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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > TV > Compilation > Dark Shadows: Reunion (MPI DVD)

Dark Shadows – Reunion (35th Anniversary)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Program: C+

 

 

There are two types of people who watch the TV classic Dark Shadows.  The first group consists of folks who watched the show when they were growing up and remembers it fondly.  Even watching it in reruns brings back great memories of their earlier days.  The second group watches the show simply because they can’t believe that what is considered a “cult classic” can be so overacted, poorly directed, shoddily produced and completely miscast.  The only thing that keeps them glued to the set is the fact that as they continue to watch, the production only gets worse. This DVD is for those of you in the first group.

 

The Dark Shadows Reunion takes place during the William S. Paley festival.  A yearly event produced by the Museum of TV & Radio, which features a nightly examination of particular television shows both new and old.  I have been to a number of these evenings including Freaks & Geeks, M*A*S*H, West Wing, Survivor and The Rutles, just to name a few.  Most of these evenings consist of a moderator asking the cast and crew of their show to share their experiences with the audience.  Throw in some clips from the show and short Q&A session with the audience and you have the gist.

The main reason why this disc would only appeal to the true fan is because only they will recognize actors like Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes, et. al.) and Lara Parker (Angelique Bouchard Collins, et. al.).  The stage also includes bigger names like Kate Jackson (Daphne Harridge) and John Karlen (Willie Loomis) but since their Shadows experience is only a small part of their career, they have less to say.  Some of the cast, like David Selby (Quentin Collins) recount their times on the set fondly, but with the right amount of whimsy that let’s everyone know they realize it was just a TV show and not a very good one.  Then there are those who speak of Shadows as if it were not only the crowning moment in their career, but also the defining moment in soap opera history.  Sadly, Jonathan Frid (Barnabus Collins) does not attend the reunion and there is no explanation why, although the bonus features include a remarkably “groovy” interview with Frid from The Merv Griffin Show (along with Rocky Marciano in 1970).

 

The picture is as varied as a documentary, with a mix of old and new footage, both monochrome and color.  Virtually all of this is on analog videotape of one form or another.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is usually monophonic, with patches of stereo here and there.  This is typical of such a presentation.  Other bonus features include a delightful montage of photos and video clips of the backstage reception.  Sadly, the montage is set to music, so we are unable to hear the participants talk about how old they all have gotten.  An interview with Joan Bennett (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard) from The Mike Douglas Show (1969) is also included and is as retro as it gets (Mike’s other guest is Dody Goodman).  There’s also a collection of promotional TV spots and a PSA featuring Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans, et. al.) that are worth a look.

 

If there is a bright spot for non-fans it would be hearing from the crew of Dark Shadows.  Particularly, Bob Cobert, who reveals that his job composing music for the drama was one of the greatest jobs of his career (clearly because he never spent any time on the set or even had to watch the show).

 

The bottom line is if you weren’t a fan of the show then, naturally, this DVD isn’t even worth thinking about.  However, if you are a part of that select group that considers Dark Shadows a “classic” then you will eat it up.  The anecdotes, the insights and most importantly the aging of the cast are all reasons why any true DS fan will want this for their collection, right between their copy of House of Dark Shadows and their Quentin’s Theme 45.

 

 

-  Paul Goebel

 

 

Paul Goebel was recently seen as the resident TV geek on Comedy Central's gameshow, "Beat the Geeks".  He has appeared on numerous television shows and is recognized as the leading expert in TV trivia.  He doesn't know everything about TV, he just knows more than you.  Paul can be reached through his website:

 

www.TheKingofTV.com

 


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