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DARK SHADOWS the original series
These four episodes detail VICTORIA WINTER'S first night in Collinsport and Collinwood. The first thing to note is that this is a soap opera and it takes time to unfold. Not that slow always equals bad or boring, in fact, these four episodes are far from boring. They set up all the mysteries and all the characters in fun and scary fashion and give almost nothing away, except that it is Roger haunting Victoria in ep 4. The first ep is rather strong with the filmed location stuff, Victoria on the train, at the train station, and her car pulling up to Collinwood and eariler to the Inn. She meets Maggie, has flashbacks to her friend Stacy ("Go out to Long Island and have a ball"---in fact a few characters--Carolyn for one--- talk about having a ball) and meets Burke Devlin. Maggie is played as a wise cracking blond and it doesn't really work. There is the hotel caretaker played by DIFFERENT STROKES actor Conrad Baine (wasn't he in MAUDE too?) who appears a few times in the first year or so and then vanishes, only to get killed by a werewolf a few years later! We meet Liz and Roger far before Victoria does and they are a brooding pair but say some funny things such as Roger's answer to Liz's inquiry about where David is, "The little monster's asleep and I for once couldn't be happier." In fact, we're introduced to David through others' chats about him before he appears at the very end of ep4 where David gives a great performance of "I hate you," with such venom. The old lady on the train and Vicki's friend and her foundling home lady add to the background of Vicki but it is kind of clear that Vicki is really probably Liz's daughter. They had planed on that for some time but the show took a different direction. I must admit the fog, the music, the camera angles, the filmed stuff, the brooding dialog and atmosphere all add up to a great shows and it's hard to see why the show was failing before BARNABUS or maybe that is just fan rumor, maybe it wasn't. It's also interesting to note a few mentions of Roger's wife and David's mother...in what will later be the first supernatural storyline and character...Vicki thought she was dead, Carolyn tells her she thought wrong, and David, when the creepy boy is smashing Vicki's intials off her suitcase in ep5 says, "Mother," three times or so as he looks out the window. There are creepy sobs (Liz crying over her past or ghosts?, talks of ghosts, and lots of dread, also the Widow's Hill cliff makes an apperance...in long shot and filmed sequence. Vicki goes out the back door of Collinwood in long shot and walks through the back parts of the patio...amazing stuff. We also see Roger drive to Maggie and Sam's cottage where he bangs on the door (despite later telling Maggie that he's not the banging type!). And we see the Blue Whale as Carolyn shakes her...well, her everything. The music she dances to is funny but the scene is kind of played straight as is almost all of DARK SHADOWS. We see the kitchen/breakfast room in Collinwood and the hotel kitchen/bar/grill. Maggie calls everyone in that house kooks. Carolyn and Vicki bond; Roger at first menaces Vicki about Devlin but later apologizes to her. Vicki, after David's "I hate you," prepares to leave. It all sets up the situations rather nicely and it's not boring but does move at a leisurely pace. And sometimes that's nice. Carolyn also tells Vicki that her uncle Roger does not turn into Dracula at night and that he does not bite...some nice foreshadowing unintentionally (?). The interior sets are well done. The scene where Vicki and Carolyn chat in Vicki's room contain shots of boom mikes and shadows of boom mikes, the unintentional ghosts of Dark Shadows that would plague the show almost to the very end...and which gives it much of its charm. Maggie gives us a flub when she can't seem to say the letter B or something in ep1and Vicki finally arrives at the house and enters at the very end of ep1. Mysteries include: the sobbing at 2am, the Burke Devlin return and why Roger is so nervous about it, Roger's advances to Vicki and why Liz does not want any, David being so strange, Carolyn's wanting to leave and her boyfriend Joe Haskell, Burke's investigations of the Collins family, and Vicki's past and why she was hired. The doors opening, the windows opening from wind, the doorknobs turning, and strange sounds have already started and it's just great.