TV Series Review: Revenge
Sex. Love. Lies. Deceit. Payback. Revenge. No other show this season has amassed as much buzz and hype as Revenge, ABC’s watercooler hit show from creator Mike Kelley (regularly airing Wednesday evenings at 10pm on ABC).
Revenge revolves around a young woman named Emily Thorne (played by Emily Van Camp) moving to the Hamptons for the summer. Emily rapidly infiltrates the area’s high-society and elite as she quickly becomes engaged to Daniel (Joshua Bowman), the idolized son of the Graysons, the most powerful family in the Hamptons. What her neighbors and even her own fiancé do not know about Emily is that her real name is Amanda Clarke, and that she actually grew up in the Hamptons as a little girl. Her father David was framed as a terrorist in the 9/11 attacks by Daniel’s mother Victoria (wickedly played by this year’s Golden Globes nominee Madeline Stowe) and father Conrad (Henry Czerny), and was sent to prison where he eventually died. Amanda was separated from her father as a child, and never saw or spoke to him again. Amanda Clarke’s return to the Hamptons is solely to avenge her father’s death and seek revenge on those who wrongfully betrayed him.
Inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas’ ultimate tale of revenge and payback, Revenge’s enticing premise continually yields that irrefutable looming question… how long can the writers and producers of this show keep up the momentum and maintain its “OMFG” storylines? The show’s unexpected twists and turns and shocking revelations are the ingredients that keep Revenge at the top of the must-watch television radar. What also makes Revenge succeed is its intrepidity to swiftly answer questions and solve mysteries while promptly proceeding to the next one. Shows like Heroes and now Ringer lose steam along with the patience of their fans with their failure in concisely wrapping up loose plot holes. We, the audience want to revel in suspense; not drown in it.
I never knew of actress Emily Van Camp before Revenge, and admire her portrayal of Amanda/Emily as the glue of the show. She continually reminds us that she is not one to be messed with by staying true to her intended purpose of retribution by remaining icy and succinct. Yet, she exudes just enough warmth to make you continue rooting for her, even when her lying and scheming starts to unnecessarily hurt the ones she loves.
However, the real star of this show is undoubtedly Madeline Stowe. Her Victoria Grayson is just as deliciously vicious and evil as Joan Collins’ Alexis Carrington (Dynasty) and Heather Locklear’s Amanda Woodward (Melrose Place) were before her. She even has those flammable glares and classic, venomous lines. Sample Victoria Grayson quote: “Understand something Lydia: Every time I smile at you across the room or we run into each other at a luncheon or I welcome you into my home? Let that smile be a reminder of just how much I despise you. And every time I hug you? The warmth you feel is my hatred burning through.” Water please?
Final Verdict: WATCH THIS!