After initially being staked and left for dead in 1971, former ABC serial chiller Dark Shadows was revived as a primetime thriller and a Hollywood blockbuster directed by frightmare master Tim Burton. Get ready because it seems that it might be resurrected once again – and make a return to your television screens!
According to Deadline, who first broke the story, The CW and Warner Bros. Television have banded together to develop a (slight) new take on this cult classic. Titled Dark Shadows: Reincarnation, the new hourlong series will be a “modern-day continuation of the strange, terrifying and sexy saga of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine – a mysterious, influential, publicity-shy group hiding a ghastly secret.”
Prolific scribe Mark B. Perry – whose credits include soapy primetime pleasures Revenge and Brothers & Sisters – will helm the project and write the pilot script. Perry, a self-described super fan of the original, has spent the past two years, “aggressively pursuing the rights,” according to the entertainment news site.
“As a first-generation fan, it’s been a dream of mine to give Dark Shadows the Star Trek treatment since way back in the ’80s when Next Generation was announced, so I’m beyond thrilled and humbled to be entrusted with this resurrection,” revealed Perry.
And not only are The CW and Warner Bros. behind Perry and his vision, but the writer also has two major supporters in Tracy and Cathy Curtis, the daughters of legendary producer/director Dan Curtis. It was their father who initially sold ABC on the concept of a Gothic soap opera and then produced the endeavor through his personal production company. Curtis passed away in 2006.
The original Dark Shadows was a staple of the ABC daytime lineup from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971, where it occupied a late afternoon timeslot. Originally a Turn of the Screw-esque series about an orphaned governess who finds employment with the Collins family at their cliffside castle, Dark Shadows was, at first, a series where the scares and the supernatural were more implied than overt.
But faltering ratings and the threat of cancellation saw the addition of a whole host of fantastical creatures including vampires, witches, werewolves, Frankenstein-type monsters, and a filicide-minded Phoenix.
Following the final daily episode, the series entered syndication (a rarity for daytime soaps), and its continued popularity led to a rebooted primetime version in 1991 starring Ben Cross and Joanna Going (ex-Lisa Grady, Another World).
Despite initial high ratings and critical acclaim, the launch of the series coincided with the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf Conflict and the frequent pre-emptions for coverage resulted in a second cancelation for the franchise. Since 2006, the series has been kept alive through full-cast audio plays released by the UK-based company Big Finish.