I Watched Dark Shadows Until They Played Dead …

So, after starting it at the end of January, I finally finished “Dark Shadows” … the complete original soap opera. I enjoyed it. There were some clunky storylines — I have to admit that I never liked the Pheonix storyline, that they did at least twice — but over all it’s a simple and reasonably enjoyable soap opera, perfect to watch while doing other things. The storylines were relatively simple, summarized well, and the characters were generally interesting. You can see not only where they got their inspiration from, but how they inspired others: the werewolf angle is similar to what you saw later in Buffy, and even the tormented vampire as a curse can been seen as an inspiration for Angel.

However, the show relied far too heavily on possession as a major plot point. Any plot point that is overused is problematic since instead of adding drama the audience starts to say “Again?!?”. I was feeling that way with a lot of their possession plots. And with the supposedly unpopular “Leviathan” story arc, the arc seemed to hint that Barnabas was possessed, and then that he wasn’t, but then didn’t really build up any kind of good motivation for him joining willingly, and this carried on throughout most of it: a need to have the people controlled by the Leviathans, and yet able to resist and act “normally” whenever they needed to. No wonder it was a bit unpopular, especially considering that it ran for a fair amount of time.

The biggest problem with the series for me, though, was David. It was clear that they were aiming for “Creepy Child” but instead got “Annoying Child”. The reason for this was that, in general, David was a complete jerk, taking after his father, it seems. But that works against the “Creepy Child” archetype. The Creepy Child is supposed to be incomprehensible, or at least capable of acting completely and totally out of character in a way that can be somewhat menacing. We’re supposed to wonder if they’re an innocent being influenced, or really evil, or something in between. But with David, we knew that he, say, locked Vicki in that room because he was mad at her and wanted to hurt her, and we knew that he was lying when he said he didn’t do it or didn’t know why he did it, because the series set it up that way. Thus, David came across as more of a sociopath/psychopath than as someone we were supposed to relate to, which made it very hard to relate to him when we needed to. Add to it that the actor playing him wasn’t a particularly good actor, and the character was just incredibly annoying … and yet played a very large role in a number of storylines.

Overall, though, it was a good series and it’s something that I will watch again. Just not this year [grin].

2 Responses to “I Watched Dark Shadows Until They Played Dead …”

  1. Thoughts on “Twin Peaks” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] psychic powers, odd characters, and supernaturally-enfused murders before that point, and of course “Dark Shadows” had done things like that long before. What “Twin Peaks” did was bring that sort of […]

  2. The Shadows Be Dark … and Somewhat Annoying | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] some point next year, I decided to watch the old Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” that I had bought and watched some years ago.  It seemed like a fairly good choice, as it was long enough to last me the rest of the year, was […]

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