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Series / Dark Shadows (1991)

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Dark Shadows (later referred to as Dark Shadows: The Revival) is a 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.

This 1991 version of 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.

This series features examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The much younger-looking and sexier Ben Cross in comparison to the untraditionally attractive Jonathan Frid as Barnabas.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Willie.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Not to the level of the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows, but definitely a bit more graphic than the original Dark Shadows series.
  • Brainwashed: Both Daphne and Joe, after being bitten by Barnabas and Daphne herself, respectively, awaken determined to return to their attacker so that they can finish the job. In Joe's case it's Brainwashed and Crazy, as he overpowers a police officer on the way.
  • Canon Foreigner: Daphne Collins, a cousin of David and Carolyn with unseen, presumably deceased parents; technically God-Created Canon Foreigner as the first five episodes of the show were co-written and directed by original series creator Dan Curtis.invoked
  • Composite Character:
    • Though a Maggie Evans does exist in this series, this version has Victoria Winters in her place as Josette's doppelgänger and the Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest to Barnabas. Maggie is instead a barmaid and Tarot reader, who conducts the séance that sends Victoria back in time.
    • The subplot for Carolyn Stoddard and Todd Blake in the 1971 Alternate Continuity movie House of Dark Shadows is repeated here with Joe Haskell and Daphne Collins: Carolyn/Daphne is Barnabas's first major character victim, rises as a vampire and bites her love interest Todd/Joe, who regains consciousness in bed in Collinwood and obsessively seeks her out, rendering his guard unconscious. Todd/Joe makes his way to Carolyn/Daphne's lair and surrenders himself to her for the final bite, but the good guys interrupt them, restrain him and destroy her.
  • Creepy Child: David.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Willie, even before the series picks up.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Daphne Collins. Her counterpart Elizabeth's secretary Daphne Budd originally survives being attacked by Barnabas in House of Dark Shadows, but the 1991 series gives her Carolyn's storyline from the film: turned into a vampire, scares David, bites her boyfriend, hunted down by crucifix-wielding police and staked to death.
    • Joe Haskell is killed by an Angelique-possessed Julia. He survived the original series, albeit having been Put on a Bus to a mental hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown from all the crazy shit he'd witnessed.
    • Subverted for Millicent. She dies much earlier in the original.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Woodward. The fate is similar to the original series- Woodward learns the truth, forcing Barnabas and Julia to murder him to cover their tracks. However, the adaptation has Barnabas turn Woodward into a vampire and has him attack the sheriff and then get staked by Julia, thus framing Woodward for all of Barnabas' murders.
  • Kissing Cousins: Barnabas with both Daphne and Carolyn. Just kissing (and vampire biting), mind you.
  • Large Ham / Evil Is Hammy: Ben Cross as Barnabas..."WILLIE!!!!!!"
  • Local Hangout: The Blue Whale.
  • The Lost Lenore: Josette.
  • Lovecraft Country: Collinsport.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Belonged to Josette.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Angelique.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Much like its predecessor. They're prone to compulsive acts of heinousness and die after sunrise, requiring them to return to their coffins to avoid just being a corpse wherever they happen to be at the time. They can also mostly pass for human at night, until they prepare to feed.
  • Posthumous Character: Sarah Collins appears mostly as The Ghost to warn the characters, particularly Barnabas and David, of bad tidings.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Victoria Winters takes Maggie Evans's place as Barnabas's Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest for Josette.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation:
    • Jeremiah, originally Joshua's younger brother in the original series, becomes Joshua and Naomi's son and Barnabas and Sarah's brother.
    • Daniel, formerly a distant cousin and Millicent's brother, becomes Joshua and Naomi's son and Barnabas, Sarah and Jeremiah's brother.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Daphne, originally Elizabeth's secretary in House of Dark Shadows, becomes a Collins family member.
  • The Renfield: Willie, of course.
  • Revival: It is one of Dark Shadows.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Barnabas.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Naomi, for a certain definition of "spared". She doesn't react to Barnabas' vampirism with despair and suicide like in the original series. Instead, she goes insane.
  • Spooky Painting: Quite a few around Collingwood.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Willie, especially to Barnabas.
  • What Year Is This?: Used when Victoria gets sent back to 1790, with no irony or deconstruction. It's so she can fail to prevent Barnabas from being converted.