(No) Movies Jan 30 …

So, this week I’ll be skipping what I was hoping to be a regular weekly “Rent a couple of movies in the evening” event. Part of this is because the weather has been a little odd this week, ranging from snow to freezing rain to rain, which has shuffled by schedule a bit. Part of this is because work is a bit busy and I’m looking at putting in more hours to get ahead of problems I’m having.

But a big part of it is that I broke down and bought the rather massive complete series of “Dark Shadows”, as I hinted at doing here. I mulled it over for quite a while because the complete series involves a significant investment of money and, even more importantly, time. To get through the entire series would take me about 5 months at my best possible watching speed … and you have to remember that I don’t watch a lot of TV outside of DVDs. So that’s a lot. If I don’t like it, it’s a lot of money to spend for something I’ll never watch, even if it’s worth the price if I even get through it once, but the length of it encourages me to either try to blast through it or leaves me watching the same thing for months. Both can lead to burn-out, although as a soap opera stopping and continuing later is always an option.

So far, I’m through about 30 episodes, and I like it. The series starts without Barnabbas Collins, and so has the time to develop the other characters. Carolyn and Roger, for example, are actually developed in the series where they basically just existed in the movie, and the relationship between Carolyn and Victoria is interesting and believable. You also get a number of secondary characters that will play roles later that actually get talked about. And all of them have plotlines around them that are interesting. Returning to Carolyn’s, her plot was far more interesting that … whatever happened in the movie, even though the idea that she wanted a white knight to carry her away might not have played well to today’s audiences, as a young woman would be expected to leave on her own instead of waiting for her husband. Then again, the movie was set in the 70s, where it would have been more believable, and if they wanted to avoid such anachronisms it would have been better to have simply moved it to today.

Victoria Winters, again, is far more developed. She was essentially the lead character in the first year or so — the first 200 episodes! — and so her character is well-developed and involved in a lot of things. And she is an interesting character, and I like the actress. I also liked the actress in the movie, but she wasn’t around enough for me to really pay attention to her. Ultimately, in watching the movie it always seemed like they were horribly underusing the characters, and in watching the TV show that was clearly the case. Even Elizabeth Collins Stoddard played by Michelle Pfeifer was underused, and she’s one of the actors that clearly outperforms her counterpart in the original TV series; she does a far better job reflecting the character, even though the actress in the TV series did a good job.

This is not to say that the TV series was perfect. The acting can be uneven, and is often incredibly melodramatic. But it actually all seems to fit in fairly well. So far, then, I’m enjoying it … and am not even at the part where everyone says the series got good. I should get to that point in … about a month.

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