The gothic soap opera that focused on Barnabas Collins and the rest of the creepy Collins clan scared the bee Jesus out of me when I was a kid but I adored every minute of it and rushed home from school each day to watch my favorite characters. I especially loved the time travel, when they were swept back to Colonial New England. Funny how each member of the Collins family had someone back then who looked exactly like them.
Through the years, I’ve wondered if I would enjoy watching it again, or if it would seem too dated as many shows from that era do. In 1991, Hollywood attempted a weak remake, which lasted only a few episodes, and thankfully so.
Now director Tim Burton will try his hand at another remake scheduled to reach theaters in May 2012. I’m intrigued, but more frightened because Burton cast Johnny Depp in the lead role. That’s not surprising, since Depp is Burton’s favored actor for most of his films. But Depp’s Michael Jackson-like performance in Burton’s update of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” paled in comparison to Gene Wilder’s and I’m afraid the same will be true when compared to Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas Collins. However, there probably isn’t an actor I would consider right for the role. The character is too iconic, just like the Barnabas portrait that hung in the hall in Collinswood, and was featured prominently in every episode.
Still, Burton, who also claims he was obsessed with “Dark Shadows” as a kid, will bring the story to new generations, and with vampire popularity at its height, he’ll most likely have a hit on his hands.
And for those of us who love the original series, we know nothing will ever be as good. Sometimes it’s impossible to recapture the magic.