Monday, 1 October 2012

Dark Shadows Episodes 1-5

The decision to start this blog came after I had been watching Dark Shadows for about a week. I had to decide whether to go back and re-watch, in order to write posts for the 5 episodes I'd already watched. In the end I figured that that would be no fun for me, and isn't that the main thing, after all?

As it turns out though, the first 5 episodes of Dark Shadows actually lend themselves very well to being lumped together as one. In fact, in terms of content they would work very well as a 'pilot'; with a few nips and tucks and adjustments for pace of course. I'm pretty sure you could re-cut these 5 eps into a tight little hour. Anyway, here's the story so far from episodes 1-5 of Dark Shadows.

 Victoria Winters; special skills, expository voice overs; arrives in tiny township Collinsport to take up a position as a nanny for a local power family. Arriving on the same train is wonderfully monikered Burke Devlin, fresh from a summer stint with the Dick Dastardly Chorus, and all set to bring down some shit on the local power fam... oh, do you see what they did there?

After a brief flashback to her old digs in New York, where we learn that Vicky W is an orphan who has been receiving mysterious cash gifts from someone in the same part of the country as this job offer she never applied for, we see her make her way, veeeeerry slowly, to Collinwood, home of the Collins family.

Along the way she has an encounter with the local inn keeper, who tells her she should turn around and go home, and the waitress in the cafe; special skills, not being able to say her lines properly; who tells her that she should turn around and go home. She also chats to Devlin for a little while. He tells her she should turn around and go home.

Girl can't take a hint though, and eventually she reaches Collinwood. Here she's greeted by Elizabeth, lady of the manner; special skills, smashing cafe waitress ladies into the ground like blonde tent pegs in not being able to say your lines properly competitions. But this is not our first encounter, as the audience, with Elizabeth. Oh no.

Elizabeth and Roger. Devil Child David not pictured.
Earlier, while Vicky W was making her interminable way up the fog shrouded roads to the castle on the cliff, we saw Elizabeth meeting with her brother, Roger. Roger isn't happy that Elizabeth has hired Vicky W to look after his son. He thinks she should turn around and go home. Also in this meeting, we learn that Roger considers his son, whom Vicky W will be looking after, to be the devil. All right mate, calm down, so he runs in the corridor and likes to look at your 'special' mags that you hide behind the wardrobe; its not the end of the world.

Anyway, Vicky W meets Elizabeth's daughter; special skills, dancing really badly to generic jaunty music in rubbish bar sets; who tells her that if she has any sense she'll turn around and go home. But wait, plot twist! She thinks she should leave, but doesn't actually want her to, because she wants a friend her own age. She's lonely, is all, the poor dear. Of course the other time we see her she's partying like a good 'un at aforementioned bar with about 30 equally rubbish dancers of her own age so...

It's in this bar that we meet Burke Devlin of the Dastardly Chorus again and he's having a secret meeting with a private investigator he sent up ahead of time to get the lay of the land. This guy is very thorough, and has detailed psychological profiles on every character we've met so far and more besides. He's either done some incredible Sherlock Holmes style deductive shit, or he's nicked the series bible from the production office. Either way, it's clear that Burke Devlin of the Dastardly Chorus is up to no good, but we know not what that is at this stage.

While we're in the bar we see Elizabeth's daughter having a wee bit of a provocative dance/bizarre fit, with a boy that's not her main squeeze. Then another one! The utter floozy! Of course this rubs up Main Squeeze the wrong way and a fight almost breaks out, but Burke Devlin of the Dastardly Chorus puts a stop to it and has a sneaky word with Main Squeeze. Could an alliance be forming there? Watch this space.

Back up at Collinwood, Vicky W is interrogated by Roger, who has learned that Burke Devlin of the Dastardly Chorus is back in town. Back in town? Oh yes, there's a history here, to be sure. But what? We don't know, but whatever it is it has Roger in a tizz. After talking to Vicky W like shit for a bit, then apologising, he runs off to do some digging. Whatever Devlin is up to, he's sure it's going to be bad news for him.

We get another weird little conversation with Floozy Daughter and Vicky W, wherein FD tells Vicky W that Uncle Roger is awfully nice once you get to know him, and oh, isn't he so handsome? Er... FD then has a bit of a rant about how Elizabeth wants her to marry Main Squeeze, but 'how could anyone be expected to marry such a dull boy when handsome and charming Uncle Roger is around?' Yeeeaaaahhh. Ok.

After 4 episodes Vicky W finally gets to go to bed, or so she thinks. First she has to deal with a run in with Devil Child David, and a creepier little shit you've never seen in your life, so fair play to the casting agent there. He menaces her a bit and she decides to, wait for it, turn around and go home.

Next morning, Floozy Daughter, who I suppose we can call Caroline, for that's her name, attempts to talk Vicky W into staying. Having none of it, our intrepid heroine heads off for a walk along the cliff, where she meets a weird stranger called Sam, who talks in portentous riddles and, you'll never guess, tells her to turn around and go home. I SHIT YOU NOT.

Whilst Vicky W is off for her walk, Devil Child David trashes her room and when she returns to catch him in the act he tears up her only memento of her childhood. The little sod! Then he says something a wee bit odd.

"The widows told me to make you leave"

Oh really? The widows you say? Hmmm, intriguing intrigue, in a vaguely intriguing way. We don't find out who the widows are though, because he runs out of the room in that patented 'kid who doesn't have any lines left in the scene so he has to get out of the way quickly because he can't be trusted not to fuck up the scene in the background' way that child actors have.

Vicky W
Then Vicky W, because she is apparently an imbecile, changes her mind and decides to stick around. Which is lucky, because without her expository voiceovers this show would be fucked.

And there you have the events of the first 5 episodes of Dark Shadows. I hope I managed to get across just how awesome and thrill packed the show is, and I hope you will join me for future episodes. Until next time then, au revoir.

1 comment:

  1. I think you pretty much nailed the summary on the episodes there, and I agree that all of them could fit in a 90 minute pilot (maybe even 60 minutes if you don't add a pointless car chase).
    But would that pilot have an atmosphere as creepy and gloomy? I doubt it. The repetitions in the storytelling are similar to chants of a forgotten cult, maybe. One can really sink into the atmosphere.
    I like it.