US tv series (1966-1971). Dan Curtis Productions for ABC. Created by Dan Curtis. Producers included Curtis, Robert Costello, George DiCenzo, Peter Miner, Lela Swift and Sy Tomashoff. Directors included Lela Swift and John Sedwick. Writers included Art Wallace, Gordon Russell and Sam Hall. Cast included Alexandra Moltke (Victoria Winters), Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins), Joan Bennett (Elizabeth Collins), Louis Edmonds (Roger Collins), Thayer David (Ben Stokes), Grayson Hall (Julia Hoffman) and David Selby (Quentin Collins), among many others. 1225 30-minute episodes. Black and white 1966-1967; colour 1967-1971.
An innovative afternoon soap opera, Dark Shadows featured mostly supernatural storylines involving such Gothic elements as Vampires, ghosts, witches, Werewolves and black magic. However, at times it ventured into sf territory with such tropes as Time Travel, Androids and Parallel Worlds. Many of the storylines were modeled on classic horror fiction, including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818). In this sequence, a doctor creates an artificial man, Adam, from body parts and brings it to life. In a later H P Lovecraft-inspired sequence, a prehuman race of shapeshifting entities (see Shapeshifters) called Leviathans attempts to gain control in the modern world. In yet another storyline, a room in the Collins mansion is found to be a gateway to a Parallel World in which the familiar characters have led different lives. Since Dark Shadows was taped on a low budget that did not allow for retakes, many bloopers made it to the air and added to the fun. It was the first afternoon soap opera to be rerun in syndication. [LW]