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SYFY WIRE Development

Development: Ian McShane biting into Dark Shadows doc; Netflix orders Unsolved Mysteries; more

By Josh Weiss
Barnabas Collins Johnny Depp Dark Shadows Tim Burton

Our latest genre development roundup involves daytime vampire soap operas, intriguing (and sometimes terrifying) mysteries, and two streaming sites. If that list doesn't get you jazzed right before the weekend, nothing will!

Ian McShane (American Gods, Hellboy) is all set to narrate Master of Dark Shadows, a blood-soaked documentary about the classic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows. Filmed in New York, London, and Los Angeles, the film includes interviews with the key people who helped bring the original ABC series to life, reports Coming Soon.

The show ran for a total of six seasons between 1966 and 1971, for over 1,000 episodes chronicling the life of the Collins family in Collinsport, Maine, the spot of many supernatural occurences. Dark Shadows is best known for the character of Barnabas Collins, a vampiric ancestor of the current family — he was originally portrayed by Jonathan Frid.

Directed by David Gregory (Godfathers of Mondo), the documentary is set for a spring release.

Tim Burton adapted the show into a comedy film in 2012 to mixed reception. Nevertheless, the cast of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Bella Heathcote, and Chloë Grace Moretz was top-notch.

Shawn Levy helped bring Stranger Things to Netflix audiences around the world, so it only makes sense that he'd help reboot Unsolved Mysteries for the streaming giant.

Per the official release, the new version of the series (comprised of 12 episodes) will be overseen by Robert Wise and original co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer. Both are acting as executive producers, too.

Created by Dunn Meurer and John Cosgrove (also an EP on the reboot) in the late 1980s, Unsolved Mysteries explored some of the most head-scratching enigmas in history, using re-enactments and documentary-style interviews to engage viewers. While crimes were obviously ripe for episode material, another big subject involved unexplained paranormal events.

Airing 260 episodes over 11 seasons, the show nabbed a total of six Emmy nominations. Raymond Burr, Virginia Madsen, and Dennis Farina were among some of the celebrities to act as host over the years.

"This modern take on the classic series will maintain the chilling feeling viewers loved about the original, while also telling the stories through the lens of a premium Netflix documentary series," reads the release. "Each episode will focus on one mystery and once again will look to viewers to help aid investigators in closing the book on long outstanding cases."

While there is no set date for the launch of Disney's own streaming service, Disney+, we will get our first look at it this April, according to Variety's Todd Spangler.

"Disney says it will demo Disney+ at its investor day on April 11, including first look at some of the original content for the SVOD service," he wrote on Twitter today.

The streaming service, which is meant to rival Netflix and Hulu, will feature a number of original television shows and films that are exclusive to the House of Mouse. Two of the most hyped programs at the moment are The Mandalorian (set in the Star Wars universe) and a currently untitled series revolving around the MCU's Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).

In addition to all of the original content, Disney+ will also include pretty much every Disney movie and TV series ever made, including Marvel and Lucasfilm productions.

Speaking of streaming services, it seems that Walmart will no longer be throwing its hat into the soon-to-be-crowded arena. CNBC reported the news today, citing an alleged breakdown of talks with media maven and former Epix CEO Mark Greenberg.

Rather than build an entirely new service from scratch, Walmart will put its energies into developing Vudu, a service it purchased back in 2010. Right now, the website allows people to watch movies and shows for free with ads playing at certain intervals. It also offers the option to buy and rent these properties in order to forgo the ads.

Vudu Walmart

"Vudu has developed a strong platform, and we aim to continue to bring our customers more content, on more devices, at the best possible price," Tara Raddohl-House, a Walmart spokeswoman, told CNBC.

In October, Variety wrote that Vudu is "the third-largest transactional VOD service in the U.S. behind iTunes and Amazon Video."