The CW has driven a stake through the heart of another attempt at bringing the Dark Shadows franchise back from the dead. Last week, the network reportedly scrapped plans to develop Dark Shadows: Reincarnation, a new horror drama based on the cult classic TV soap opera from the 1960s. The project was set to be written by Revenge writer Mark B. Perry and was the first attempt to bring the franchise back to television since 2004.
The new show would have been a follow-up to the original series, set in a modern-day Collinsport, Maine. Fans will never get to see what that would have looked like. Over a year after the project was announced, TVLine reported on Nov. 4 that Reincarnation never even got the pilot stage. It is no longer in development at The CW.
Reincarnation was announced in September 2019, Deadline reported. Perry was set to executive produce with Amasia Entertainment's Michael Helfant, Bradley Gallo and Tracey Mercer, and Tracy Curtis and Cathy Curtis. The new series would follow the Collins family, which is trying to hide a shocking secret from the rest of Collinsport's residents. Perry, who said he became a fan of Dark Shadows when it originally aired, aimed to bring the franchise back to the gothic atmosphere of the series. "My plan is to take as few liberties as possible with the Dark Shadows canon while bearing in mind a quote from a 1970s episode delivered by the inimitable Oscar-nominee Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman: ‘The Collins family history is not particularly famous for its accuracy,'" Perry said in 2019.
Tracy and Cathy Curtis are the daughters of series creator Dan Curtis. They took the show to Mercer, who is also a fan of Dark Shadows. Mercer then introduced the Curtis sisters to Perry, who instantly impressed them. "I felt my father was watching from above and smiling down on us," Tracy Curtis said. "Tracy and I couldn’t be happier to have Mark take viewers back to Collinwood. Mark has opened up our father’s universe with fresh storylines and new characters that will delight original fans even as they thrill younger viewers."
The original Dark Shadows ran for over 1,000 episodes on ABC from 1966 to 1971. It became popular when Jonathan Frid's vampire Barnabas Collins was introduced. Since the property remains popular, there have been other attempts to revive it. In 1991, MGM developed a series that ran on NBC for just one season. A pilot was produced for another revival in 2004, but it was not picked up. Lastly, Tim Burton directed a film adaptation in 2012, but it received mixed reviews and no sequels were produced.