With its alluring tales of Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, Dark Shadows became one of the most popular daytime series of all time. Since first airing on ABC-TV from 1966-71, Dark Shadows has earned the reputatio... more »n as being one of the most unusual and enduring programs in television history. The character of Barnabas Collins, a guilt-ridden 175 year-old vampire, brought the show tremendous success. In 1795, the beautiful and jealous witch Angelique attempts to destroy Barnabas' romance with his fiance, Josette DuPres. She enslaves Collins family servant Ben Stokes to assist her evil plans. Abigail Collins and Natalie DuPres find evidence they believe proves Victoria Winters is a witch. The family moves into the newly-built Collinwood mansion and the fanatical witch-hunting Reverend Trask is summoned to exorcise the Old House. A vengeful Angelique places a vampire curse on Barnabas. Bonuses: Interviews with actors Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Jerry Lacy and music composer Robert Cobert. Starring: Joan Bennett, Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Louis Edmonds, Lara Parker, Anthony George, Nancy Barrett, David Ford, Clarice Blackburn, Joel Crothers, Grayson Hall, Jerry Lacy, David Henesy and Alexandra Moltke« less
"I think I've seen just about every episode of Dark Shadows when they showed it on the Sci-fi Channel, and this particular bunch is my favorite. The characters seem so completely at home in the year 1795; Almost moreso than they do in the present day. Being set in the past is the perfect compliment to the whole gothic atmosphere of the series. These episodes also set up the basis of the love / hate relationship between Barnabus and Angelique, as well as featuring the character we all love to hate, Reverand Trask. You really need to see these episodes to completely understand the motivation of Barnabus in all the others episodes. The whole series is as much about Barnabus as it is about anything or anyone else, and this is where his story begins.
Another neat thing is the accuracy of the historic setting. The man of the house is the master - no one dare cross him. This takes the viewer very convincingly into a different era. And the witch hunt concerning Victoria Winters is emotionally compelling as well. Even such details as spelling the word jail as "gaol", as it is spelled in Britain and would have been spelled in Maine in 1795, is correctly portrayed.
All in all, Dark Shadows always managed to take me completely away from my own life, depositing me within its plot and setting, surrounding me with its characters, and providing a fantastic escape from reality."
Barnabas becomes a vampire; Victoria is accused of witchcraf
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 04/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When the now-classic daytime soap opera DARK SHADOWS introduced the 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins (Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid), the plan was to tell a closed-ended story, set entirely in the present day. The events of 1795 that made Barnabas a vampire and took away his true love Josette were to serve only as a back story. But Barnabas's popularity changed the plan. He was spared the hammer-and-stake treatment, viewers were transported to 1795, and that back story became the main plot.
This entire installment is set in 1795, where the witch Angelique (Lara Parker) is determined to steal Barnabas from Josette, and has no compunction about destroying the entire Collins family to do so. Eventually, their confrontation reaches a crises in which Angelique turns Barnabas into the vampire we met way back in episode #210 (set 1).
To be fair to Angelique, you could argue that Barnabas had his fun with her, then dumped for the high-class woman. But you could counter-argue that Angelique is (and so perhaps always was) motivated at least partly by status-consciousness. In #373, she's trying on Josette's hat. In #374, she's using (then zapping) Josette's rose water. In #410, she's arguing with Joshua Collins (Barnabas's father) over her legal and financial rights as Barnabas's widow, even as she's rushing to prevent Barnabas returning as a vampire.
To the extent that Angelique is motivated by love, it's ironic that she understands one significant truth while missing the bigger truth. She understands that hexing Barnabas to make him love her would gain her nothing, because his love would be synthetic. The bigger truth she misses is that you can't force anyone to love you by any type of coercion or manipulation.
Note that events are inconsistent with the accounts we've gotten from the present-day Barnabas, particularly in #345 (set 4). I'm told this is because Anthony George left the show, forcing a reworking of the storyline.
AG's departure also also meant recasting the ghost of Jeremiah Collins -- body by Timothy Gordon, voice by Addison Powell. This leads me to say that I'm not happy with Jeremiah's ghost being dropped from the story with no resolution. (He'll turn up again briefly in the 1897 storyline to give Kitty Soames a good scare.)
A secondary storyline involves Victoria Winters, the vehicle for the trip back to 1795. In #365 (set 4), Vicki participated in a seance that sent her back in time, and the viewers followed her. Vicki's mysterious arrival and seeming ability to predict the future convince several members of the 1795 Collins family that she's a witch -- responsible for all of Angelique's machinations. Enter Reverend Trask (Jerry Lacy), a self-ordained, fanatical witch hunter from Salem. Eventually, Trask gets Vicki arrested -- with Angelique's clandestine assistance.
Vicki's response to Trask is foolish, but understandable -- up to a point. In #385, Vicki SHOULD play along and pretend to be exorcised. However, someone from the present might not realize they take this witchcraft stuff SERIOUSLY in 1795. When Trask ties Vicki to the tree, though, I would think she should see that he means business and perhaps say, "If I stay tied to this tree all night and it DOESN'T die, that proves I'm innocent, right?"
