Dark Shadows (1991 TV series)

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Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows (1991 TV series).jpg
Also known asDark Shadows: The Revival
Created byDan Curtis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes12
Running time55 minutes
Production companies
DistributorMGM Worldwide Television
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJanuary 13 (1991-01-13) –
March 22, 1991 (1991-03-22)

Dark Shadows (later referred to as Dark Shadows: The Revival[1]) is an American prime time gothic soap opera television series which aired on NBC from January 13 to March 22, 1991. A re-imagining of the 1966–71 ABC daytime gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, the revival was developed by Dan Curtis, creator of the original series.[2]

Series storyline[edit]

The 1991 Dark Shadows tells a streamlined version of the original storyline – the arrival of governess Victoria Winters at Collinwood, vampire Barnabas Collins being released from his coffin, Dr. Hoffman's attempt to cure Barnabas' vampirism medically, and, finally, Victoria's time travel back to 1790 to witness the events in which the still-human Barnabas is transformed into an undead creature.

Development and production[edit]

Having declined several previous inquiries about reviving Dark Shadows, Curtis was contacted by NBC's then-head of programming Brandon Tartikoff in the summer of 1987. The reluctant Curtis was eventually persuaded by Tartikoff, who "wouldn't let up".[3]

Of the revival Curtis said, "The essential characters and relationships are the same, but the things they do are different. I thought I could rely on those old scripts, but I found that they were full of crazy plots that we couldn't use. So all the incidents are different; we arrive at similar points through a much different route."[4] According to Curtis, he co-wrote and directed the first five episodes himself, "to get it off in the style I wanted."[4] However, Curtis received co-writing credit on only two completed episodes. The revival series was produced by MGM Television, whose parent company had produced the two earlier theatrical films, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, (now owned by Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment). A majority of the series was filmed at the Greystone Park and Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, and some period wardrobe from the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons was used.[3][4]


Actor Role(s) Time Episodes Total
Ben Cross Barnabas Collins 1991 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 12
1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Joanna Going Victoria Winters 1991 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 12
1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Josette Du Prés 7 8 9 10 11
Jean Simmons Elizabeth Collins Stoddard 1991 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 12 11
Naomi Collins 1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Roy Thinnes Roger Collins 1991 1 2 3 4 6 8 9 12 11
Reverend Trask 1790 7 9 10 11 12
Barbara Steele Dr. Julia Hoffman 1991 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 12
Countess Natalie Du Prés 1790 7 8 9 10 11
Jim Fyfe Willie Loomis 1991 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 12
Ben Loomis 1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Barbara Blackburn Carolyn Stoddard 1991 1 2 3 5 6 8 9 10 9
Millicent Collins 1790 7 8 9 10
Michael T. Weiss Joe Haskell 1991 1 2 3 5 6 8 10 11 11
Peter Bradford 1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Lysette Anthony Angélique Bouchard 1991 4 6 9 11 12 8
1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Joseph Gordon-Levitt David Collins 1991 1 2 3 4 6 10
Daniel Collins 1790 7 8 9 10 12
Ely Pouget Maggie Evans 1991 1 2 4 5 6 8 9 12 8
Veronica Lauren Sarah Collins 1991 1 3 4 6 9 12 9
1790 7 8 9 10 12
Michael Cavanaugh Sheriff George Patterson 1991 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 10
André Du Prés 1790 7 8 9 10 11
Stefan Gierasch Professor Michael Woodard 1991 1 2 3 4 10
Joshua Collins 1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Julianna McCarthy Mrs. Johnson 1991 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 12
Abigail Collins 1790 7 8 9 10 11 12
Eddie Jones Sam Evans 1991 1 2 5 6
Bailiff Henry Evans 1790 9 11 12
Rebecca Staab Daphne Collins 1991 1 2 3 3
Adrian Paul Jeremiah Collins 1790 7 8 9 3
Ellen Wheeler Phyllis Wicke 1991 6 7 8 9 12 5
1790 12
Steve Fletcher Deputy Jonathan Harker 1991 1 2 4 8 4
Wayne Tippit Dr. Hyram Fisher 1991 1 1
Rif Hutton Paramedic 1991 1 1
Hope North Gloria 1991 1 1
Michael Buice Muscles 1991 1 1
J. B. And The Niteshift Roadhouse Band 1991 1 1
Georg Olden Gardener 1991 1 1
Basil Langton Reverend 1991 2 1
Bruce Barbour Deputy 1991 2 1
Eddie Hailey Deputy 1991 2 1
Charles Lane Antique Dealer 1991 6 1
Laurel Wiley Girl 1790 7 1
Courtenay McWhinney Crone 1790 7 1
Apollo Dukakis Reverend Amos 1790 9 10 2
Shawn Modrell Ruby Tate 1790 10 1
Richard Burns Customer 1790 10 1
Richard Evans Customer 1790 10 1
Robert S. Telford Innkeeper 1790 10 1
Brendan T. Dillon Judge Isiah Braithwaite 1790 11 12 2
Dick Valentine Jury Foreman 1790 11 1
Joanne Dorian Nurse 1790 12 1
Ralph Drischell Dr. Roberts 1790 12 1
Donald Wayne Minister 1790 12 1


