You've likely heard adults of a certain age nostalgically talking about rushing home every day from school in the 1960s/70s to watch Dark Shadows. I was one of them. If the timing was perfect, I could rush in from the bus stop and turn on the TV in the den just in time to hear the creepy opening theramin strains of the show's iconic intro
It was campy and soapy AF, the sets moved, the boom mics were often caught in the shots, and actors frequently murdered their lines. Much scenery was chewed. The plots were over-the-top, and like many shows of its ilk, things got sillier, weirder, and more incomprehensible as the series plodded along. In short, it was perfection.
This piece from SyFy Wire outlines twelve of the awesomely goofy Dark Shadows storylines:
Victoria Winters stirs the Collinwood pot
Episode 1 – 127, June 27, 1966 – December 20, 1966
Victoria Winters (Alexandre Moltke) arrives via train at the small coastal fishing town of Collinsport, Maine. With an agenda to find answers about her mysterious past as an orphan, she accepted a position with the town's eponymous Collins family to live in their immense estate called Collinwood as governess to young David Collins. The Collins family consists of the aristocratic widower Roger Collins (Louis Edmonds), his young son David (David Henesy), the family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Joan Bennett) and her young adult daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Nancy Barrett).
While, in soap opera fashion, Victoria's origin endeavor ultimately leads to a dead end, she finds herself in the middle of family drama with the concurrent arrival of a mysterious man named Burke Devlin (Mitchell Ryan), who dates her while carrying out vengeful machinations against the Collins family, notably Roger. Additionally, during Victoria's awkward attempts to bond with her young charge, David, she is introduced to the benevolent spirit of Josette Collins, who aids her after being kidnapped by murderous caretaker Matthew Morgan (Thayer David).
Stop! Or my mom will shoot… flames
Episode 123 – 192, December 14, 1966 – March 21, 1967
Fortune seemingly smiled upon little David Collins when his mother Laura (Diana Millay) – missing for 10 years – shows up in Collinsport, looking to reconnect with the spirit-stalking scamp. However, the circumstances behind her return seem more than a bit fishy, especially when Victoria finds a 200-year-old painting in a crypt belonging to one "Laura Murdock Stockbridge" bearing an uncanny resemblance to David's resurfaced mama. Additionally, local artist Sam Evans (David Ford) becomes involuntarily compelled to craft a painting with Laura and David being engulfed in flames.
Well, it turns out that Laura is not just David's mother, but a powerful and immortal phoenix who – like the mythical fire bird – burns up at a certain point in time, only to be reborn from her ashes. However, Laura's intent for this life cycle is to burn up with David under the belief that they will both be reborn! Thus, it's up to Victoria to stop that insane instance of maternal immolation.
1795: Wicked witchcraft
Episode 365 – 466, November 17, 1967 – April 8, 1968
A séance with the Collins family reaching out to the ghost of young Sarah sends Victoria back in time to the year 1795, swapping her with the Collins's would-be governess of that era. There, Victoria meets the Collins clan of 1795, who live in the old family estate and sport familiar faces, notably with a young, non-vampire Barnabas.
Things get chaotic when Barnabas's lovely fiancée, Josette DuPres (Kathryn Leigh Scott), arrives from Martinique with her servant, Angelique (Lara Parker). Victoria soon discovers that sudden illnesses and a tragic rift between Barnabas and his uncle, Jeremiah (Anthony George), over Josette are tied to Angelique, who is really a witch and Barnabas's scorned former fling. Angelique's vindictive supernatural scheme inflicts Barnabas with the vampire curse, causing him to leave several victims, reluctantly helped by his good-hearted loyal servant, Ben Stokes (Thayer David). The bloodlust eventually costs Barnabas his love, Josette, inciting her suicidal leap from Widows' Hill. Eventually, Barnabas's bloodshed would be stopped by his father, Joshua (Louis Edmonds), who chains him inside his coffin to hide the family's shame.
Meanwhile, Victoria's knowledge of future events peg her as the witch, and she's put on trial. Oddly, she still finds romantic solace in the ordeal with her lawyer, Peter Bradford (Roger Davis). While Victoria eventually gets back to the present, her time-displaced relationship with Peter later leads to her exit from the series.
Read the rest here.
Image: Promotional photo