Originally airing in the afternoon in 1966 as a half hour "gothic" soap opera then a few months later morphing into pure supernatural story telling, Dark Shadows is unique in American television. Though not 'run' live, the show was taped with almost no interruptions so it 'felt' live. Only the most catastrophic of events would cause producers to re-shoot a scene. The show is famous for the occasional slip-up: crew visible on screen, a boom-mike shown above the actors' heads, actors struggling to remember their lines or actors calling another character by their wrong name. Still , this only helped to give the show a theatrical feel, as if you were sitting in the audience watching a live piece of theatre which consequently endowed the show a certain prestige that typical soap operas never achieved. Former movie star Joan Bennett, headlined the show as the Collin's family matriarch, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Ms. Bennett's 'old' Hollywood trained voice & poise gave the show glamour. Many of the jeweled baubles Ms. Bennett wore on the show were the real thing from Ms. Bennett's private collection. Closing credits of the shows always had.."Fashions by Orbachs.." The show is great for, if nothing else, a study in late 60s early 70s fashion sensibilities. From Ms. Bennett's upswept hairdos & flowing chiffon dresses or tailored skirt/blouse 'sets' to the younger womens' minis & long flip hair styles, the show's a veritable time capsule of retro chic. But the show is so much more than its fashion. The show is a true American Gothic original.
This show an envolope pusher in it's time and way ahead of it's time. People who watch Buffy and Angel now and have never seen Dark Shadows may think the WB was original in it's thinking, but veiw reruns of Shadows and you will see the truth in originality from thirty years before.