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Episode One"Dan CurtisDan Curtis, Steve Feke, Hall Powell, and Bill TaubJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)
Victoria Winters arrives at Collinwood, a Gothic mansion on a cliff overlooking the ocean near the small Maine seaport town of Collinsport. She is the recently hired governess to troubled 10-year-old David Collins. David's gruff father, Roger, distrusts her, but his mysterious widowed sister Elizabeth is more hospitable. The simple and trouble-making groundskeeper, Willie Loomis, nephew of Collinwood housekeeper Mrs. Johnson, is convinced of an old Collins family legend of buried treasure and breaks into the Collins family crypt, accidentally releasing vampire Barnabas Collins from his tomb. Barnabas introduces himself as a distant relative from England and begins to romance Victoria. At the same time, the town of Collinsport is beset by a series of deadly attacks.
2"Episode Two"Dan CurtisJon BoorstinJanuary 14, 1991 (1991-01-14)
After being bitten a second time by Barnabas, Daphne Collins dies and rises a vampire. She attacks first David, and then her boyfriend Joe Haskell who is bitten and falls under her spell. Professor Michael Woodard enlists Sheriff Patterson and the police to help him stop Daphne before she claims another victim. Meanwhile, Dr. Julia Hoffman discovers Barnabas's secret when he casts no reflection in a mirror. She offers to cure him of his curse. Roger is revealed to be having an affair with local artist and tarot reader Maggie Evans.
3"Episode Three"Dan CurtisJon BoorstinJanuary 14, 1991 (1991-01-14)
Dr. Julia Hoffman begins her experiments to cure Barnabas of his vampirism. Meanwhile, Professor Woodard attempts to uncover the identity of the vampire and begins to suspect Barnabas, but Julia will do anything to keep him from finding out. Victoria begins to fall for Barnabas. Barnabas is haunted by guilt over his lost love, Josette. David begins having nightmares about Daphne, Caroline and Victoria turning into vampires and attacking him. Later, the ghost of Sarah Collins tells David that a newer evil exists.
4"Episode Four"Dan CurtisDan Curtis, Steve Feke and Sam HallJanuary 18, 1991 (1991-01-18)
Julia and Sheriff Patterson respond to a call by Professor Woodard and discover that he is now a vampire; they are forced to kill him. The photo evidence Woodard claimed to have is gone. As Julia continues treating Barnabas, he begins to cast reflections and can walk for a limited time in daylight. Sarah Collins appears before Victoria and leads her to Sarah's diary. Meanwhile, an evil apparition of Angelique (a nemesis from the past) begins to manifest at Collinwood.
5"Episode Five"Armand MastroianniMatthew HallJanuary 25, 1991 (1991-01-25)
After learning of Barnabas' affection for Victoria, a jealous Dr. Hoffman decides to sabotage the progress of the cure. Barnabas' blood cravings return and he ages rapidly, reflecting his true age of 200 years. Meanwhile, Caroline resumes her romantic pursuit of Joe despite his reluctance to move forward. Maggie has another vision of something terrible happening to Caroline.
6"Episode Six"Armand MastroianniJon Boorstin, Steve Feke and Dan CurtisFebruary 1, 1991 (1991-02-01)
Having reverted to his evil self, Barnabas bites Carolyn and puts her under his spell. He persuades her to kill Julia. Elizabeth throws a costume party at Collinwood. Barbabas now avoids Victoria and is bent on seeking revenge against Julia, who soon realizes that Carolyn is targeting her. When confronted, Barnabas tries to kill Julia until an intervention by Sarah prevents him from doing so. At Maggie's suggestion, a séance is held to contact Sarah for answers, but during the event Victoria disappears and another woman appears in her place.
7"Episode Seven"Paul LynchJon BoorstinFebruary 8, 1991 (1991-02-08)
Transported to the year 1790, Victoria meets the residents of Collinwood each of whom strongly resemble the present day residents. Victoria becomes the tutor for Daniel and Sarah Collins. Victoria also meets and makes an ally of Peter Bradford, the Collins foreman, as well as the young Barnabas who is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his fiancée Josette. But Josette's handmaid, Angelique, is determined to keep Barnabas for herself. Angelique is revealed to be a powerful witch who makes the simpleton Ben Stokes her slave. Abigail Collins begins to suspect Victoria of witchcraft.
