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Jan Spears

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  1. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    I looked up the ratings for Dark Shadows across the five years of its existence (season-rating-daytime soap ranking): 1965-66 - 4.1 - 13th (tie) 1966-67 - 4.3 - 12th 1967-68 - 7.3 - 12th 1968-69 - 8.4 - 11th 1969-70 - 7.3 - 12th 1970-71 - 5.3 - 16th (cancelled) The show started to take off in 1967-68 (focus shifts from Vicky to Barnabas in the present, 1795 storyline begins, introduction of Angelique) and then kicked into high gear in 1968-69 (introduction of many supernatural characters and elements, introduction of Quentin, 1897 storyline begins). The show did experience a drop in 1969-70 (1897 storyline concludes, Leviathans saga, Parallel Time storyline begins) but the true free fall occurred in 1970-71 (Parallel Time storyline concludes, introduction of Gerard and Daphne, 1840-41 storylines in regular and Parallel Time) -- dropping 2 whole points. Was the decline due to a particular storyline? Or had the show burned through story content and become repetitive? (i.e. The David-Hallie-Gerard-Daphne storyline was a rehash of the David-Amy-Quentin-Beth storyline.)
  2. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    I watched the final episodes (#s 274 and 275) of the Jason McGuire story this weekend, which aired on July 13th and 14th in 1967. I think these episodes represent a real turning point in the show. With Jason's death at Barnabas' hands, the show moved away from gothic melodrama once and for all. They're also a turning point because episode 274 is the last one to begin with, "My name is Victoria Winters." (Alexandra Moltke would stop being the exclusive narrator with this episode as well.) From this point forward, the show would be Barnabas' story rather than Vicky's story.
  3. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    Denise Nickerson's untimely death (at 62) got me thinking as to which cast members who were present at the start of the show are still alive: Mitch Ryan (Burke Devlin) - b: 1928 Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard) - b: 1943 Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) - b: 1943 Alexandra Moltke (Victoria Winters) - b: 1946 David Henesy (David Collins) - b: 1955 Those members of the original cast who've passed on include Joel Crothers (d: 1985), Joan Bennett (d: 1990) and Louis Edmonds (d: 2001). [Technically, Thayer David (d: 1978) and David Ford (d: 1983) weren't original cast members -- they were replacements. But I always think of them as original cast members.]
  4. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    Sad news -- actress Denise Nickerson (Amy Jennings) has died: https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/denise-nickerson-violet-in-willy-wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory-dies-at-62/ar-AAEaqTi?ocid=mailsignout
  5. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    I watched episode 270 yesterday (original air date: July 7, 1967). This is the episode where Liz is supposed to marry Jason McGuire but can't go through with it and blurts out at the wedding ceremony that, "I killed Paul Stoddard. And that man [Jason] was my accomplice!" This represents the culmination of the whole 'Is Paul buried in the basement?' storyline. It also signifies the end of the show's original gothic melodrama focus that had prevailed for the first year. I know most fans were ready to move on to full-out supernatural storylines at this time but I always liked this story. I especially liked how it ended: The 'A' storyline (Barnabas) intersects with the 'B' storyline (Liz/Jason) by having Barnabas be the one to kill Jason.
  6. Jan Spears

    The Hills

    Having watched the first episode, I have to agree with those posters who wrote that this reboot is nothing like The Hills. The biggest problem is that there is no sympathetic central "character" around whom all the action swirls. The Hills without that character is like Rebecca without the second Mrs. de Winter -- it doesn't work. The absence of Lauren Conrad as the central character spreads (and dilutes) the focus across too many supporting and peripheral characters; some of whom were never too likeable in the first place. As others have pointed out, the cinematography in this is very un-Hills-like. The original show was drenched in vibrant southern California sunlight. No matter what was going on with the storylines, you could always watch the show just to see how beautiful the production crew made southern California look. But in episode 1 of the reboot, everything looked so washed out. Even scenes in broad daylight had this washed out look to them. In fairness to all concerned, it's probably true that you "can't go home again". So better to reboot the show in a new style rather than try to recapture something that cannot be recaptured.
  7. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    On this day (06/30/67) in Dark Shadows history . . . Grayson Hall makes her first appearance (episode 265) as Dr. Julia Hoffman, who would become Barnabas' primary ally (and, at times, enemy) for the next four years.
  8. Jan Spears

    The Hills

    I suspect Lauren Conrad would agree with you, which may be why (at least in part) she declined to be a part of the reboot. The original version of The Hills was Lauren Conrad's story. Without her, The Hills is just another reality TV program (and one that's probably on the wrong network given the ages of the cast relative to the target demographic.)
  9. Jan Spears

    Dark Shadows

    I watched my favorite episode -- 233 -- again tonight on the 52nd anniversary of its original air date in 1967. This is the episode where Carolyn and Vicky are sheltering uneasily in the darkened drawing room at Collinwood while a massive storm rages outside. Barnabas arrives and delivers what is now known as the 'Josette soliloquy,' in which he recounts the night of Josette's suicide. Frid is spot-on with his performance and the mood of these scenes is incredible. The production staff manage to sustain the illusion of a powerless Collinwood lit only by a few candles, the fire in the fireplace and the flashes of lightning. Vicky still has her brain at this point in the storyline and Barnabas has to think fast when she makes a connection between his story and current events in Collinsport (i.e. Maggie's mysterious illness). Dark Shadows at its best!
  10. Jan Spears

