Revival -- the good and the bad

The 1991 series starring Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins.
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Revival -- the good and the bad

Postby Erica » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:37 pm

I stubbornly resisted watching the Revival series for many years. I can't stand remakes in general, and I didn't want to see a rehash of my beloved Dark Shadows. However, last year, after that travesty of a movie came out, I figured I should watch something that at least tried to be some sort of homage. So I watched the 12 episodes on NetFlix.

Overall? Glad I watched it, but I have no desire to ever do so again, nor did I regret that it didn't continue. Granted, it was of much better production quality -- but I missed the cheesy effects, the bloopers and the feel of the old show. That was part of its charm, for me. Ben Cross was OK, but he just wasn't Barnabas to me.

The Good: I really liked Joanna Goings' version of Victoria Winters. She captured her vulnerability perfectly, but she had a bit of steeliness that Alexandra Moltke didn't. And I liked the twist of having her play both Victoria and Josette. Also, even though it was a completely different take on the character, I liked Barbara Steele's Julia Hoffman. I thought they did a good job of following the original, even though they didn't have much of a chance to get into it.

The Bad: Two words -- Jim Fyfe. OMG. From under what rock did they scrape this moron? His version of Willie Loomis was a travesty. John Karlen's Willie was so nuanced, so poignant and richly textured. His fear and anxiety were palpable. In Fyfe's hands, Willie was an idiot. And what was up with those rotten teeth?

Next: Whose brainchild was it to reduce Maggie's character to some dummy who didn't do much of anything except screw Roger Collins?

Couple more: Since when do vampires hiss and roar like angry cats? And really, did we need those fake French accents on everyone in the 1795 flashback?

Thoughts, anyone? Did you like it, or not like it? Why? Do tell.

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Re: Revival -- the good and the bad

Postby Silverednickle » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:21 am

I personally enjoy the revival. While it is certainly not the original story, sometimes it's nice to get away from the wobbly sets and usually by the time I'm done, I'm ready to return to the less-lavish sets. I appreciate how they balanced loyalty to the original story and rewriting some of the more dated or clunky storylines (not that I don't miss them at the same time).

Ben Cross is not Barnabas to me. He's a good villain Barnabas, but I feel that when he's good back in early 1795 that he's insincere. I thought that they did a good job with Vicki in this one. While her parentage takes a serious backseat, she's a much more interesting character. I guess I get tired of Moltke's reprise of "I don't understand" and her very many incriminating blunders in 1795.

I will agree that Willie Loomis was such a bad variant- why did 2012 make the such a similar mistake? I found how they tied Willie into the history of Collinwood, though it is depressing to think that 200 years later little has changed for the Loomises.

While I don't like this Maggie, I think it's hard to have both Vicki and Maggie. Remember that in the original story when Barnabas was making Vicki into Josette passively that Maggie was hidden away at Windcliff and presumed dead. In House of Dark Shadows, there's no Vicki character at all. In 2012, they decided to fuse the characters, which had mixed results. I did like having Maggie as a psychic and sort of guide when they hold the séance. In 1960, it was a little weird that Dr. Hoffman was also a séance expert on top of psychologist/blood-specialist. However, Maggie did do very little for the story in the end.

The vampires of 1990s were so humorous! All that growling and hissing :lol: I also always find it funny in these vampire storylines where there's so much violence. If they need blood to live, then why do they spill their food all over the place. Does blood not work with the five-second rule? Also, the whole "where did all the blood go?" question doesn't really work when the victim has been dyed red by all of it.

As much as I have some issues, I did enjoy the 1990s. Going through it a second time, they were able to iron out issues that would have arisen through revival in the original show (like Barnabas saying Josette was his uncle's young bride that he initially didn't care for and then fell in love or changing dates). However, I am happy to go back to the original tale by the end of the 12 episodes.

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Re: Revival -- the good and the bad

Postby GPC » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:53 pm

Ben Cross was AWESOME in that role. Jonathan Frid, bless his soul, wasn't bad. But Ben out acted him hands down.

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