Yeah, this is one of those things that depends on who you are talking to or reading. Some people only count the period of migration as the Dark Ages, there are others that go as far as the 14th century. I have to be honest, I haven't given the labeling a lot of thought. As for myself, I tend to think that Alfred did quite a lot to pull England out of the Dark Ages. But the issue of labeling of individual time frames is one of those things that seems like it's a matter of personal perspective.Unfortunately, we don't have the sudden appearance of Bronze or Iron which would allow us to say "Bronze age!" and just be done with it. Instead, the Dark Ages are more of a cultural and intellectual thing. And so it's a lot more wishy washy. At what point do we have enough information and do we have enough free thought to be considered out of that period? I don't know if I can give you an authoritative answer on that. :/As for your other question, I suspect that it will take us 3-6 months for us to get to Alfred. But mapping out the podcast isn't as easy as you'd think so those dates aren't as firm as I would like them to be. It might go faster, or I might end up chasing down some tangents that stretch the period out quite a bit farther.