Created by Dan Curtis
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
- Original series episodes 413-452
- Interviews with cast and crew
Released by: MPI
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Get it and like it.
[ad#longpost]With Collection 6, Dark Shadows continues to be one of the most unusual, interesting, and refreshing shows produced in the last thirty years. While the rest of TV-land was concentrating on daytime soaps filled with illegitimate babies, paternity suits, and divas, this show quietly had a reason to have a hero/villain return from the dead.
When last we left Barnabas & Co., we were back in 1795, showing the birth of Barnabas as a vampire. In this season, Barnabas (Frid) begs family retainer Ben Stokes (Thayer David) to give him final death, but Stokes cannot do it, in part because he is controlled by Angelique (Parker). Meanwhile, the Reverend (Lacy) we all love to hate is trying to have poor Victoria (Moltke) burned at the stake, while the real witch and troublemaker, Angelique, is still trying to come between Barnabas and his true love Josette (Scott)–Angelique gives Josette a vision of what her life will be like if she persists in marrying Barnabas. In a more traditional soap opera plot-line, Naomi Collins (Bennett) soldiers in saving the relatively innocent Nathan Forbes (Crothers) from the clutches of Millicent Collins (Blackburn). Upon learning that Angelique is really behind so many of the problems of Collinwood, Barnabas must decide how to handle her, hopefully permanently. Got all that?
It’s interesting to watch Victoria, a modern woman, try to come to terms with her translation to the past, as well as with 1790s society. Viewers are invited to learn about American history along with her and just might be inspired to do some research on their own.
The audio and video quality still leave a bit to be desired, but the producers of the DVD set do what they can with the poor quality of the original stock. After thirty years of extreme neglect, the original elements were just about ready to give up the ghost (no pun intended); luckily, charitable viewers can just see that as part of the show experience and let the shadows on the film cast more shadows onto the tragedy of Collinwood. The dimness of the film and graininess of the black-and-white will not get in the way of the enjoyment of the show–the show’s too good for that. If anything, it just makes the show all that much more Gothic.
The special features on this set are nice: we get interviews with several actors, as well as one with the scene designer–a particularly important crewmember for a show such as this. It’s a real treat to get these interviews, given how old the show is, and that, sadly, a few of the actors have since died. Fans of the show will be thrilled with this feature.
Check this set out and learn what Dark Shadows fans have known for decades: the show is creative, interesting, and engrossing, and you can finally enjoy it for yourself with the season sets from MPI. If you have a taste for the Gothic, or just want something different than anything else you’ll see on American TV, then do yourself a favor and check this out. It could stand to be a bit scarier, but it’s still moody, intriguing, and just plain fun.