"I'm going to review the content of Collection 2 instead of the series like the other reviewers here. It should be mentioned that the 8 weeks of episodes on collection 2 are a big improvement over collection 1 which was good, but a little slow at times. By these episodes, the writers seemed to have figured out what to do with Barnabas and a few old stale plot lines are tossed to the curb. I think that new fans who bought collection 1 but were on the fence about whether to check out collection 2 or not should go ahead and give it a try. I'm convinced the improved pacing of these episodes will make you a fan!"
Barnabas becomes more than a villain, and we meet Sarah and
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 09/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DARK SHADOWS has become a classic for being the first soap opera to revolve around supernatural horror, and to do so while keeping its characters believable and its situations plausible.
As this installment begins, DS's most famous character. the 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins, is passing himself off as a cousin from England, while secretly holding waitress Maggie Evans prisoner. Maggie escapes, in a nearly catatonic state, with the help of a mysterious little girl named Sarah, who appears to her and several others. Maggie is sent to Windcliff, a sanitarium run by Dr. Julia Hoffman, who finds Maggie's case especially fascinating.
Back at Collinwood, Jason McGuire is blackmailing Elizabeth Stoddard into marrying him. In protest, Elizabeth's daughter Carolyn threatens to marry a hippie biker named Buzz. At the pivotal moment, Elizabeth reveals the secret she and Jason have been keeping between them. But there's a REAL secret Jason has been keeping from Elizabeth. Jason ultimately has a run-in with Barnabas.
Barnabas invites the family to a dinner party to celebrate his restoration of the Old House. His goal is to attract Victoria, but his plan backfires when the family decides to hold a seance.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hoffman comes to stay at Collinwood, posing as a historian, to investigate her private suspicions about Maggie's case. She discovers exactly what Barnabas is and confronts him -- which is where set 2 ends.
This installment continues to expand Barnabas's character beyond simple villain. I was particularly struck by Barnabas's speech in episode #258 about how he once begged for mercy from those who could have shown it to him, but was shown none -- one of those moments that's especially powerful because of Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid's delivery. We get another look at Barnabas's tortured past when Victoria Winters reenacts Josette death during the seance -- which Barnabas tries to percent. And Barnabas has a different type of interest in Victoria than he did in Maggie. He wanted to own and control Maggie -- to trash her identity and replace it with that of Josette. But he seems to genuinely care for Victoria. Yes he wants Victoria to assume the persona of Josette, but WILLINGLY because she finds that persona attractive. Barnabas also has genuine feelings of love and affection for his little sister, Sarah -- no doubt, the same Sarah who helps Maggie escape -- and to be genuinely upset over her having died in childhood. All in all, Barnabas has become too interesting a character at this point to be dispatched with a hammer and stake, as was the original plan.
Another departure from the original plan is the female Dr. Julia Hoffman, who, as I read in the DARK SHADOWS COMPANION, owes her gender to a typo. The character was originally supposed to be a male doctor named Julian Hoffman -- Julius, according to the DARK SHADOWS ALMANAC -- but somebody mistyped it as Julia. Dan Curtis saw it and said "Why not?" At the end of episode #290, it becomes apparent that she has something in mind other than killing Barnabas -- and you'll have to buy set 3 to find out what.
Returning to Sarah, I'm afraid I don't think Sharon Smyth has the right stuff to pull it off. Sarah is a very significant character, who will ultimately help persuade Barnabas to change his ways, but Smyth's performance, while remarkably free of flubbed lines, is flat, wooden, and emotionless.
A chaaracter I think we could have just done without is Buzz, Carolyn's hippie biker boyfriend. In the first place, he's an outright caricature, who stands out like a sore thumb among all the fully developed, three-dimensional characters who make DS so distinctive. In the second place, he seems like an attempt to make the show "relevant" to the `60s, during which this portion of the show was being made. One often-cited virtue of DS is that it remained immune to the ideology of that era, but this seems to be a lapse.
However, DS was forced to make a technical concession to current events in episode #251. As explained in the DARK SHADOWS ALMANAC, some parts of the country lost a week of DS to a week of O.N.O. hearings on the Vietnam war. To bring viewers up to speed, ABC provided a summary of the preempted episodes as part of episode #251, but the summary was long enough that it necessitated chopping 45 seconds from the beginning of the first act.
