ABC is the last of the major networks to unveil a new TV series this season. While the network still has several successful shows on the air, the execs are very aware that they need to find some new hits. Time will tell if Revenge will help fill that need.
Revenge follows the story of Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), a mysterious young woman who arrives in the Hamptons. She’s actually lived there before, as a child, and returns incognito to seek revenge on the people who killed her father and destroyed her family. Others in the cast include Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny, Ashley Madekwe, Nick Wechsler, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, and Connor Paolo.
Here’s what the critics think of Revenge:
Chicago Tribune: “Emily and [Stowe’s] Victoria may be the most conniving characters in this fall’s crop of new TV shows, and you really don’t want to miss their scrumptious scheming. VanCamp gives Emily equal amounts of cold resolve, guilt and vengeful glee as she plots her vengeance. Stowe’s Victoria embodies all those qualities, plus an imposing nature that would have the Real Housewives of anywhere shaking in their Louboutins.”
“I don’t want to give too much away, but when Emily and Victoria take aim at the same target in the premiere — well, I squealed just a little bit. They say Revenge is a dish best served cold, and here it’s downright delicious.”
NY Daily News: “The bigger challenge for the show, of course, is to make us understand the things Emily now does. The most famous male vengeance seekers over the years have often followed an unspoken code that says you’re not only allowed to seek revenge, you’re almost obligated.”
“That cuts them a lot of slack in the behavior and morality departments, and it will be interesting to see if Emily seems to be accorded similar leniency. Whether she is or not, she quickly moves beyond the point where she is purely a sympathetic victim.”
“That means Revenge will bank more on creating a compelling and complex psychological and investigative drama than on simply setting up good guys and bad guys and counting on the viewer to root for the good guys to win. The show is asking viewers, then, to invest some time and not expect a clean resolution of some black-and-white drama each week. That’s a gamble and a risk. Revenge seems confident it can be taken and won.”
USA Today: “And they’ve also twisted the story a bit so it can fit the confines of a weekly Leverage-type con. Each week, while she’s working her way toward the Graysons, Emily destroys one of their accomplices. Surely you can see the rub. How many accomplices can there be, and how many can Emily destroy before someone starts to catch on — or before viewers start to notice that innocent people are inevitably being hurt?”
“Yet for fans of soaps, there is reason for hope. The show looks great, and it often sounds good, particularly when Emily is delivering a line we know is nasty but her victim doesn’t. It also boasts a decent cast, with Stowe making a particularly formidable foe. And she’ll have to be if she’s going to survive Emily — not to mention CSI and Law & Order: SVU. With competition like that, Revenge may end up going cold faster than ABC would like.”
LA Times: “As is often the case with melodrama, I find Revenge essentially unconvincing and also quite likable. At times, it has something of the sound and silliness of kids playing at being sophisticated adults.” …
“That the atmosphere of let’s-pretend never quite dissipates is not really a hindrance; the show seems happy to breathe in that air. The Phillip Noyce-directed pilot is quite handsome — Chris Manley, from Mad Men, photographed it — with a chilly-looking North Carolina standing in for the Hamptons. The production has since moved to Southern California, and we’ll see how that impersonation works out.”
Boston Herald: “In perhaps its biggest misfire, the show opens a few months in the future, showing what seems to be the culmination of Emily’s work, delivering the kind of blow from which her nemesis will never recover. Or have events just spiraled out of her control?”
“There are guilty pleasures and then there are ones for which you just feel guilty about sacrificing your valuable time. Revenge is the latter.”
What do you think? Will you give Revenge a chance? If you’ve seen it, is it worth watching again or should it be quickly cancelled?
Image courtesy ABC.