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ORGINAL TV GUIDE DARK SHADOWS REVIEW


The following is the review TV Guide critic Cleveland Amory gave Dark Shadows way back when:

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A few weeks ago, when we were down with the flu, we watched this show for a whole week. And you know what? Sick as we were — and we were a very sick boy — we were, compared with Dark Shadows, in the pink.
But then a remarkable thing happened. At the end of the week, by which time we had decided that this series was, in our considered judgement, the worst in the history of entertainment, we found that when Saturday came and there was no show, we missed it. And thus we arrived at a true understanding of the secret of Dark Shadows’ success — the worse it is, the more you’ll love it.
And take our word for it, this is the show for that. The people who run it obviously have their standards — and above them they will not go. When it comes to quality, they will never compromise with the lack of it.
No matter how terrible you think an idea is — wait, hold your judgment. The execution of it will be so bad that, in retrospect, the idea seems terrific. In the same way you may, on occasion — say, 10 times per episode — think some dialogue is utterly ridiculous. Again, don’t be hasty. Look at the action that once a week or so accompanies the dialogue. And once you’ve seen that action, you will look back on that dialogue as manna from heaven combined with the balm of Gilead.
Take the actors — please. Start with Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, mistress of the horror house of Collinwood. Miss Joan Bennett, an old favorite of ours, plays this part as if she’d just forgotten where she’d put it. All right, we know that a few weeks ago they had her killed off. But to count on a thing like that in a show like this is madness. They think nothing of digging up people who’ve been dead 200 years.
Next take Barnabas Collins, your friendly neighborhood vampire. Mr. Jonathan Frid, who plays this part, is at his best — i.e., worst — when he’s discovering something for the fourth time that somebody else already discovered for the third. “You mean,” he will say, “the second time you went back to the grave, it was freshly filled in?”
Go through the rest of the cast — every last one of them speaks his or her lines as if on the witness stand and paid by the word — by the prosecution. They can’t all be that bad, you say. Of course not. Some are worse than others.
The very worst, though, are the children — Amy (Denise Nickerson) and David (David Henesy). We swear to you that if we see those two talking to that ghost Quentin through that disconnected telephone one more time, we will call them on a connected telephone and read them this review collect.
Finally, take the executive producer. His name is Dan Curtis. Remember that name. And if you meet him on the street, speak kindly to him, and do not make any quick motions. For Mr. Curtis is a man who has, for publication, declared that he actually dreamed the whole story of Dark Shadows during, he says, “a big sleep in upstate New York.” In that case all you can think, or hope, or even pray is that Mr. Curtis never, ever gets that tired again.

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I don't think he wanted Jonathan Frid's autograph!!!

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