In the midst of a major work project and a special announcement that delayed the final video log for the DSXP 4.1. That will all come soon. In the meantime, enjoy guest commentary from the fabulous Adriana Peña…
I am doing a Dark Shadows reboot, a reimagining of what the series could be like if they did it today, and they put me in charge (dream on). And yet I know it to be a futile endeavor. How it looked today, what it meant to us, cannot be recaptured. We are older, we have learned a few things (and some of them were taught by it), we cannot see it with the same eyes (in those days we had not learned yet that Barnabas was as its scariest not when he bared his fangs but when he said “I have a plan” since he channeled Baldric then). We did not see the plot holes, we did not see the inconsistencies, we overlooked certain things.
Barnabas was for us what we needed him to be, and each of us saw it somewhat differently – and given those versions then we ask “what was the real Barnabas?” Alas it was an illusion. It was Jonathan Frid’s artistry to take a whiff of smoke and make it solid for us. His scripts were often disjointed, and had continuity breaks, and sometimes contradictory. He made it seem a seamless whole, and depended on our need to believe to make it work.
We grew up with it. We learned to confront ambiguity, defeat, paradox, tragedy, resignation, struggle with little hope, things that were not common it TV then – a TV full of spotless heroes and unalloyed villains, and a happy ending guaranteed.
And having grown up thanks to it, some of us want to return the favor, and make those people grow up. But they are stuck in the past. They are what they are. They were important to us, and they still are, but they can only be what they are
And the new generations? For them the need is not so great. For TV has grown up too. I recall when trying to write the reboot thinking about the problem of time travel and thinking “Do as they did in Eureka”. And then it hit me. There are a lot of shows today who are doing the same themes and going further. Duke Crocker of Haven is a much a tragic character as Barnabas, only he handles it better. Bo of Lost Girl is a curious mixture of BOTH Barnabas and Vicky. A lot of straight, non supernatural series deal with tragedy, ambiguity, struggle, defeat. We have flawed heroes, and we have villains with enough goodness in them to make them interesting. To the children today, Dark Shadows will no longer be THE SHOW, but one of many.
And, as Kurt Vonnegut put it. So it goes.