Shades of Darkness (1983–1986)
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A skeptical family moves into their new home despite warnings of a resident ghost. They soon become believers.


Simon Langton


Alfred Shaughnessy (script), Edith Wharton (novel)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Kate Harper ... Mary Boyne
Michael Shannon ... Edward Boyne (as Michael J. Shannon)
Penelope Lee Penelope Lee ... Alida Stair
John Grillo ... Harold Parvis
Meg Ritchie Meg Ritchie ... Trimmle
Rolf Saxon ... Robert Elwell
William Abney William Abney ... Inspector Gates
Merelina Kendall ... Agnes
Arthur Whybrow Arthur Whybrow ... Mr. Craig
Eric Francis Eric Francis ... Cooper


Mary and Edward Boyne relocate to England from America and purchase a country estate in the Cotswolds. They love the drafty old house with no electricity or modern heating and are particularly pleased when they are told there is a resident ghost. Soon after moving in they see a strange man walking in the drive but when they go to check, there is no one there. As time goes by, it becomes obvious to Mary that her husband is carrying a burden and is worrying about something. When Edward disappears after a stranger's visit, she learns of her husband's business dealings and identifies the visitor. Written by garykmcd

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Drama | Horror

User Reviews

Excellent adaptation of a Wharton ghost story
29 March 2003 | by MartaSee all my reviews

A great adaptation of Edith Wharton's marvelous, much-anthologized 1910 short story of the same name. "Afterward" was shown originally on PBS' Mystery! series in 1984, under the Shades of Darkness series name (which is still owned by Granada Television), this neglected gem and the 6 other shows in the series have not been shown since, which is truly a shame. They are all excellent adaptations of high quality ghost stories and deserve to be shown again. Contact Granada and ask them to release the series to DVD. Update: The Shades of Darkness series is on DVD as of 2010!

"Afterward" stars Kate Harper and Michael J. Shannon as the quintessential late-Victorian couple, living in Wisconsin. After coming into a huge cash windfall on a stock deal, they retire early to England, buying an antiquated, unelectrified country estate (that seems to take on a life of it's own) which is supposed to harbor an odd kind of ghost; they both long to be "forgotten by the modern age." Well, things don't quite turn out that way, and after an abortive visit by a mysterious stranger that the husband seems to recognize but afterward denies it, the wife is left with a growing dread that eventually culminates in tragedy.

Shannon doesn't have much to do in this except to smile vacantly most of the time; his fond Victorian husband stance speaks volumes about what the character really thinks of women, and you can tell it's not flattering. This show belongs to Kate Harper, though. She is the center of the piece, artfully dodging the Victorian concept of a wife, and at the same time breaking out into a more modern woman who asks questions and smoke cigarettes. She obviously does not want to know the details of her husband's "business," but after the "business" intrudes on her life she begins to push for answers. She does a good job at showing how ornamental the wife was supposed to be in the Victorian age, but at the same time there is intelligence in her character that her husband cannot see, and possibly doesn't want to see.

No one could write ghost stories like Edith Wharton, and this is one of her best. An excellent ghost story as well as an excellent treatise on Victorian married life, this is a must-see show.

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17 June 1983 (UK) See more »

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