The most entertaining guilty pleasure of the fall television season.
Police procedurals, court room dramas, the latest round of heroic surgeons and reality shows, as well as half hour sit-coms usually populate the landscape of the fall television season. Every once in a while, however, a show comes along that doesn’t fit into the usual mold…a show that’s theme is ‘outside the box’ so to speak. This current fall season actually contains a number of shows that deviate from the norm; among them are: American Horror Story, Pan-Am, and Terra Nova to list a few, but the one series that has consistently held my interest week in and week out has been ABC’s Revenge.
Debuting on September 21st, the show has been billed as a modern update of the story of vengeance contained in the novel “The Count of Monte Cristo,” by Alexandre Dumas. Set in the luxury of Long Island’s Hamptons, the show, created by Mike Kelley, (Providence) is a visual treat that is part drama, part thriller and part mystery. While the series might appear to be all eye candy on the surface, the competent cast and enthralling plot meld together for a highly entertaining show. The main protagonist is the character of Emily Thorne icily portrayed by Emily VanCamp (Everwood) though in actuality, Emily is only pretending to be Ms. Thorne. She is actually Amanda Clarke, who deeply immerses herself into the alias of Emily, because her life as Amanda was ruined when she was a young child. Amanda’s father played by James Tupper (Men in Trees) and shown in flashback sequences was accused of being involved in a crime of terrorism that he didn’t commit. Betrayed by both colleagues and friends alike, he received a life-sentence and he subsequently died in prison never having had the opportunity to exonerate himself.
Significant time has passed since Amanda’s childhood. Now a grown woman in her twenties, pretending to be Emily Thorne, she has returned to theHamptons, the scene of her childhood trauma. Armed with deep pockets, thanks to a trust fund established by her father, Emily is able to position herself in the house she grew up in. It is there where she sets out in a calculating way to destroy the lives of the individuals responsible for the incarceration and ultimate death of her father.
Playing a potential foil to Emily’s plans is Victoria Grayson, who is the Queen Bee of the Hamptons social circuit. The matriarch of the Grayson family is played by the perfectly cast Madeleine Stowe (The General’s Daughter). Stowe’s character, at least at the start of the series, is the only one who is suspicious of Emily, thanks in large part to the advances she makes toward Victoria’s son Daniel (Joshua Bowman). Perhaps, Victoria wouldn’t have so much time for those sorts of contemplations if her husband, in a role acted by Henry Czerny’s (The A-Team) unlikable character of Conrad Grayson wasn’t engaging in an extra-marital affair with Victoria’s former best friend Lydia (Amber Valletta). One of the few people Emily can turn to for help is Gabriel Mann’s (The Bourne Supremacy)character of Nolan Ross, who is an extraordinarily wealthy software inventor, who feels indebted to Emily’s father and is helping her carry out her payback. Rounding out the cast is Ashley Madekwe (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), who plays Emily’s best friend; Nick Wechsler (Fling) Jack Porter, Amanda’s childhood friend and owner of a local bar; Jack’s younger brother Declan Porter, Connor Paolo (Stake Land), who is smitten with the Grayson’s daughter Charlotte, acted by Christa B. Allen (Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past.)
In this blogger’s opinion, the following can be said about the show so far. The dark, soapy series has proven that it knows how to both entertain and build upon previous episodes to keep a longer arched story flowing. That is an impressive feat for a show still in its infancy. And each week the series seems to get stronger and helps move the narrative of the overall plot forward in a very satisfying manner. If you’ve yet to see this fall’s best guilty pleasure, past episodes are available to watch on-demand, at least on Comcast Cable. If you don’t have Comcast, check your cable provider’s on demand menu. Revenge airs on Wednesday nights at 10:00PM on ABC, indulge yourself.