The Grassy Knoll Institute proudly introduces a new Pilot episode for a Revamped Dark Shadows Series. Dark Shadows was a TV soap opera than aired “Live” in the late 60′s and early 70′s. The show centered around Barnabas Collins, a 175 year old vampire, set back in 1966, stalking the townsfolk and also his own family. The Grassy Knoll Institute has written a continuation pilot set in the modern time.
Return Of Victoria Winters
My name is Victoria Winters!!!
That voice overlay was the beginning of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows that debuted in 1966 and ended in 1971. The soap opera was set in a little town off the coast of Maine called Collinsport. In Collinsport, the Collins family were the most powerful, influential, and wealthiest family in town. They owned multiple factories, land, houses, and property. They also seemed to own the local police department and other civil and political people. Oh, and something else. They had a family member named Barnabas who was a 175 year old vampire.
After a very slow ratings start, the series took off when Barnabas arrived at the Collinwood Estate entrance doors introducing himself as a long lost cousin from England. From that episode on, Dark Shadows became a cult classic. Not just for the miscues, (Both prop and actor) or the campy writing, but for the entire story slowly being told. A tale of a love so strong that not even death itself could contain. The ratings went through the roof as kids and adults would race home from school and work to catch the next episode of Dark Shadows.
In 1971, as rumor would have it, several cast members did not wish to continue for fear of being typecast. The show hastily ended in the middle of a story line and a voice overlay concluded the series summing up all the characters lives and where they would wind up. The camera focused on the portrait of Barnabas Collins hanging in the main entrance of the house and then slowly faded into the dark shadows of darkness.
Two movies came from Dark Shadows, “House Of Dark Shadows” and “Night Of Dark Shadows”. Both were a huge success although did not receive rave reviews. In 1991, a revival of sorts occurred and the series was retold with new actors. Ben Cross portrayed Barnabas through one season as it was canceled as well.
Since then, Dark Shadows remains alive in reruns on the Sci-Fi channel and in video and DVD rentals and sales waiting patiently, silently for another chance. And another chance the show almost got as the WB network ordered a pilot for the show and all seemed a go for Dark Shadows to be on the fall network schedule. Alas, several misfortunes befell the show and WB canceled the series without even the pilot being shown. Apparently the director hired at the beginning left in the middle for a more lucrative opportunity and another director was left to piece the puzzle together. The end result was a hodge podge of a series and WB executives felt it wasn’t capturing the essence of Dark Shadows thus condemning it to an early demise. WB has no further plans to revive the series and do not even plan to air the pilot. The Dark Shadows project was dead.
Until the Grass Knoll Institute and the Inner Sanctum got involved. The writers at the Sanctum has come up with a script and a storyline that will satisfy the network and the past and future Dark Shadow enthusiasts and fans.
As told by the editor of the Grassy Knoll Institute..
The pilot begins exactly as the original series except it’s in the present time. Victoria Winters boards a train in the evening after receiving a strange letter from Collinwood asking her to become the governess to a young man named David Collins. The original voice over would be used…….
“My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is just beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high atop Widow’s Hill . . .a house called, ‘Collinwood’. A world I’ve never known with people I’ve never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows.”
The new series will reveal who Victoria Winters parents were and why she was beckoned to Collinwood. In the original series, Vicky was written off the show before it was revealed who her parents were and why she was sent away to an orphanage.
Continuing with the pilot, Victoria hails a taxi from the train station in Bangor, Maine and heads towards Collinwood. She shares a ride with Burke Devlin, a man who has a chip on his shoulder. A man with a mission. Victoria arrives at the great house and stops at the massive double oak doors of Collinwood. She stops and looks around, a knowing look, as if she realizes where her path will be taking her.
Yes, she is “Thee” original Victoria Winters. That is the dark secret to the new series. Also, it is the tie in to flashbacks that will utilize original footage from the TV series. This will offer the opportunity to bring the original cast into the new series.
Victoria, in the original series, if you remember, was trapped in the past with her lover. The date was 1795 in Salem, Mass where Victoria was accused of being a witch. She escapes with the aid of her lover and is quickly written out of the show. Now, she has miraculously returned home. And although it’s forty years later, she hasn’t aged a single day. The current Master of Collinwood is David Collins, the son of Roger Collins. David’s memory was erased by hypnosis because of a tragic childhood, and doesn’t recognize Victoria when he greets her yet senses that he knows this woman. David comments that his uncle Barnabas has chosen wisely in his selection of Victoria as the governess for his young son Quentin Collins.
Victoria is startled to hear that Barnabas is still a part of the family and is barely able to conceal her fright. David warns Victoria that Collinwood isn’t always what it seems and to take notice of the dark shadows that lurk in the corners of the old mansion. At this point, David laughs stating that he is just breaking the ice with Victoria and that Collinwood has been a quiet peaceful town for over forty years.
(This could be one of the first flashbacks to the original series where Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard and Roger Collins are waiting in the drawing room for Victoria to arrive. Roger warns Elizabeth that the Collins family has to many ghosts and secrets to have a visitor living in the house.) This sets up the same premise and feel for the present.
At this time, Victoria meets David’s son, Quentin, and the handyman for Collinwood and the old house, Ben Stokes. Ben is the descendant of the original Ben Stokes, protector of Barnabas the Vampire. His father foretold that one day a woman named Victoria Winters would arrive at Collinwood and that soon afterward, things would change. Ben knows he must inform Barnabas immediately that Victoria is back in town.
If Jonathan Frid is up to the challenge, he would reprise his role as Barnabas Collins, the now over 200 year old vampire. To compensate for his age, the story line would reveal that Julia Hoffman finally cured Barnabas of his vampire affliction in the late 1970′s and since then, Barnabas has been living out his life at the old house with his one true love, Maggie Evans, who is the reincarnated Jossette Dupree. Barnabas, from his many trips into the past and future, knows that Victoria Winters is coming and he knows what her secret is. Will Barnabas be strong enough to fight her?
Of course, Angelique will still be lurking about. Laura Parker would reprise her role as the evil witch and mysteriously appear the same night Victoria Winters does. She takes over the long abandoned cottage on a remote plot on the Collins estate. The cottage from lack of use lay in shambles, furniture overturned, drapes torn, carpet ripped, dirt and clutter on every inch of the floor and walls. As Angelique comes out of a trance, the cottage mysteriously transforms itself to it’s original quaint splendor. Even the lights are working though no electricity is attached to the cottage. Angelique’s powers have weakened over the years and will use the cottage to regenerate and prepare to continue the curse that she cast upon the Collins family and in particular, Barnabas. Since her powers have been drained, she must stay at the cottage but creates an alter ego of herself so she can go into town and to Collinwood to conduct her evil business. Of course another actress would portray the young Angelique.
The Inner Sanctum will introduce the rest of the cast and storylines including Quentin Collins, Gerard Stiles, Tim Jennings, The bartender of the Blue Whale, Carolyn Stoddard, and several other new suspicious and erie characters that will carry the new storyline.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the new series of Dark Shadows.
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LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL