Jonathan Frid, who died last month, originated the role of Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows in the 1960s. The original tortured-vampire TV series was truly a soap — daily airings, haphazard plotting, bad production values and all; Frid regularly stared off into the distance for long pauses, in what he admitted was an effort to remember his lines.
But its gloomy, sepia stories were still compelling; I sucked down most of them one high school summer, when I stumbled across SciFi Channel reruns. And Dark Shadows laid a lot of groundwork for Buffy and Twilight and True Blood. Frid was haughty, frightening, magnetically ugly and romantically tortured over the death of his lost love; there’s a lot of Barnabas Collins in Angel and Eric Northman, although both of those vampire antiheroes have been played by younger and prettier men.
All of which to say is that I am extremely skeptical about the movie version of Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp in his Willy Wonka drag and recycled Addams Family sets. Whatever aspersions you want to cast on the original series, and there are many you can, intentionally wacky slapstick was never its thing.