Dark Shadows, the late 60s-early 70s TV show that made a teen heartthrob out of 40 something Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid, is coming back to television. According to Deadline, The CW aims to reboot the property as a sequel series. Here’s what you should know about the show’s history and its future.
A Brief Guide to the Original Dark Shadows
Debuting in 1966 on the ABC network, the original weekday series was a Gothic soap opera. The show focused on the sprawling Collins family and their serialized supernatural adventures in Collinsport, Maine. Although it got off to a slow and rocky start, things picked up once Frid appeared as vampire Barnabas Collins. Between his character and the show’s teen-friendly time slot, the show exploded in popularity.
Unfortunately, that target audience would later be part of the key to its demise. After 5 years, ABC was looking to cut costs and maximize profits in a stagnant economy. Although Dark Shadows was relatively inexpensive, its primary audience–teenagers–were not major consumers. They didn’t buy the products–food and household goods–advertised during the show’s airings, so the show was expendable. It didn’t help, of course, that ratings had dropped in the previous 2 years. So, the show came to an end in 1971.
All of the Other Dark Shadows Sequel Works
Eva Green in Dark Shadows, image via Warner Bros
Just kidding–I’m not giving y’all a dissertation on every adaptation. That’s because it’s been adapted A Lot. The original series itself has been transformed into movies, novels, radio shows, a floor wax, a dessert topping. (I may be making up some of those.) They’ve also tried to reboot the show several times. The most successful attempt was in 1991, although The WB tried again in 2004.
The most successful adaptation of the Dark Shadows story is probably Tim Burton’s 2012 film version. Starring beautiful angels Eva Green and Michelle Pfeiffer (and someone called Johnny Depp?), the film received mixed reviews from critics. As for its box office performance, welp, it hit theaters around the same time as the indie film The Avengers. Dark Shadows did pretty well overseas, though!
And it brings us to the new show, The CW’s Dark Shadows sequel series. As for what exactly that means, Mark B. Perry, who is writing the pilot, envisions it as like Star Trek: The Next Generation. In other words, a modern take on the original that’s still faithful to the classic. Perry, who’s written for shows like Law and Order (omg) and Revenge (omgomg), says he loved the OG Dark Shadows as a kid. So other fans can expect him to respect the material.
Having never seen a single dark shadow, much less multiple Dark Shadows, I just have one question. How is this sequel series going to be different from The Originals? Or Legacies? Or any of The Cee Dub’s other supernatural shows? Yell at me in the comments and let me know.
Featured image via ABC
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.