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Dark Shadows : The Original TV Series (The Barnabas Collins Episodes) [DVD]
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An introduction to the classic gothic horror TV series which ran for five seasons and more than 1,200 episodes.
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Top Customer Reviews
You might have already read about Dark Shadows' wonky sets, stiff acting, flubbed lines and so on and so on - it's the usual things that come out whenever the show is written about. However, read anything by a fan of the show or someone who likes it and you should also learn about the tremendous performances (Frid, Karlen et al), the imaginative and at the time unprecedented use of the supernatural in daytime television, and the wonderful atmosphere of the show. It's also unafraid to use literary inspirations for the plots, and go not just to the edge but gleefully over it.
Make no mistake, this is niche cult programming (not the 'cult' of Lost for example), and coming to it from a modern perspective the pacing (don't forget, it was one of many daytime soaps in America and is very talky, many episodes utilising only one plotline or small group of actors) takes some getting used to.
The thing is though, if you get into it and let the feel and ambition of it take over it is truly magnificent comfort fare, and the enthusiasm and creativity of the cast and crew carry it across its five year run. Dark Shadows was big enough at the time to inspire a Canadian attempt at the same type of thing (Strange Paradise, 1969-70) and two motion pictures. Since then conventions, novels, merchandise, a revival in 1991 (also out on DVD and worth checking out), 2004 (which never made it to air) and fan passion have kept it talked about and revisited.Read more ›
Barnabas was not part of the original concept of Dark Shadows, and was only added as an attempt to boost ratings. The character captured the imagination of the audience, and creator/producer Dan Curtis had to abandon his original plan to kill the vampire off. Jonathan Frid quickly became the star of the show, and the rest is history.
Dark Shadows was never shown in Britain (to the best of my knowledge), and the set serves as an excellent introduction for UK viewers who may have had the misfortune to see that Tim Burton rubbish, and want to sample the real thing.
I was always reading about Dark Shadows in sci-fi magazines throughout the 70s and was intrigued. It wasn't until the 90s when I found a very old VHS tape of the first movie spin-off, House Of Dark Shadows, that I was able to sample the Collinwood saga for myself, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Naturally, I was thrilled when this DVD came out, even though the packaging is somwehat sullied by the references to that Tim Burton horror. At last I could watch some of the series itself.
Ay, and there's the rub. After 20 episodes, I was completely hooked and then....no more! Left hanging, and desperately wanting to find out what happens to Barnabas and Maggie, and the rest of the characters.Read more ›
If you like old TV shows and you have the patience with an often slow pace and batty (pun not intended) plotting, the series is tremendous fun, be it Louis Edmonds' fabulous, sneering Uncle Roger, for whom no level of putdown is taboo, to his psychopathic nine year-old son David to a very solid performance by Alexandra Moltke as the sort-of lead, Victoria Winters. Overseeing the ensemble is the great 'Old Hollywood' actress Joan Bennett. The episodes were recorded 'as live' a week or so before broadcast with little rehearsal time and no time for retakes, hence some, at times hilarious line-fluffs and camera/set accidents.
Jonathan Frid, arriving in the episodes in this collection makes an impact akin to dropping a meteorite in a swimming pool. I'm not one to consider the earlier Dark Shadows episodes boring (with actors such as the later-famous Mitchell Ryan starring, that's impossible) but probably Barnabas's arrival was at a good time to shake up the show. Also it gives plenty of screen time to the lovely Kathryn Leigh Scott as the object of Barnabas's vampiric obsession.
So take this for what it is: an introduction to the series.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The books ran on and on with nothing much happening - and so does this dvd.Published 12 months ago by Will
I saw these first time round, which marks me out as a wrinkly. Amazing to see them again. Pity there are only 20 on the disc. 30 would have been better….Published 15 months ago by P.A. SHEPARD
Watched, hoping something would happen. It didn't. Stick to Johnny Depp, at least that was only an hour or so. Wooden acting and I felt as if I lost ten hours of my life. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Hughie Jones
it's a good TV series for Dark Shadows fans
and I would love to get this Dark Shadows DVD again
This is excellent, absolutely excellent, it is three disks two of which are the series episodes themselves, the second of which has an interview with the guy who acts Barnabas... Read morePublished on 24 Mar. 2014 by Lark
Watched the film first and thought it was great fun, so decided to buy the DVD for the family. Was not disappointed.Published on 6 Mar. 2014 by Splodger
I watched some episodes of this series when I was 8 years old (I'm now 54) and I was scared--such mysterious characters. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2014 by Williams Mark Thomas