Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The show depicted the lives, loves, trials, and tribulations of the wealthy and psychotic Collins family of Collinsport, Maine, where a number of supernatural occurrences take place.
This series became popular when vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) appeared ten months into its run. It would also feature ghosts, werewolves, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe. A small company of actors each played many roles; as actors came and went, some characters were played by more than one actor.
This soap opera was distinguished by its vividly melodramatic performances, atmospheric interiors, memorable storylines, numerous dramatic plot twists, adventurous music score, broad cosmos of characters, and heroic adventures. The original network run of the show lasted for nearly five years to amass 1,225 episodes.
In 2004 and 2007, it was ranked #19 and #23 on TV Guide’s Top Cult Shows Ever.
Since 2006, the series has continued as a range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, featuring many of the original cast, including David Selby, Lara Parker, and Kathryn Leigh Scott.
Creator Dan Curtis claimed he had a dream in 1965 of a mysterious young woman on a train. The following day Curtis told his wife of the dream and pitched the idea as a TV series to ABC. Network officials greenlit production and Curtis began hiring crew members.
Art Wallace was hired to create a story from Curtis’s dream sequence. Wallace wrote the story bible Shadows on the Wall, the proposed title for the show, later changed to Dark Shadows. Robert Costello was added as a line producer, and Curtis took on the creator and executive producer roles. Lela Swift, John Sedwick, and Henry Kaplan all agreed to be directors for the new series. Robert Cobert created the musical score and Sy Tomashoff designed the set.