‘Dark Shadows: The Greatest Episodes Collection — The Best of Barnabas'
With “Dark Shadows: The Greatest Episodes Collection — The Best of Barnabas,” the most memorable character from the sprawling supernatural soap opera gets a DVD compilation dedicated just to him.
From 1966 to 1971, the cult favorite “Dark Shadows” aired on weekday afternoons on ABC, drawing 20 million viewers at the peak of its popularity. The forerunner of modern TV favorites like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Supernatural,” “Dark Shadows” also appealed to young audiences, who would rush home from school to see the innovative show, which merged the suspense, romance and melodrama of standard soaps with werewolves, witches, parallel universes and other paranormal elements.
Introduced a year into the show's five-year run, the 200-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins soon became the most beloved member of the expansive, secret-keeping Collins clan. Canadian actor Jonathan Frid, who died last month at the age of 87, played the undead patriarch as both menacing and sympathetic.
“Dark Shadows” has been revived and continued many times on television, in books and in films. Actor Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton, both longtime fans who grew up with the show, collaborated on the most recent revival, a big-screen remake that opened in theaters last week.
As any “Dark Shadows” devotee will tell you, the original soap didn't have the quirky humor Depp and Burton bring to their version — see, Mom, I was listening — but with its campy, over-the-top acting and cheesy shoestring production values, the original series is both unintentionally funny and oddly compelling.