    As The World Turns

    I greatly admired Julianne Moore for returning to ATWT during its final days. It was a nice way to say 'thank you' to the viewers and to the show itself for giving her her first big break in the industry. I remember reading an interview with her some time after she had left ATWT and had started finding work in movies. The interviewer asked her if she still got recognized from her dual characters on ATWT. She replied good-naturedly, "Till the day I day. It's my most enduring body of work!"
  11. Jan Spears

    All My Children

    I always looked forward to the closing credits when the original full theme music would play. The following clip has been on YouTube for awhile but has the original voiceovers playing over the music. A fan stripped out the voiceovers and added a pristine copy of the full theme to this revised version: I also loved the closing credits "scenes" when certain actors would carry on with that day's story. Often, the scenes weren't especially dramatic. For instance, you might see two characters folding laundry in a living room and carrying on a conversation (silently, because the theme music was playing) from earlier in the show. The closing credits scenes made Pine Valley seem like a real place.
  12. Jan Spears

    Halloween (2018)

    The entire movie was built on contrivances like that. Another example is how stupidly and irresponsibly the Haddonfield police acted. Michael's escape the night before Halloween and the murders at the gas station on Halloween were known to them. The police should have ordered people to stay inside on Halloween night while they hunted for Michael, Instead, we see the streets thronged with kids out trick-or-treating when Michael starts his rampage! I had a similar reaction and I think it was because so much of the movie consisted of set pieces from other movies in the series. The gas station sequence was cobbled together from similar scenes in Halloween 4 and H20. Michael's first nighttime appearance on Halloween was a recapitulation of three separate scenes from Halloween 2. Even the confrontation between Laurie and Michael at her stronghold depended heavily on their confrontation from Halloween.
  13. Jan Spears

    Halloween (2018)

    I saw Halloween yesterday. I didn't dislike it but it left me cold. The good points: 1) Jamie Lee Curtis was in fine form in her signature role. I agree with the poster who wrote that Curtis deserves consideration during the current awards season for her performance in this. But, I also agree with the poster's sentiment that this kind of film will preclude any such consideration. 2) I liked how the movie tried to give characterization and back story to many different characters and not just the three main female characters. I especially liked how Frank (the sheriff's deputy) was tied in to the events of October 31, 1978, and how he regretted stopping Loomis from finishing off the wounded Michael. 3) Halloween (2018) and its relationship to Halloween (1978) reminded me a lot of the relationship between Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Alien was a horror movie and Aliens was a war movie. The same thing applied with Halloween (1978) (horror) and Halloween (2018) (war). The bad points: 1) By dispensing with all of the accretions that followed in the wake of the first movie, the script writers made the current Halloween different -- but not necessarily better. I missed Michael being Laurie's brother, especially since the script writers went to so much trouble to create such a powerful matriarchy (mother-daughter-granddaughter) to serve as his antagonists. Michael returning to settle unfinished business (killing Laurie) 40 years later played as nothing more than vanity on his part. Also, I thought H2O had the better introductory set-up in that Michael had been missing for 20 years but was not presumed dead. This would have been a more powerful explanation for Laurie's paranoid survivalism in the current film than what was provided. 2) The finished movie made the mistake of having characters state something on-screen which was then contradicted by what the audience actually saw. Specifically, I'm referring to Laurie's constant admonitions that Michael will return/has returned to Haddonfield to settle a score with her. But what we actually see doesn't comport with those sentiments. Michael goes on a killing spree but there's no indication that he has any kind of plan to find Laurie. That their paths cross is complete happenstance. Michael ending up at Laurie's stronghold later in the movie is also a complete fluke. 3) The movie just wasn't very scary. There's the odd unsettling scene, as when Allyson is stuck in the back seat of the police car with Michael. But the enormous body count -- I counted between 18-19 on-screen deaths -- ended up making the movie less scary for me rather than more. I found myself tuning out and watching the movie more for the special effects than any actual scares. (And I really despised what Michael did to the young boy at the site of the bus crash.) I would still put Halloween 2 as the best of all the sequels.
  14. Jan Spears

    The Great Gatsby (2013)

    Happy Birthday to Scott Fitzgerald -- born this day in 1896!
  15. Jan Spears

    The Great Gatsby (2013)

    Especially since Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki have good chemistry together. Watching their scenes together in New York, I found myself wishing that Baz Luhrmann had made a screwball comedy with the two of them set in the 20s instead of the movie he made. Your memory isn't flawed. In the book, Nick very specifically states that he and Jordan were often together that summer and that he didn't always see Gatsby. There's even a passage toward the end of the book where Nick mentions how she would call him at work at a pre-arranged time because her own movements during the day made it impossible for him to find her. Fitzgerald could have written an additional chapter focusing solely on Nick and Jordan's adventures together, But, rather that deviate from the novel's tremendous forward progression, he would make certain comments about Nick and Jordan and then leave the rest to the reader's imagination.
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