Dark Shadows (2004 TV pilot)

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Dark Shadows
Directed byP. J. Hogan
StarringAlec Newman
Jessica Chastain
Marley Shelton
Producer(s)The WB
Camera setupSingle
Running timeApprox. 1 hour
Audio formatStereo

Dark Shadows is a one-hour television pilot that was a remake of the 1966–1971 gothic soap opera television series Dark Shadows. The pilot was commissioned by The WB and produced in 2004, but not picked up for a series.


The plot focused on Victoria Winters arriving by train to Collinsport. She is welcomed by Mrs. Stoddard, but experiences strange and disturbing dreams upon her first night in the house. She meets David Collins, who is constantly plagued by memories of his mother. Meanwhile, Willie Loomis and his girlfriend go to the Collinsport crypt in search of a treasure and open Barnabas's coffin. In the process, she cuts her hand and some blood falls upon the desiccated corpse, reviving him. Barnabas drains the girlfriend and attacks Willie. He later attacks Carolyn, walking home from a romantic encounter with Joe Haskell on his boat.

Barnabas Collins presents himself at Collinwood, and Victoria feels immediately drawn to him. He asks permission to restore the Old House, and although Roger cautions him against it, he is determined to proceed. David and Victoria visit the Old House and Barnabas shows Victoria a portrait of Josette DuPres, which greatly resembles her. This is in Josette's room, which had been walled up until now. Willie, now working for Barnabas, bears fang marks and cannot say enough about Barnabas. At night David wakes and goes into the wood, where he removes a dagger from the ground. What might be the spirit of Angelique is now apparently free. Meanwhile, Dr. Julia Hoffman at the hospital confirms that Carolyn's wounds match those of the corpse of Willie's girlfriend, who washes up on shore completely drained of blood.

Victoria goes to the hospital with Mrs. Stoddard to visit Carolyn, currently on life support. Carolyn, late at night, wakes and looks longingly out the hospital window, murmuring "Come back." When Victoria drives back to Collinwood she seemingly hits Angelique with her car. Angelique, who has crashed through the windscreen, and Victoria both scream.


The pilot included new characters not previously shown in the original or the 1991 versions of the series. Those characters include Sophia Loomis (Willie Loomis' sister), and Kelly Vance (Willie Loomis' greedy girlfriend). Characters Maggie Evans, Sam Evans and Sarah Collins from the prior versions did not appear in the pilot (although Sarah was mentioned by David).


Production began in 2004. The original director, Rob Bowman, had to back out of the project at the last minute due to other commitments, and the new director, P. J. Hogan, took the series in a different direction.[citation needed] Dan Curtis was not pleased with the result. Jim Pierson, who served as an associate producer, was also not satisfied with the pilot, and said that should the series have continued, there would definitely have been some casting changes made.[citation needed]

It was filmed at the Greystone Mansion, which also served as the Collinwood Mansion for the previous 1991 remake.

The pilot was never quite finished[citation needed] and some of the special effects still needed some work.


The pilot never aired because The WB passed on the series. It was screened at a 2005 Dark Shadows festival in Los Angeles, with subsequent showings at the 2006 Dark Shadows 40th Anniversary Festival in Brooklyn, New York, the 2008 Dark Shadows Festival in Burbank, California and the 2009 Dark Shadows Festival in Elizabeth, New Jersey.


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