Dark Shadows (found pilot of The WB TV series; 2004)
Promotional image for the pilot.
Date found: 29 Jun 2017
Found by: All Things Dark Shadows & Beyond
Dark Shadows is a 2004 pilot shot for The WB, based on the 1960s Gothic soap opera of the same name. The pilot seemed like it was set to be picked up as the network originally ordered a further six scripts, but it was cancelled before completion and has never been formally released.
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 viewpoint 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 April 2nd, 2004, though at the time production started, not all of the roles had been cast yet.
Cancellation and Status
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. However, they felt that the resulting pilot had fallen flat, as they did not agree with the vision of the director, even though they conceded him to be accomplished in the film arena. At this time they had already spent $6 million on the pilot and did not wish to spend any more money.
Since then, the pilot has been screened at Dark Shadows fan conventions but is yet to be made 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. However, on June 29th, 2017, YouTube user "All Things Dark Shadows & Beyond" uploaded the full pilot (which is 39 minutes long).
- Mark Verheiden's script for the 2004 pilot in PDF format. Retrieved 28 Jul '18
- "Dark Shadows Staked" Fangoria Jan 2005; pg 62. Retrieved 25 Feb '17