Thursday, January 27, 2011

40 Years Ago, Saying Goodbye

40 years ago today, episode 1198 of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV and viewers saw their final glimpses of Barnabas and Julia as they returned to the present day. The show would continue for another couple of months, but for much of the audience, this was the end of Dark Shadows as they knew it. By now, Barnabas and Julia's exploits were the heart and soul of the stories and without them, the 1841 Parallel Time episodes that followed all too often felt like the exploits of strangers. Despite Jonathan Frid's best efforts, for most of the viewers, Bramwell Collins must have just seemed like an imposter.

Though cancellation was by no means certain at this point, there seems to be a sense of the series winding down. Returning to 1971 from their adventures in 1840, Barnabas, Julia and Professor Stokes are relieved to discover they've succeeded in changing history and that Collinwood is saved. For once, it's a genuine happy ending, as Elizabeth informs them that the family has enjoyed a happy winter.

Even better, they're late for an important event – Roger's giving a speech at the local historical centre – and they must hurry along to join the rest of the household. Amidst the regular melodrama of the Dark Shadows world, something as simple as the Collins family enjoying a night out seems every bit as weird and wonderful as any of the show's ghosts and vampires. It's a lovely note to end on – our once-troubled cast of characters united, happy, and looking to the future. What a pity we don't get to tag along too.

Having promised to catch Elizabeth up, the last word, of course, goes to Barnabas and Julia. "We'll never forget any of them, Barnabas," says Julia, reflecting on those they lost in 1840. "Never," agrees Barnabas.

And off they go, fading away.

Episode 1198 is included on Dark Shadows DVD Collection 25, available from Amazon.com.

8 comments:

barnabascousins said...

What a lovely post.

Chad Moore said...

Your wonderful post almost made me cry!

susied said...

Thank you!

barnabasjr said...

Beautiful, thank you, Stuart!

luvsbarn said...

An enjoyable read. Thanks. Also, the photographs that accompany it are superb. I especially like that new suit that Barnabas is sporting. Look closely and you'll notice that Frid's sideburns are longer in preparation for the upcoming Bramwell role.

Robert Sharp said...

A great post. As I've said before, too bad this wasn't the last episode. Dark Shadows should have remained in the "present time" of 1971 and let us enjoy the "anchor characters" of Liz, Roger, Carolyn, David, Quentin, Prof. Stokes and, of course, Barnabas and Julia.

paramedictom said...

Very well put! Stuart you have a way with words my friend!

jtbwriter said...

Love this post...seeing Julia and Barnabas together for one last time makes me miss them all the more. The parallel time story that followed was ok..but this is how I will remember DS.