8"Episode Eight"Dan CurtisM. M. Shelly Moore, Linda Campanelli and William GrayFebruary 15, 1991 (1991-02-15)
In 1790, a jealous Angelique uses witchcraft to make Josette fall in love with Jeremiah. Meanwhile, Victoria and Josette are stunned by their striking resemblance. When Barnabas learns that Josette and Jeremiah are planning to elope, he purses them and a deadly duel ensues. Abigail only grows more suspicious of Victoria. In the present day, Elizabeth, Julia and the rest of the family deal with the presence of the ailing Phyllis while trying to find a way to bring Victoria back to the present.
9"Episode Nine"Rob BowmanMatthew HallMarch 1, 1991 (1991-03-01)
During Jeremiah's funeral, Josette accuses Barnabas of killing her true love. Abigail enlists the aid of Reverend Trask to have Victoria Winters jailed for witchcraft. Barnabas hires Peter as Victoria's lawyer to defend her. Meanwhile, Angelique uses black magic to resurrect Jeremiah as a zombie under her control to kill Josette. When Barnabas finally discovers that Angelique is the witch responsible for everything going on, he kills her, but not before she curses him with eternal life as a vampire. In the present, the Collins family continues looking after the ailing Phyllis, while Carolyn continues to be under Barnabas' control. Maggie holds another séance to try to find Victoria, but Angelique's spirit arrives and possesses Julia.
10"Episode Ten"Rob BowmanM. M. Shelly Moore and Linda CampanelliMarch 8, 1991 (1991-03-08)
In 1790, the Collins Family mourns the apparent death of Barnabas as they move into the new Collinwood mansion. Meanwhile, Peter enlists Natalie's help to help Victoria prove her innocence. That same night, Barnabas rises as vampire and makes Millicent his first victim. The vampire attacks in Collinsport only increase the fanatical Trask's belief that the incarcerated Victoria is responsible. Victoria tries to persuade Josette to leave Collinsport before something happens to her. In the present day, Joe discovers that Carolyn is under Barnabas' control. When Sheriff Patterson refuses to do anything, Joe plots to take matters into his own hands.
11"Episode Eleven"Mark SobelWilliam GrayMarch 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
Victoria's witchcraft trial begins. Rev. Trask, acting as the prosecutor, plays on the fears of the community and presents testimony from Abigail. Despite Peter's best efforts at a defense, including testimony from Ben that Angelique was the real witch, Angelique's spirit appears in open court and accuses Victoria of being the witch. In the meantime, Josette continues to fall under Barnabas' control as he seeks to make her his vampire bride. Angelique tries to protect Josette by giving her visions of her life as a "creature of the night". In the present day, Joe tries to stake Barnabas in his coffin, but is prevented by the possessed Julia who kills him before she is subdued by Willie.
12"Episode Twelve"Mark SobelM. M. Shelly Moore, Linda Campanelli and William GrayMarch 22, 1991 (1991-03-22)
In 1790, Barnabas' vampirism is finally discovered when he lures his mother, Naomi, to the old house to reveal himself. Abigail also arrives at the old house and Barnabas kills her. Daniel and Sarah witness the events and become lost in the woods while attempting to flee. Sarah falls ill and soon dies. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to save Victoria by filing every appeal possible. Victoria realizes that Barnabas is a vampire and that Angelique is responsible for bringing her to 1790 as part of a plan to destroy the Collins family. When Barnabas learns about Victoria's plight, he gets revenge against Reverend Trask by walling him up alive in the old house. Joshua learns that Barnabas is a vampire. He has Ben seal Barnabas alive in his coffin, and has Naomi, driven insane from the truth, imprisoned in the tower at Collinwood. In the present, Maggie attempts to perform an exorcism on Julia to expel the spirit of Angelique, who instead possesses Maggie and tries to kill the comatose Phyllis. In 1790, Peter tries to help Victoria escape, but he is shot and severely wounded. Just as Victoria is about to be hanged, she is transported back to the present, and Phyllis is transported back to 1790 and hung in Victoria's place. Victoria now knows all about Barnabas and his secret, and he is aware that Victoria knows about him.

