Dark Shadows (2004 WB Pilot)
Dark Shadows is a 2004 pilot shot for the WB, which seemed like it was set to be picked up as the network originally ordered a further 6 scripts. The idea for resurrecting this franchise came from John Wells and his production company, who then decided to include Dan Curtis into the production. Prior to this, Mr. Curtis had been interested in doing it himself and brought the idea to Fox in 2001 with a script written by Eric Bernt.
The pilot's script was written by Mark Verheiden, who originally wanted to set the story out of the view point of a much older David Collins, however Dan Curtis and the network both disliked this idea very much. Verheiden then opted for a much more conservative approach, but still was able to give it its own identity and even introduce new characters to Collinwood. The subsequent script had been described by Peter Roth as the best script that he had read that year.
With the script finished, production was ready to begin on the pilot. Rob Bowen would have helmed the project but was forced to abandon it after another project that he was attached to received the green light. PJ Hogan took over the director's chair and production began on the 2nd of April 2004, though at the time production started, not all of the roles had been cast yet.
Filming had been completed and 80% of the visual effects had been done when the WB executives decided to pull the plug. They stated that the script was wonderful and that the producing team was great as well but that the resulting pilot had fallen flat as they did not agree with the vision of the director, even though they concede he is accomplished in the film arena. At this time they already spent $6 million on the pilot and did not wish to spent any more money.
Since then the pilot has been screened at Dark Shadows conventions but is yet to be available to the majority of the population. Currently, the only pieces of the pilot to have been leaked are the script, the full audio and two short clips.
Darren Gross "Dark Shadows Staked" Fangoria 239 p62 January 2005
Screened at Cons, usually on a Friday night when most people are not at the con to see it.