this past Friday that MPI Home Video is preparing an April 10th
DVD release of Dark Shadows - The Complete Original Series
. This is a $599.98 SRP collection with all 1225 episodes of the legendary gothic daily soap opera that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971, which is already up for pre-order at Amazon.com
at a nice discount! The listing at the big e-tailer has now been updated to show that it will be a 131-DVD set, coming in special coffin-shaped collectible packaging (shown below; we understand that it's going to roughly be the size of a shoebox).
MPI put the entire run of the series out on DVD in the past, with 32 different "volume" sets released between 2002 and 2008, and each of those sets usually containing 4 discs. So "131 discs" is a bit more than before. Fans have been wondering a few things about this new set, especially if the episodes would all be new transfers. The question also came up as to whether the 1970 and 1971 theatrical films, House of Dark Shadows
and Night of Dark Shadows
would be included on this release by chance? Also, in one episode (#451, according to reader Bruce A. Jasman, who we thank for his assistance with some of this!) the original DVD set's transfer accidentally removed a fan-beloved blooper. As Bruce describes it so well, the blooper is "that of an elderly actress playing a good witch who forgot her lines and...you could hear someone off-camera feeding her her lines
" The blooper was present in syndicated re-runs and on VHS, but missing from the DVD that episode was originally on. Would it be restored?
First, about the films: 1970's House of Dark Shadows
and 1971's Night of Dark Shadows
are owned by Warner Brothers, and unfortunately has not been made available to MPI for inclusion on Dark Shadows - The Complete Original Series
. Fans might be disappointed to hear that, especially those who have been hoping to see these on DVD since getting their hopes up back in 2006 when a response
during a live online Warner/HTF chat indicated that "A double feature DVD of the two DARK SHADOWS films
" was "likely" for the next year. However, 2007 never saw such a release...nor any year since. We've dug deeply into our rumor mill contacts in the industry, though, and we're pleased to say that the grapevine has borne some fruit! We've been told that the DVD releases of those two films ARE in the works, and likely to make it to market for lucky year 2013. That's a bit later than they would prefer, of course, missing an opportunity to tie in with the new theatrical remake Dark Shadows
film starring Johnny Depp as "Barnabas." However, it can't be helped, we understand...and better late than never! Since those ARE theatrical films, we're not sure how much further discussion we'll give it here; we don't cover home video releases of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
, after all. However, if we hear something major, we'll try to bend the rules and slip in the word somewhere...just a tiny bit!
With that out of the way, let's turn to the questions concerning whether or not there might be new transfers on this massive set. After all, there's that removed blooper to fix, and plus there's the matter of Episode #211, which was when Barnabas first arrived at Collinwood, and originally had been put on MPI's first DVD release (Dark Shadows - DVD Collection 01
) as an inferior transfer from a Kinescope...but then was later found and re-mastered and included as a bonus on the final DVD set release (Dark Shadows - The Beginning, Vol. 6: Episodes 179 - 209
). So we wrote to a contact of ours at the studio, asking about this. The reply we received should set fan expectations properly about the episodes on the upcoming release:
The episode with the blooper removed has been corrected for this new complete series boxed set. When Worldvision, the syndicator for television reruns of Dark Shadows, made new digital masters a few years ago, that blooper was edited out by a well-meaning technician by mistake.
Otherwise they are the same DVD masters as the original individual 4-DVD sets issued over the past 10 years. The restored episode 211 will appear in the complete series DVD set as a bonus in the exact same context as in the 4-DVD sets, at the end of the pre-Barnabas episodes in the "Beginning" portion of the DVDs.
That's all we know for now, but please keep in mind that things are still being finalized (including the packaging; the artwork shown below may not be final and could be subject to change). We're anxiously awaiting MPI's formal announcement and press release for Dark Shadows - The Complete Original Series
, which hopefully will be available soon. Stay tuned!