Ratings and cancellation[edit]

Dark Shadows premiered as a four-hour miniseries event on January 13 and 14, 1991, and then moved to a regular Friday night schedule.[3][4][5] The series debuted to great success, averaging a 22 share for the first three episodes. But due to the onset of the Gulf War which was fully televised at the same time as Dark Shadows on most stations including NBC, the latter station was frequently forced to interrupt or move broadcasts. For this reason, the show faltered, as ratings declined, and struggled to keep its audience. In addition to the war, some fans blame the declining ratings on the focus of NBC's promotions which relied upon horror and vampire themes rather than the romantic fantasy elements.[6] With the 12th and last episode of the season ranked 64th among 83 shows, Dark Shadows was cancelled.[7] NBC received over 7,000 letters of protest from disappointed fans, who also picketed network headquarters in both Los Angeles and New York City.[7][8]

Media releases and rebroadcast[edit]

The original VHS release from MPI Home Video features an extended pilot episode and extended final episode, and also presents the original one-hour versions of episodes 2 and 3 (for broadcast, NBC combined them into a movie-length version so they could air that and the pilot as a 2-night mini-series to kick off the series premiere), so the home video presentation of episode 3 restores the "I'm Victoria Winters" opening narration that was left out of the movie-length version (the one-hour versions of these two episodes are also the ones that were shown when the series was repeated on the Sci-Fi Channel).

The 2005 DVD release from MGM Home Video, although re-mastered in High Definition, contained alterations to the original image presentation. Firstly, the overall image was cropped from the original full-screen image to a 1.78:1 widescreen ratio. Secondly, after remastering, certain scenes that were shot "day for night" (shot in daylight, but meant to be altered in post-production to look like night-time) were incorrectly left untreated, presenting the problem of a vampire walking around in broad daylight. Also, this release presented the episodes the way they were shown on NBC, meaning episodes 2 and 3 were the "movie length" version and the unaired footage from the MPI release was not included at all (not within the context of the episode or even as a bonus feature).

The DVD version has been re-released in 2009 since that time in different packaging.

Dark Shadows has been shown in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel and Chiller. Since 2009 the series has been available for viewing online on Hulu.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nutt, Shannon (October 18, 2005). "Dark Shadows: The Revival – The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Dougherty, Margot (January 18, 1991). "The Vampire Strikes Back". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Carter, Bill (January 9, 1991). "NBC Puts New Blood In Old Vampire Series". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Nemy, Enid (January 13, 1991). "TELEVISION: Dark Shadows Returns to Haunt Prime Time". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  5. ^ The two-hour first episode aired on January 13, 1991 and Episodes 2 and 3 were presented as a two-hour block the next evening.
  6. ^ Pierson, Jim (1993). Dark Shadows Resurrected. Pomegranate Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-938-81724-6.
  7. ^ a b Braxton, Greg (March 28, 1991). "Pickets in Burbank Ask NBC to Revive Dark Shadows". Los Angeles Times. Times Mirror Company. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Pocharski, Susan (April 26, 1991). "Mail-Order TV". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Djeljosevic, Danny (12 October 2009). "Watch Full Episodes Dark Shadows (1991) Season 1 Online". WebTVWire.com. Retrieved 23 May 2013.

External links[edit]