A recent trip to Jacksonville gave me the opportunity to listen to the next Dark Shadows audio tale, The Flip Side. Continuing the ongoing thread of stories that has been weaving its way through the last five or so CDs, this tale focuses more on Carolyn (although Maggie, Sabrina, Amy, and Jim all make appearances in the story).
These stories seem to take place fifteen or so years following the end of the televised show (this is just my estimated guess - I don't know that a specific time frame has ever been referenced). Nancy Barrett, the actress who portrayed Carolyn Stoddard in the original TV show reprises her role in this audio drama. While she should only be in her 30s or 40s in the story, it is clear from her voice that she is considerably older than that in real life (which is odd, as the voices of the actresses for Maggie and Angelique, as well as Quentin, don't seem to sound quite as aged). However, despite the sound of age in her voice, Barrett is able to maintain the character of Carolyn, and listening to her deliver her lines, I can easily picture her carefree attitude, her sudden bursts of emotion, and that flip of her hair.
The story is about Carolyn facing the consequences of her uncle's actions. I have to give extra kudos to the writers of these stories that manage to not only incorporate continuity within the audio dramas themselves, but also incorporate elements from the stories on the TV show. In this tale, Jonah Rooney, the nephew of the Blue Whale's bartender, Bob Rooney, is revealed to be the son of the couple who were hit by Roger Collins' car way back when, the result of which was Burke Devlin taking the fall for the drunk driving incident. Even more fun was the fact that this Jonah Rooney is actually a Parallel Time version of himself, having managed to reach this reality through a special coin that he has. He has hopped through a number of realities, looking for just the "right" Carolyn to exact his revenge on Roger Collins - including one where Carolyn actually helped the Leviathans (another reference to a storyline from the TV show).
There are a number of references to characters and storylines that caught my attention in this one. Tom Lacey is one of them, with a reference to him having interviewed Maggie Evans, but that Amy Jennings turned down his request. His story has been referenced over several CDs now, and it will finally play out in the next audio book, Beyond the Grave. There was a reference to Victoria Winters, which thrilled me, since she was always my favorite character. Even though the reference was merely in the form of a question, "And whatever happened to Victoria Winters?" - it still gives me hope that one of these days, we'll have an audio tale about Victoria. (I know Lara Parker has included her in her upcoming book, The Heiress of Collinwood.) And there is a reference to Carolyn's old beau, Buzz Hackett, who is surprisingly an accountant now, who lives in another town with his boyfriend (say what?!). Finally, there are references to Barnabas and Julia being off to visit Professor Stokes in Cairo, which will be revealed further down the road in another audio tale titled The Curse of Shurafa. There are a lot of other bits here and there (including Carolyn's rather amusing reference to the fact that the juke box in the Blue Whale has played the same old music for years).
The writing is really good for this one, giving us more of a psychological thriller rather than a scary/horror tale. We get an in-depth look at Carolyn's character, where she's been, what she's been through, and how she's grown and strengthened over the years. The way in which she turns the tables on Jonah and her ultimate victory are definite fan-pleasers.
I am hoping this great run of stories continues, as they are truly a fantastic tribute to the original show, its creators, cast, and crew.
10 cursed coins out of 10 just for mentioning Victoria Winters - give me an actual appearance by the character, and we may see a rating higher than a 10!