Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dark Shadows earliest episodes arrive on Amazon Prime

In 1966, DARK SHADOWS didn't need vampires, witches and werewolves to be disturbing. The show got by just fine with Roger Collins (a serial sex offender), son David (a puppy killing sociopath), niece Carolyn (proud owner of an Elektra complex), and sister Elizabeth (who was almost certainly a murderer). Sure, the occasional ghost popped in to keep things spiritually ambiguous, but there was more than enough menace to go around.

Which is why it's so surprising to me that many fans of the series have never seen these early episodes. If you started watching at episode 210 (the traditional starting point for the series since it first entered syndication back in the 1970s) you really have no idea who many of these characters really are. By the end of 1967, for example, Roger had become a stern-yet-lovable authority figure at Collinwood. A year earlier, though, he was trying to force his way into Victoria Winters' bedroom in the middle of the night. He was such a rotten creep that the writers' originally planned to bump him off at the climax of the first story arc ... but they discovered that actor Louis Edmonds was just too good of a commodity to waste.

If you haven't seen them, good news! Amazon has added 69 episodes from the first year, slugged as "Dark Shadows: The Beginning," to its Prime streaming service. The downside is that it's missing a sizable chunk of episodes in its Prime catalog. The first 35 episodes (which feature some of the best episodes in the entire series, and that's not just according to me) are streaming as "Season One," while are episodes 71-105 in "Season Three." That creates a pretty big speed bump in the form of "Season Two," which you have to pay for.

Still, the first block of episodes should be enough to help you decide if you're interested in that first Barnabas-free year of DARK SHADOWS. You can jump straight to Amazon's listing for "Dark Shadows: The Beginning" by clicking HERE.

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