Another slice of Next Generation thinking…

I may have mentioned this before, but when I created Dark Shadows: The Next Generation, I really had something pretty serious in mind. The camp that came out of the image I created, the one with Barnabas with a mustache, was very loving. It was my attempt to imagine and render what ABC would have the character looking like and acting like if the show had continued into the early 80s at least.

 

While I'm watching the 1970 parallel time storyline, I'm thinking about the best way this story could've been put to use. You have to be very careful when you're doing a pocket universe story. The two things I think that people like in pocket universe stories are seeing the characters behave very, very differently and/or circumstances that are wildly different. Basically, “Mirror, Mirror” or Sliders.


It gives us a chance to see our characters comment on themselves or ponder a world that is completely different. Frankly, with a little nudging, there's almost nothing in 1970 parallel time that couldn't have been done in the present. Nothing of substance, anyway.

 

And, if you're going to make your characters different, make them interestingly different. Quentin is different, but only insofar as he's a petulant jerk. I find it hard to believe that Selby found this interesting at all. To me, he's doing his toughest acting on the show. It's a thankless task, really.

 

I can think of several switcheroos that would have been far more captivating in parallel time, and since there're no real consequences, you might as well have as much fun as possible. One idea is to simply go incredibly “Mirror, Mirror” and have your good characters be as evil as possible. You want an evil Quentin? Great! Have fun with it. Suddenly, Nicholas and Angelique are your heroes. Or how would Angelique operate in a universe like that were she, not Barnabas, thrust into it?

 

Another idea, beyond inverting the gender power structures, which would have let Moltke come back as the fun villain she wanted, is to make it a universe where magic and the supernatural are the norm. There are NO secrets about that. The secret is that the rare few without supernatural abilities are immune to them. This would put your transitioned character from “real time” into both great jeopardy (they're still vulnerable to actual harm) and great power.

 

Hindsight. Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Etc. And I come from a generation for whom mirror universes and evil twins have a venerable place in popular culture.

 

It's funny to watch the show and it's relationship with limits. You get an 1897 storyline in which limits seemingly don't even exist to 1970 PT, where the writers play it very, very safe.

 

I love the show and there are times when I say to myself, “Dan, take a vacation; Mr. Serling, for the next two months, you have the con.”