Monday, August 6, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Introduction

If you're reading this, chances are you have a serious problem.

Normal people don't visit blogs to read about a television show that's been off the air for four decades. For normal people, television is something to be consumed and forgotten, except for the occasional belch of nostalgia around the office watercooler. Life has a way of making prison bitches of us all, and before long we stop talking about the things we love and start talking about the things we used to love. Normal people know how to let things go, even when they don't want to. Clearly, none of us are capable of doing that.

And that's the reason I don't hang out with normal people. They're BORING.

Hell is boring people. Hell is standing on the deck of the Titanic as the band plays Hootie and the Blowfish covers. Hell is Michael Bay's entire cinematic catalog. Hell is apathy, predictability and the unwillingness to express your love for something or someone for fear you'll sound like a complete idiot, even though sounding like an idiot is entirely the fucking point.

Speaking of points, it's about time I presented mine: I'm going to watch all 1,225 episodes of DARK SHADOWS again. This time, I plan to write about it in a level of detail that will verge on pornographic. It will be an epic love letter to Collinwood.

There are a couple of motivating factors here*. First, I've consumed a lot of absinthe during my short time on this planet, and that kind of behavior will make anybody a little crazy.  Mostly, though, I just want an excuse to watch DARK SHADOWS again. A reader recently gave me the first two collections of DARK SHADOWS: THE BEGINNING, episodes I haven't seen in about 20 years. I know myself well enough to know one hit off that pipe will have me chasing the metaphorical dragon, so I might as well surrender to it. And what good is a binge if you don't make a spectacle of yourself?

But I've also been a little worried about the future of Dark Shadows fandom. I suspect another "new" DARK SHADOWS will surface on television in a few years, but there are no guarantees we'll ever see another incarnation of the show. While I've never been to a Dark Shadows Festival, this year's event sounded surprisingly small, especially when you consider the release of the DARK SHADOWS movie and the death of Jonathan Frid significantly raised the show's profile. Meanwhile, fans have carved out individual territories and proclaimed their turf as the "legitimate" homeland for Dark Shadows. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is simple compared to the kinds of rifts that have fragmented Dark Shadows fans. Sometimes I worry we're intentionally trying to kill the show so we won't have to share it with anybody else.

I can't guess what happens next for DARK SHADOWS but I'm not going to let the show slip away without a fight.

So, I thought I'd take The Collinsport Historical Society back to formula and revisit the original series, beginning with Episode 1. I have no idea how long this is going to take, and I have a feeling this feature is going to mutate into many different things before I reach the finish line. It's going to take a while, probably several years, and the challenge will be to keep it from becoming another online episode guide. There are already plenty of those available, and I'd like to create something special with this feature.

For now, I'm dubbing this project THE LEVIATHAN BOOK. Look for the first installment later today.

*With a tip of the hat to Patrick McCray and The Collinsport Foundation.

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