Friday, July 27, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: July 27


Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 1072

Barnabas and Julia make reintroductions to the family and consult Stokes about the impending doom. Meanwhile, Carolyn feels a ghostly presence, David has disturbing dreams, and a dress appears to Hallie.

We’ve had transitions within transitions within transitions. The Leviathans were a problem external to the Collinses, but they whisked Barnabas back to 1970 where we just had to get them out of the way. Since they don’t really result from anything done by a Collins (although Paul’s deal in the 40’s didn’t hurt), they are more of a means of time transport than a story development with a sense of meaning, with roots to the past for our characters. At least Parallel Time comes from a room at Collinwood, but what does it really do for the characters? It gives them a place not to be (or not to be at liberty) so they can star in HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS. But beyond that, not much. However… it gets Barnabas and Julia to 1995, and that gets what I call Ragnarok going. But even 1995 is a transition to that. And the first episode back in the present has so little interaction with our prime timeline family that it feels like, again, the last and smallest transitions in a sea of them. If you count the Leviathans as a long non-sequitur to the Story of the Collinses, then we haven’t had a non-transitional, core mythos installment since 884 on October 27 of the prior year. That’s the episode where Trask finally buys it in 1897 and Lady Hampshire basically trips and falls into 1795.

So the show takes nine months to get back around to being about the Collinses… in a way that really comes from the family, itself. With introductions (Hallie) and re-introductions being made, it feels like a season premier. Appropriate, since it’s only a month away from Labor Day, which at this time was the traditional beginning of the new TV season. 1072 brings the core cast into the entropic dread that Barnabas discovered, and with new fashion choices, manly new intonations (David Henesy is doing his best Barry White), and two, distinct tonal shifts, it’s a new show with a clearly defined sense of direction. (For now.)

What are the shifts? Even for DARK SHADOWS, this is dark. In past storylines, we had a sense of potential doom, and the mysteries were about what was going to happen and what was behind it. In this case, we know what’s going to happen. The question is if it can be stopped. Once Future Carolyn’s list begins getting ticked off, the question is answered. So, a dark, truly Gothic fatalism hangs over the events. With that, we have tighter episodes. At least, episodes with a more singular focus. In 1897, we had three or four stories going at once. Here, just one, ultimate DARK SHADOWS story. If you like it, you’re in luck. If you don’t, you may be like most people. I’m glad I gave it a second chance.

This episode hit the airwaves Aug. 4, 1970.

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