Today marks the debut of Tim Burton’s big-screen adaptation of the classic Gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, and I’ve heard mixed opinions from diehard fans of the original series. Well, actually, I’ve mainly heard quite a bit of disgust from fans of the original series.
As I mentioned in a past post, I was born literally months after Dark Shadows went off the air, so I never experienced that desperate need to run home after school and catch the latest installment of the Collins family’s dramas. (Oddly enough, I hurried home to catch reruns of another 60s series, The Monkees, on Nickelodeon, even though it was the 1980s.)
|21 Jump Street|
However, I feel your pain, Dark Shadows fans. Ironically, this year also marked the release of a comedic reboot of Dark Shadows star Johnny Depp’s TV series from the past: 21 Jump Street. In college, I was a huge 21 Jump Street fan. My friends and I would gather around a tiny TV screen in a dorm room every Monday night and rate each episode’s worth by how many times Johnny Depp appeared onscreen. When I heard someone was turning the late-80s/early-90s drama into a movie, I cringed. When I heard Depp was reprising his role as undercover officer Tom Hanson in the movie—and Hanson might be *gulp* killed off—I was mortified. The series certainly wasn’t a masterpiece in the annals of television history, but it’s part of my memories of youth.
I didn’t run out and see the new 21 Jump Street in theaters. I may one day rent it, because I begrudgingly found myself chuckling at some of the scenes in the trailer. But I did make peace with it and realized, hey, this is a way for the old series to come out of the dusty archives of the past and hold a place in the spotlight again.
The same is true of Dark Shadows. The original cast members make cameo appearances in Tim Burton’s adaptation, and, according to Kathryn Leigh Scott’s guest post here at Suburban Vampire last September, they loved reuniting for the movie. In a recent interview, Lara Parker, the original Angélique, said of the whirlwind of publicity for the film, “I did so many interviews on the red carpet. And the phone has not stopped ringing. It’s just so wonderful.”
I know some of you may wince when I say I’ll be seeing Dark Shadows in the theater with my twelve-year-old daughter, who shares my love of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp films. But I promise I’ll also introduce her to the original series. If you believe Burton is making a mockery of a beloved TV show from the past, remember this: modern twelve-year-old kids probably wouldn’t even know about Dark Shadows if the movie wasn’t bringing Collinwood back to life and contributing to the characters’ immortality. Because of this film, today’s teens will learn that vampires didn’t always sparkle, and sometimes they started off on small screens in black and white.
Some Dark Shadows goodies from both the past and the present: