Sunday, January 25, 2015

DARK SHADOWS returning to the airwaves in 2015

The news broke last night that DARK SHADOWS reruns will begin airing on the new DECADES channel beginning in May. I was otherwise occupied last night and was among the last people to hear about this news.  Luckily, my friend Will McKinley has written an incredibly thorough piece at his website about when, where and how you can find the series, which is part of an array of nostalgia programming the comprises the DECADES line-up. You can read it HERE. In fact, I insist you read it.

It's probably for the best that the Collinsport Historical Society wasn't one of the sites to spearhead this news yesterday, because I've got mixed feelings about the announcement. I've got no love for nostalgia, and the roster of television shows set to air on DECADES looks ... boring. Many of the channels that champion nostalgia are just glorified flea markets of entertainment, buying up whatever programs they can get on the cheap. Turner Classic Movies skirts this problem by interpreting the word "classic" in their name as "good" instead of "old." I think The Sci-Fi Channel avoided this problem to a lesser degree in its early years by doing the same. While there are some legitimately great shows set to air on DECADES, I can't help but shrug at this announcement. I sincerely hope that the availability of DARK SHADOWS on television will ignite interest in the show, but broadcast television is a dying medium. And channels like DECADES ghettoize programming in a way that almost guarantees that they're only going to reach "pre-sold" audiences. I mean, LOVE AMERICAN STYLE? Who the hell wants to watch that? Comedy Central used to use that show as Sunday morning filler. It's one tiny rung higher than airing an infomercial.

What I'm trying to say is this: The people who are going to watch DARK SHADOWS on a channel like DECADES are going to be people who already have an emotional investment in the show. DECADES is probably counting on this, because younger viewers have hardly any interest in watching programmed television. I'm 43 years old and have watched exactly one television show during the last five years that aired during its regular time slot: The final episode of BREAKING BAD. And I was checked into a hotel room in Florida at the time, which left me with no other options.

If you were to talk to someone half my age, there's a better-than-good chance they'd tell you a similar story. More to the point, they've grown up in an age where they can watch television wherever and whenever they want, so the idea of having to schedule viewing is an alien concept to them. If you're among the people who are going to actually watch DARK SHADOWS on DECADES, more power to you. Having a daily reminder on television that DARK SHADOWS is something other than the name of a box office dud attached to Johnny Depp's name is a good thing. As long as the DVDs of the show remain available to audiences, though, it's hardly a game changer.

- Wallace McBride


Unknown said...

I hope this doesn't mean that Hulu will stop streaming the show.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't rule that out. I've also noticed the complete DVD series returned to $350 on January 1st on Amazon and hasn't budged since.

Unknown said...

I love TV channels with lineups of TV shows. So I hope network TV doesn't totally die. Some of us want to veg out int front of it and let somebody else pick the shows. Sometimes it takes them airing something I wouldn't have selected to make me remember what a good show something was.

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