Friday, August 14, 2015

5 reasons to check out DARK SHADOWS: DELIVER US FROM EVIL

DELIVER US FROM EVIL, the latest DARK SHADOWS audiodrama from Big Finish, is set for release later this month is OUT NOW. As hard as it is to believe, we're already halfway through this year's series of stories, with only two more installments left in 2015.

And it's been an active year, too. Big Finish has essentially cleared the bleachers this year, bringing out everyone from Barnabas Collins to Burke Devlin (!) in 2015. What's been most interesting to me is the writers' insistence on pushing the series forward, even while exploring characters and relationships from the past. This has led to some clever, character-driven stories.

From a distance, the cast  for DELIVER US FROM EVIL might sound overly diplomatic. It's an oddity even among the oddities that are DARK SHADOWS audiodramas, but it promises to be one of the most interesting installments of the year. Here are five reason's you'll want to check it out:

Christopher Pennock
1: Christopher Pennock.
If you heard 2013's THE ENEMY WITHIN, you already know Pennock has been absolutely killing it for Big Finish. Back in 1970, Pennock was essentially cast to be DARK SHADOWS' next Tiger Beat badboy, but producers quickly discovered that the actor had too much fire to ever fit comfortably into the role of teen idol. Big Finish has been putting that dramatic tension to good use in recent years. Pennock has been delivering consistently great performances, with his last appearance (2013's THE ENEMY WITHIN) being one of the series' best. This guy has never heard the term "phoning it in."

2: It's the closest thing we'll ever get to a DARK SHADOWS-spinoff series.
Big Finish has quietly been developing a series of interlocking DARK SHADOWS storylines over the years. Most are pretty obvious: David Selby's solo appearances are part of their own narrative, as are the Cassandra Blair/Tony Petersen mysteries. DELIVER US FROM EVIL is part of a quasi-secret storyline that has been brewing since at least 2012's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF TRASK. It involves a version of "Cyrus Longworth" from the main timeband of DARK SHADOWS, Sabrina Jennings, werewolves and the Anti-Christ. The storyline has been seriously weird and seriously unpredictable. Think of it as a Satanic version of BENSON.

3: Continuity is a pain in the ass.
Wonderful things happen when writers aren't beholden to continuity. While you might not realize it, there are restrictions of what a writer can do with a character like Quentin Collins. Fans have expectations, and those expectations can sometimes be kind of ... boring. The goal of any good writer working on a property like DARK SHADOWS is to give fans just enough change to make things interesting, but not so much that you cheat them of the promised experience. No such rules apply for this version of Cyrus Longworth, who is a character created specifically for the audiodramas. The supporting players, at least as we know them from the original television series, also have a lot of room for development. This storyline is pretty much its own thing.

4: Stephanie Ellyne.
Stephanie was intended to appear once in the series, a late addition to the cast of THE LUCIFER GAMBIT. Big Finish has been opposed to the idea of replacing cast members from the original series (which is why characters like Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman make such infrequent appearances). But Stephanie turned a character with the potential for being obnoxious into an inspiring, heroic figure. But, if you've listened to any of the DARK SHADOWS audiodramas produced during the last year, you already know that.

5: I'm a raging narcissist.
If you paid attention to the credits of DELIVER US FROM EVIL, you might have noticed I make my first return to the audiodramas since my cameo in BLOODLUST. It was a lengthy contract negotiation, to say the least. I won't get into the details of the final arrangement, but let's just say a literal dump truck full of money was involved. (And by "money," I mean "licorice allsorts.") I was also promised a hefty cut for all merchandise featuring my character "Edgar McBride," which is amazing  news given the increasing demand of action figures based on the likenesses of fictional journalists. These things are going to be flying off the shelves, assuming they ever go into production. Look out, Optimus Prime!
Via: Big Finish

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