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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

TV Monsters We Missed: “Dark Shadows”

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows) portraitWe 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.

The public will get to discover Dark Shadows anew when director Tim Burton releases his film adaptation starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins this spring.

About the image: A portrait of Barnabas Collins holding the music box of his long lost love Josette. (Painting by Patrick Lynch)

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