‘Dark Shadows: Reincarnation’ in Development at the CW — Plus An Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Original

There is probably no more unique a show in television history than the original Dark Shadows TV series, as revealed in a series of exclusive interviews with cast and crew that you’ll find below. A Gothic horror soap opera that ran weekdays on ABC from 1966-71, Dark Shadows turned reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) into a cult sensation, resulting in a phenomenon you couldn’t imagine if you weren’t there when it first happened. Think of Beatlemania or Batmania (as in the Adam West Batman TV series), and you may have a sense of how crazy it was. Now the CW is attempting to capture a bit of that magic — supernatural and otherwise — with Dark Shadows: Reincarnation.

The network has given the green light for a pilot script to be written by producer Mark B. Perry, whose credits include The Wonder Years, Brothers & Sisters, Ghost Whisperer and Revenge. As revealed by Deadline, the show will not necessarily be a reboot, but will purportedly be a modern day continuation, which suggests that the characters from the original will be picking up where they left off. Describing himself as a first-generation fan, Perry says that while he couldn’t imagine taking the place of the original’s creator, the late Dan Curtis, he hopes to guide the franchise into the future.

“I also want to reassure fans of the original,” he says, “that this version will treat the show’s mythology with the same reverence given to Star Trek, but will also make the show accessible for audiences who aren’t yet familiar with the macabre world of the Collinses. My plan is to take as few liberties as possible with the Dark Shadows canon, while bearing in mind a quote from a 1970s episode delivered by the inimitable Oscar-nominee Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman: ‘The Collins family history is not particularly famous for its accuracy.’”

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Bob Wands/AP/Shutterstock

This will be particularly reassuring to those fans who were so turned off by the 2012 movie version directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.

The original show, subject of the documentary Master of Dark Shadows (more on that later), and which began airing reruns on the Decades TV network last October, found its own unique place in television history and had fans running home from school to catch each episode. The Decades TV network, which recently aired the show, offers, “With its alluring tales of gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, Dark Shadows earned the reputation of being one of the most unusual and enduring programs in broadcasting history, turning supernatural creatures into unlikely heroes, among them the witch Angelique (Lara Parker), werewolf Chris Jennings (Don Briscoe), the Devil himself, Nicholas Blair (Humbert Allen Astredo); Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall), Willie Loomis (John Karlen), Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott), ghost/zombie/werewolf Quentin Collins (David Selby), and so many more.”

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(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Dark Shadows tells the tragic tale of the Collins family, a seemingly well-to-do patriarchal dynasty that ran a dark New England town from their family estate, appropriately called Collinwood. Into this world enters a young nanny, Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke), who soon learns there is a lot more to the Collins family than initially meets the eye. Mysterious relative Barnabas moves into the dilapidated “Old House” next door, and soon the household is beset with classic monsters, including werewolves, witches and ghosts.

While we wait for more information on Dark Shadows: Reincarnation, scroll down below for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the history of Dark Shadows

Be sure to check out and subscribe to our Classic TV & Film Podcast for interviews with your favorite stars! 

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