The CW has officially announced the cancellation of the Dark Shadows reboot, but it could still happen under the right circumstances – here’s how.
On November 4, 2020, the CW announced that they would be canceling the Dark Shadows reboot. Since it was announced over a year ago, it has been highly anticipated by fans of the cult classic gothic soap opera. Despite the fact that the Dark Shadows reboot won’t premiere on the CW, it’s still entirely possible that it could come to life on another network or streaming service — here’s how.
The series was set to be titled Dark Shadows: Reincarnation and Mark B. Perry was working on fully developing it for television. Perry’s credentials include Revenge and Ghost Whisperer. Perry was set to write the pilot episode, but it never went into development and unfortunately won’t be released any time in the near future. The original Dark Shadows series premiered in June of 1966 and continued until 1971. Dark Shadows follows the Collins family, who live in Collinsport, Maine. The town is filled with supernatural occurrences and once Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), a vampire, arrives, the series becomes even more otherworldly. As the show progressed, it included werewolves, parallel universes, and other instances of supernatural oddities. Proving its popularity and longevity, Dark Shadows was later transformed into a 2012 movie starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas, and was directed by the iconic Tim Burton.
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The Dark Shadows movie wasn’t as successful—despite having incredible talent attached—due to its poor rendition of the cult classic characters. Fans and critics believed it didn’t uphold the same air as the original, and thought it fizzled out towards the end. With the prospects of a television series rebooting the Collins family as they navigate the 21st century, fans were notably anticipating their return. The CW has tackled iconic franchises and reboots before, with Riverdale spinning off Archie Comics and Dynasty being redone with a modern update. However, the network chose to cancel the series for unknown reasons, but it’s likely due to popular, existing properties taking priority over an unproven reboot. While the pilot for the Dark Shadows reboot series was never filmed, it has been written, which means it possibly could still happen.
There have been several major announcements in regard to horror TV shows in 2020. For example, Netflix sold the rights to the anthology series, Slasher, to Shudder, which will release Slasher season 4 exclusively through their streaming platform. In November 2020, Hulu officially announced that they’ve chosen to cancel Castle Rock, which was based on several Stephen King novels and stories that take place in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. HBO’s The Outsider—another King series—is also looking for a new home at a different network.
At this moment, there are numerous shows being shopped around or becoming available to be picked up by a new network or streaming service. Now that Netflix has lost Slasher, it’s possible that they could be looking to replace it with another horror series, which could mean Dark Shadows may find a home with them. Netflix has seen success with original horror TV series before, such as Ratched and The Haunting of Bly Manor, two of their top programs in 2020. At the same time, Shudder is constantly building its lineup. Shudder, which is owned by AMC, is known for being a niche streaming service curated by horror fans for horror fans. As such, acquiring the rights for a cult classic gothic television series’ reboot could be exactly what they’re looking for. While Dark Shadows could pose as a risk for some networks to take on, it has the potential to be an incredible opportunity if done right, and Shudder already has a proven, captive audience of horror fans.
Dark Shadows’ cult classic status makes it a major name to acquire for any streaming service or network that is looking to fill a gap in their current lineup. While the CW may have passed, this doesn’t mean the end for the series. It’s still possible that the Dark Shadows reboot could move to a new network or platform, but it’s also possible that the CW will shelve it until they feel it is the right time to return to the property. With COVID-19 still causing hiccups in the entertainment industry, necessary cuts—and temporary ones alike—have had to be made, but the show’s enduring popularity could mean big things for its future.
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