Episode #275 is noteworthy for several reasons. First, if you were getting SICK of hearing, "My name is Victoria Winters," at the beginning of every episode, this is where it stops. Nancy Barrett does the opening for this one, without any "My name is - " involved, and the introductions for all subsequent episodes follow this new pattern. Second, this is either THE last, or one of the last, episodes to feature a filmed exterior sequence that includes one of the character -- in this case, Carolyn on the beach. Third, herein is the final convergence of the two plots,currently in progress, with the "Jason blackmailing Liz" story coming to a very final end. Finally, the confrontation between Jason and Willie is another occasion on which the avoidance of the word "vampire" is particularly obvious. Note how Willie talks all around it when he tries to warn Jason about Barnabas.
You may notice that episode #289 has the grainy sound of a kinescope copy, but a very clear video picture. As explained in the DARK SHADOWS ALMANAC, episode was originally among those that survive only as kinescopes -- low-quality copies made by filming what's on a video monitor -- until somebody found a Spanish-language version of the videotape. The video from this was combined with the English-language kinescope soundtrack to make the hybrid we now see.
So in the next installment, we'll find out what kind of treatment Barnabas is going to get in place of the hammer and stake."
In response to the comments made by "kisses 2 all"...
garmonbozia76 | Philadelphia, PA USA | 09/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The decision to start the dvd releases with the introduction of Barnabas Collins is the same release pattern that MPI used for the vhs releases. The first year of the show was not released on vhs until the series from Barnabas' appearance on was released. This same release structure is planned for these dvds. The truth is, the first year of the show is not nearly as interesting as the following years, and the show was in danger of cancellation before Barnabas showed up at Collinwood. I guess MPI figures it can attract more new fans by starting the dvds where the show becomes most interesting rather than alienating potential new fans by starting with the least supernatural year of the show. As long as these dvds sell successfully, I think we will eventually see every episode released on dvd."
Dark Shadows continues on DVD!
David H. Downing | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Barnabas Collins and the rest of the gang return for more on Dark Shadows DVD Collection 2! This Collection, which contains VHS Volumes 5-12 on 4 discs, is more of a transitional set. In these episodes, the storylines from Collection 1 come to a close and the new storylines begin. Right off the bat, we see the conclusion of the Barnabas kidnapping Maggie storyline, and then we focus on the impending wedding of blackmailer Jason McGuire and Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Near the end of this Collection, we see the introduction of Dr. Julia Hoffman, who arrives at Collinwood to investigate Maggie's disappearance.Also on these DVD's we get bonus interviews from Dan Curtis (Producer), Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard), Dennis Patrick (Jason McGuire), and Alexandra Moltke (Victoria Winters). Once again, the picture and sound qualities are in great shape. Also like the first Collection, these episodes are all in black and white. Looking forward to Collection 3, which will include color episodes!"
DARK SHADOWS - DVD COLLECTION 2
Kenute P. Curry | Bahamas | 11/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The chills continue! Dark Shadows DVD Collection 2 is great and you can feel the momentum and the suspense building as you watch it.Maggie Evans escapes from the Old House basement where Barnabas as her kidnapped, with the help of his younger sister Sarah.Dr.Julia Hoffman is introduced as Maggie's physician and quickly figures out the secret of Barnabas Collins.Jason McGuire meets his demise when Barnabas hand reaches out from the coffin and grabs his throat! Also,Barnabas as his eyes on Victoria Winters becoming his new Josette! In this collection some old storylines came to an end thereby giving way to the momentum for the next stories to build up suspensfully.The best episodes in this collection are #260-where Maggie escapes from Barnabas, #271-when Elizabeth reveals what happened at Collinwood 18 years ago,#281-where Victoria relieves the death of Josette and #290-where Barnabas comes to Julia's room to strangle her and surprisedly finds Julia waiting for him.These episodes are all frightfully scary! MPI should have done some restoration work on these or cleaned them up a bit,but the episodes are in good condition considering the time(1967) and the age of the prints,as well as the audio.There are also bonus interviews with Dan Curtis(Creator & executive Producer),Nancy Barrett(Carolyn Stoddard),Dennis Patrick(Jason McGuire) and Alexandra Moltke(Victoria Winters).The voice-over-"My name is Victoria Winters..." is heard for the last time in this collection. The disappointment here is there are no English subtitles and the episodes are not close-captioned. Jonathan Frid is superb as Barnabas Collins,as always;and casting Grayson Hall as Dr.Julia Hoffman was a stroke of genius! The rest of the cast are great in their respective roles. I will always have memories from my childhood of running home when school was out to sit in front of a black and white television set to watch DARK SHADOWS!"