Dark Shadows (1991 TV series)

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Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows (1991 TV series).jpg
Also known as Dark Shadows: The Revival
Created by Dan Curtis
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Running time 55 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor MGM Television
Original network NBC
Original release January 13 (1991-01-13) – March 22, 1991 (1991-03-22)

Dark Shadows (later referred to as Dark Shadows: The Revival[1]) is a prime-time television series which aired on NBC from January to March 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 (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]



No. Title Writer Director Original airdate
1"Episode One (Pilot)"Dan Curtis, Steve Feke, Hall Powell, and Bill TaubDan CurtisJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)
Convinced of an old Collins family legend of buried treasure, Handyman Willie Loomis accidentally releases vampire Barnabas Collins from his tomb. Barnabas introduces himself as a distant relative from England and begins to romance Victoria Winters, the new governess at Collinwood Manor. At the same time, the town of Collinsport is being upset by a series of deadly attacks.
2"Episode Two"Jon BoorstinDan CurtisJanuary 14, 1991 (1991-01-14)
After being bitten by Barnabas, Daphne Collins dies and rises a vampire. Dr. Julia Hoffman discovers Barnabas's secret and offers to cure him of his curse.
3"Episode Three"Jon BoorstinDan CurtisJanuary 14, 1991 (1991-01-14)
Dr. Julia Hoffman experiments to cure Barnabas of his vampirism. Professor Michael Woodard attempts to uncover the identity of the vampire.
4"Episode Four"Dan Curtis, Steve Feke and Sam HallDan CurtisJanuary 18, 1991 (1991-01-18)
The ghost of Sarah Collins leads Victoria to her diary. An evil apparition of Angelique (nemesis from the past) begins to haunt Barnabas.
5"Episode Five"Matthew HallArmand MastroianniJanuary 25, 1991 (1991-01-25)
Learning of Barnabas’ affection for Victoria, a jealous Dr. Hoffman decides to sabotage the progress of the cure for Barnabas.
6"Episode Six"Jon Boorstin, Steve Feke and Dan CurtisArmand MastroianniFebruary 1, 1991 (1991-02-01)
When a séance is held to contact the spirit of Sarah, Victoria mysteriously vanishes. In her place appears a stranger from 1790.
7"Episode Seven"Jon BoorstinPaul LynchFebruary 8, 1991 (1991-02-08)
Transported to the year 1790, Victoria meets the residents of Collinwood and becomes a tutor for Daniel and Sara Collins. Abigail Collins suspects Victoria of sorcery.
8"Episode Eight"M. M. Shelly Moore, Linda Campanelli and William GrayDan CurtisFebruary 15, 1991 (1991-02-15)
A jealous Angelique uses witchcraft to prevent the marriage of Barnabas and Josette Du Pres. A deadly duel ensues.
9"Episode Nine"Matthew HallRob BowmanMarch 1, 1991 (1991-03-01)
Josette Du Pres accuses Barnabas Collins of killing her true love. Abigail Collins enlists the aid of Reverend Trask to have Victoria Winters jailed for witchcraft.
10"Episode Ten"M. M. Shelly Moore and Linda CampanelliRob BowmanMarch 8, 1991 (1991-03-08)
The Collins Family mourns the apparent death of Barnabas as they move into the new Collinwood mansion. Barnabas rises as a vampire.
11"Episode Eleven"William GrayMark SobelMarch 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
Victoria’s witchcraft trial begins. Angelique’s spirit seeks to prevent Barnabas from making Josette his vampire bride.
12"Episode Twelve"M. M. Shelly Moore, Linda Campanelli and William GrayMark SobelMarch 22, 1991 (1991-03-22)
Barnabas' vampirism is discovered. Peter Bradford attempts to save Victoria from being hanged as a witch.

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] Though the series debuted to great success, watched by nearly 1 in 4 households, ratings declined as the show struggled to find an audience. Some fans blame the declining ratings on the onset of the Gulf War, and the focus of NBC's promotions on horror and vampire themes rather than romantic fantasy themes.[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 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. 

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