TV Monsters We Missed: “Dark Shadows”
by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer
We ended this week’s TV-themed show “Monsters We Love” with an invitation to tell us about the series we didn’t include in the production — shows that matter to you that are telling a bigger story about who we are, what we fear, and who we aspire to be. Some of you responded with surprising, off-the radar recommendations.
Take the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. I’d never heard of it. Artist Patrick Lynch, who wrote to us from Paris, Kentucky, would run home after school to watch it. Patrick calls it the ancestral precursor to the modern-day vampire shows we’re seeing on TV right now:
”[Dark Shadows] tackled all of the same issues of morality, conscience, humanity, redemption, love, obsession, etc., foremost through the character of Barnabas Collins who was made a vampire against his will. This fully realised character was made possible by not only the scriptwriting of the time but actor Jonathan Frid’s deep understanding of the character through the seeking of the humanity underneath what superficially seemed like a monster.”
For Patrick, the gore and “fanging” weren’t the show’s leading draws. Rather it was vampire Barnabas Collins’ enduringly relatable quest to find home, love, and belonging.
About the image: A portrait of Barnabas Collins holding the music box of his long lost love Josette. (Painting by Patrick Lynch)