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Dark Shadows : The Original TV Series (The Barnabas Collins Episodes) [DVD]

3.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jonathan Frid, Alexandra Isles, Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, Nancy Barrett
  • Directors: Lela Swift
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Metrodome Distribution
  • DVD Release Date: 30 April 2012
  • Run Time: 428 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0077NF7AQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,588 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

An introduction to the classic gothic horror TV series which ran for five seasons and more than 1,200 episodes.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The entire series of Dark Shadows has been available in the US for some time now, with a lavish complete series box set of all 1200+ episodes released this year. Of course due to the Tim Burton movie interest in the original show is high enough for Metrodome to release this budget set in Britain.

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.
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Format: DVD
Plenty of good reviews here of the series which helped me decide to purchase. Yes, the acting is sometimes unnerving but often excrutiating, it's done low budget soap style in single takes (great drinking game spotting fluffed lines), and the black&whiteness of it is a creepy atmospheric bonus. It's a bit slow, but they feed you plot increments each episode like a good soap should, and characters have a history and often a secret. Unfortunately, though, this is only the introduction to Barnabus. His mystery is paper-thin from the start, and you don't get to know him well beyond his leanings towards young women. Just as things seem to come to a head, and you feel the buildup was worth it, you realise this 3-disc set has only 2 discs (20 episodes) of Dark Shadows. This, then, is taster only, and all talk of ghosts and ghouls is by reviewers who've watched well beyond these episodes.
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Format: DVD
This first ever UK DVD release of the original TV series has proved to be somewhat contentious. Discs one and two each contain 10 complete episodes - actually the first 20 featuring Barnabas Collins, played by the late Jonathan Frid. The episodes are preceded by a summary of the story so far. Disc three contains 3 hours worth of featurettes, interviews and clips from the series.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very simple taster for the epic full Dark Shadows series, released in the UK to help promote the Johnny Depp spoof version released in 2012. As a massive fan of vintage TV shows and vintage horror films, all I can say is that I was sufficiently pulled into the creepy world of Collinsport and the house of Collinswood by this DVD to go the whole hog... I picked up the complete series set on a Black Friday import a while ago and am now in the early-100s in terms of episodes, long before the events seen on these discs, but boy! do I have a lot to look forward too!

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.
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