And this Andrew O'Hehir review sounds promising. FWIW, a couple of points about that review, though. O'Hehir says:
If you’re too young to have seen the original “Dark Shadows” — which remained a daytime staple, in reruns, well into the 1980s, and is now available on DVD in (almost) its 1,245-episode entirety — or just aren’t wired that way, explaining its importance may not be possible. The main thing to point out is the immensely different cultural context in which the show emerged. Barnabas Collins predates not just “Twilight” and “True Blood,” but also Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire” and the entire rise of the Goth sensibility. In the 1970s, vampires were something that only marginal weirdos who went to science-fiction bookstores and watched Hammer films like “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” knew about. People like the teenage Tim Burton, in other words. (Christopher Lee, who played Dracula in seven Hammer movies, has a cameo role here, at least his fifth performance for Burton.)
Many of us unlucky enough to be conscious during the 1970s were desperate for markers of cultural difference, and “Dark Shadows” offered a big one in the years before punk rock. If you were into that show, you probably listened to records by Alice Cooper and the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground. You read Tolkien, and Harlan Ellison. You also watched “Star Trek,” an extremely different kind of show with some odd similarities. (Each became more popular after their cancellation; each starred a Canadian Shakespeare actor — William Shatner and Jonathan Frid, respectively — who took a low-paying TV gig that would define the rest of his life.) You probably knew the guy in your town who sold Acapulco Gold and Panama Red.I was watching the TV serial, Dark Shadows, in the years 1966-1967, when it came on after school at 4 pm, so a few years earlier than the time period that the movie parodies. Even so, the characterization of the typical viewer that O'Hehir describes above doesn't quite fit. E.g.:
1. "desperate for markers of cultural difference," Not me. I wasn't desperate because my "markers" were quite obvious. Furthermore, everyone I knew loved that show, including my mother who watched it with me! If anything, I would have watched it to fit in, not to be different. But I didn't - I just loved it.
2. "If you were into that show, you probably listened to records by Alice Cooper and the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground. You read Tolkien, and Harlan Ellison. " Uh, nope. The Stones, sure - "Satisfaction" was just playing on the radio. But Alice Cooper? Ick. And I never heard of the Velvet Underground until I was in my 30's. As for reading, I was into murder mysteries, Agatha Christie being one of my favorites.
3. "You also watched “Star Trek,”" I liked it okay - but I did have a classmate who was a fanatical fan, and we all thought she was kind of weird.
4. "You probably knew the guy in your town who sold Acapulco Gold and Panama Red." Bingo! But, yeah, not until 1970....