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DVD Review: DARK SHADOWS The Revival

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DARK SHADOWS The Revival Series

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 592 minutes (12 episodes on 3 discs), Kingdom Hospital trailer

STUDIO: MGM/ SPHE

RELEASE DATE: 10-18-2005

DARK SHADOWS is the tragic tale of Barnabas Collins, a maniac depressive vampire with anger management problems. This TV series caught my attention in high school during the first half of 1991. Those 13 hours of the remake series kept me glued. I never saw the original series (but I have seen the two 1970s DARK SHADOWS movies). This short-lived remake of the gothic soap opera from 1960s was notable now for two actors who went on to star in their own TV series: Adrian Paul (highlander) and Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender). I'm actually rooting for Barnabas (Ben Cross) to have a happy ending and not the tragedy his life has become since he has become involved with the lady servant (Angelique) of his one true love (Josette) back in 1790.

For all that don't know the story of DARK SHADOWS, I will tell you quickly. Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) is sent to Collinwood to be the governess of David Collins. Soon she and the Collins family meet Barnabas. She falls in love with the tragic vampire while Doctor Julia Hoffman (Barbara Steele) seeks to cure Barnabas. The series is a horror soap opera that has an ongoing storyline that even takes place back in 1790 during many episodes of the series (with a few scenes to show what is happening in the present day). I love the actors involved in this series and the mood (and look) as DARK SHADOWS is a very addictive series that I would have loved to have seen the resolution to the cliffhanger. I hoped they could have remounted the series years ago to resolve the cliffhanger or even tell it in the comic books (from Innovation), but the fans will never know. The one thing that could have corrected that is if MGM would have recorded an audio commentary with the people behind the revival series.

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The fault with this DVD release is that the proper aspect ratio for the DARK SHADOWS revival series is 1.33:1. This release has been cropped to be widescreen. It is further obvious when you see the title and end credit sequences in a window boxed form.

The other minor flaw I found is that it doesn't look like they cleaned up the episodes for this release as plenty of grain/video noise do rear their ugly little head at times. Also signs of dirt pop up from time to time on a few episodes (mostly on disc one). Then color saturation does vary while some scenes appear warmer than others (but it could be due to the way it was shot too).

AUDIO: English 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: None- only close captioned

The dialogue is clear while the music (and sound) make full use of the Dolby Surround. I do wish they had an English subtitles option for the episodes. It just seems to be one of the things never included for MGM TV on DVD releases.

SPECIAL FEATURES: only a trailer for the KINGDOM HOSPITAL DVD. I wish they recorded commentaries for some of the episodes with the cast and crew. Also they ddin't include any deleted scenes (the fans who own the Revival series on VHS have seen three of the episodes with more footage).  It's a missed chance.

DISC ART/SLEEVE ART: It's fantastic looking. I only wish the art design for the FOREVER KNIGHT DVD sets were this good. I love the discs being in thin cases.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I wish SPHE would have delayed this release to get the episodes presented in their proper OAR and cleaned up the episodes when Sony acquired MGM. It's not a bad DVD set, but I wish the DARK SHADOWS revival series was more for such a great short-lived series.  I mjust hope SPHE issues a better set of DARK SHADOWS in the right OAR with extras soon (or license it out to MPI).

this DVD Review is (c)10-31-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com