The irony is that Trask is right about a witch at Collinwood, but misses the real witch because, in #387, Angelique is shrewd enough to play the game Vicki wouldn't play.
Trask is probably offensive to a lot of Christians and being one myself, I understand, because he's the sort of character that gives Christians a bad name. However, we're intended to see Trask as a poor excuse for a Christian. Forbes vehemently denounces Trask in #385. In fact, Trask illustrates a point of Christian morality. He fails because of a flaw in his character that a true man of God dare not indulge -- egotism. He comes very close to catching Angelique, but she escapes because she licks his boots. Later, when his exorcism rite succeeds so perfectly, it never occurs to him that anybody but himself was responsible.
This leads me to mention the bonus interview with Jerry Lacy on Disk 3, in which Lacy opines that the 1795 Trask was the "purest" of the three Trasks he played in the course of DS -- the one driven by idealism rather than any overtly criminal motive.
Another interesting bonus interview is the one with composer Robert Cobert on Disk 4, in which Cobert talks about how he presented the DS theme to series creator Dan Curtis by whistling it for him.
In the other two bonus interviews, Jonathan Frid describes how he got the part of Barnabas by more or less dumb luck, and Kathryn Leigh Scott mentions her reservations about "going supernatural."
Other points of interest:
Victoria's reaction Ben in #372 probably puzzled 1967 viewers who hadn't seen the pre-Barnabas episodes, and so didn't know who Matthew was. Fortunately, we have those episodes (1) along with the synopsis in set 1.
I liked Naomi's statement to Abigail in #382 that "If the devil has blinded me, I consider it curious that he lets you in on all his plans."
#386 contains both a reference to the Revolutionary War and Barnabas's "Innocent until proven innocent" blooper.
In #374, Josette's portrait shouldn't be in Josette's room. It doesn't officially arrive until #402.
#400 includes the technical blooper in which Angelique's house of cards burns up too soon and she's left shouting "Burn! Burn!" over a pile of ashes. It's obvious if you're looking for it, but maybe not if you're wrapped up in the story, especially if you don't know what was supposed to happen.
The word "vampire" is used for the first time in #410.
In the next installment, we'll see that becoming a vampire was only the beginning of that curse ...
(1) At the time of this writing, only on VHS, but I understand they'll be released on DVD."
Adventures begin in 1795!
A viewer | Michigan | 10/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The much-anticipated 1795 Flashback begins in DS DVD Collection 5 (VHS Volumes 29-36). In these episodes, Victoria Winters has trouble accepting the fact that she has travelled over 200 years into the past. Barnabas Collins' fiance, Josette duPres arrives, and the evil witch Angelique Bouchard vows to destroy their romance. She enslaves family servant Ben Stokes to assist her. Eventually she ruins the plans and sets a plague on the entire family, resulting in deaths. Abagail Collins and Natalie duPres begin to suspect Victoria of being the witch and the cause of all the trouble at Collinwood. The fanatical witch-hunter Reverend Trask arrives on a quest to find and destroy the witch. After discovering that Angelique is really the witch, Barnabas shoots her, however she places a vampire curse on Barnabas.Bonuses include interviews with Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Josette duPres), Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), and music composer Robert Cobert.The 1795 Flashback continues in the next collection."
The Supernatural Intrigue Continues in DVD Collection 5!!!
Music Fan-atic | Hogwarts | 07/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Collection five of the widely acclaimed MPI DVD set of the ever popular Dark Shadows, we find that Victoria Winters, governess of young David Collins has been thrust back into the year 1795 during a seance in present day Collinwood. As she tries to settle into the role of the new governess to young Sarah Collins, now very much alive, she is in fear that she will never get back to her present day in 1967. Meanwhile, Josette DuPres, fiance of Barnabas Colins has arrived with her aunt, father and maid servant, Angelique, who unbeknownst to Josette and Barnabas is plotting to get Barnabas for herself through witchcraft. Her wicked spells soon draw the suspicion of spinster Aunt Abigail Collins and Natalie Dupres to suspect that Victoria is the witch! As the family moves to the newly built Collinwood manor, Sarah falls sick and dies and the evil zealot Reverend Trask is summoned to bring Victoria to justice. Finding out who the real witch is, Barnabas shoots Angelique, who thinking she is dying, summons a vampire bat to bite Barnabas and infect him with the vampiric curse! This volume contains some of the most compelling episodes of the series. Although the storylines were loosely based on such classics as Jane Eyre and Dracula, this show far transcended even the classics. Although sometimes rife with flubs and technical difficulties during filming, these classic episodes are full of hours of enjoyable gothic suspense! Fully worth the price!"
So far,the best!
codeyellow | Bronx, NY United States | 07/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"although all the dark shadows dvd collections so far are great,(a little concearn over collection 4 because of many kinescope recordings),but #5 has to be the best so far.set in 1795,the actors play their lines better,the plots are more suspensefull,and the period costumes are great.they are all a must if you are a true dark shadows fan,but don't miss this one,(collection #5)."