting characters and huge potential that no TV or film adaptation of the original has yet done justice to. A revival TV series made for a cable channel now could be awesome, especially if they remember that Barnabas Collins, the vampire, isn't the only fascinating character to turn up in the world of Dark Shadows.
I definitely recommend checking out the Dark Shadows 20-episode sample DVD 'Dark Shadows – the Barnabas Collins Episodes' and the film 'House of Dark Shadows' both of which cover the same storyline as the first four episodes of Dark Shadows: The Revival. I'm kind of leery of the recent Tim Burton film, but it's worth checking out after delving into some of the show's history first.