The long, long wait is finally over. After four years, six more audio readings, a fiftieth anniversary special, a sidestep into mysteries, an exploration of love and many, many short trips, Dark Shadows has returned with a brand new serialised mini-series; Bloodline.

Following on from the brilliant mini-series Bloodlust, we are thrust back into the world of Collinsport and its many happenings, both normal and supernatural. Has the long wait helped build the anticipation? Or does the series have to crawl back from six feet under?

Many moons ago, a terrible murder happened in the town of Collinsport. A murder that nearly drove the town to destruction as all attempted to solve the terrible deed. And sadly, many more were lost upon the way.

But now is not the time for such sorrow. Now is a time for happiness, as the wedding of Amy Cunningham-Jennings and David Collins finally arrives after so long. And many old friends have returned to witness the happy occasion.

But they are not the only ones joining the festivities. Many dark forces are arriving too. But only one seeks to disrupt the perfect day. Will Amy and David finally be wed, or will this be a night to remember for all the wrong reasons? In fact, will they even remember anything after this day?

Bloodline

After four long years of waiting, it’s hard to imagine anything that could possibly follow Bloodlust in its grand scope and scale. But when you have a talented team of Alan Flanagan, Will Howells, Aaron Lamont and Rob Morris and give them four years to build up a new batch of hell-infused nightmares to subject the people of Collinsport to, you can only be left with something good.

Admittedly, the series might be slow to start, but that is to be expected. We have a gigantic cast of characters to re-introduce and everyone’s plot strands need to be set up. But the colourful and diverse range of characters make up for it all and keep listeners engaged before the major plot cogs start turning. When they do start turning, they don’t give you a chance to stop for breath, throwing every twist and turn imaginable your way, along with interesting new ways of presenting the episodes. Episode 10 in particular is extremely well done and something that could only be done in this format.

The Cast

As for that gigantic cast, it is truly a masterful collection of brilliant performers. Each actor and actress involved gives their all in this series, helping to sell every last moment. Under the work of a fantastic team of directors, Ursula Burton, David Darlington and Joseph Lidster, everything is performed and blended together in such a perfect way, you forget that sometimes thousands of miles can separate two actors. There are even others who make appearances perfecting their scenes, sometimes with no effort required. To elaborate any further… well, that would ruin the surprise.

Music and Sound Design

Closing off the immense work for this epic tale is David Darlington’s stellar music and sound design. A task like this is hard enough for a regular two hour release, so a series spanning eight and a half hours can frighten even the most experienced master of sound. But Darlington pulls it all off with ease, mixing a perfect atmosphere of sound effects and chilling musical scores. Plus the re-orchestration of Robert Cobert’s original theme, full with ominous (and appropriate) pipe organs (or at least, that’s what it sounds like) is a beautiful and haunting interpretation, helping to properly add to the feel of the series.

Overall

If there is one criticism, it is that this series isn’t as newcomer friendly as the previous one. With the story having as grand a cast as this, it can be easy sometimes for some characters to get mixed up with voices and no visuals. But these are the only minor criticisms within this tale. Beyond that we have a grand sprawling epic, written to near perfection, directed to finesse by a fantastic team, performed by a phenomenal cast, and mixed by a sensational sound-smith.

It’s safe to say that the wait was long worth it. We would hope that there won’t be as long a wait for the next one, but it seems our hopes have been answered. We now only wonder what horrors await us when we check into Windcliff in April next year…

SYNOPSIS

“You know my family. It’s full of secrets we’d never want the world to know…”

In the Great House of Collinwood Amy Jennings and David Collins are finally putting years of tragedy and loss behind them and committing to a life together. And, as the ceremony approaches, friends old and new are drawn to the town at the edge of the sea.

Once again, the tortured vampire, Barnabas Collins, is amongst them. But this time he is not alone. After so many years away, Doctor Julia Hoffman has returned with him, finally convinced she has the means to cure his affliction.

But joy and happiness never last long in Collinsport, for malevolent forces are never far away. Among those gathered for the celebration are some who would conspire to tear the family apart. In this town some wounds refuse to heal, some secrets demand to be heard, and some sins cry out to be punished.

Welcome back to Collinsport.

Until death do you part.

Dark Shadows: Bloodline is available to buy as individual episodes on download at £3.49. Alternatively the complete series is available as two box set releases, Bloodline Volume One and Volume Two. The previous series, Bloodlust, is also available. The sequel series, Windcliff will be released episodically in April 2020.

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