I’m trying to think of the last night-time soap I watched. I’ve tried quite a few (Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) but haven’t stuck with any because I didn’t find them all that interesting and I hated almost all of the characters. Revenge, though, is turning into the kind of mindless soap I can sink into and enjoy for a long time. Or at least the first 13 episodes.
I complained in my review of the pilot that I thought the show would be more interesting if Revenge was not set in the world of the rich and privileged. I take that back. Watching Emily screw over all those rich people is fun! Last week, she destroyed a cheating wife. This week she destroyed a hedge fund manager. Who will she destroy next week? Looking at the zeitgeist, which is where the writers/creators seem to be getting their victims, my guess is a politician, maybe Yancy Arias’ district attorney. If there is one way to assure great ratings it is to show the destruction of the boogeymen of the economic collapse.
There is a lot to like about this show, starting with Madeline Stowe. Why an actress with the beauty and acting chops of Stowe isn’t a bigger star is a mystery. It’s great to see her sink her teeth into a juicy role like Victoria Grayson. Her scenes with Emily Van Camp’s character crackle with chemistry. They smile at each other, lie, double talk and you wonder which of those vipers is going to strike first. It’s delicious fun to watch.
It’s all fun to watch – Emily’s sly wooing of Daniel Grayson, her tentative alliance with Nolan Ross, her obvious attraction and affection for Jack, the cunning way she takes down her revenge of the week victim. The only part of this show that doesn’t seem to work very well is the character of Declan and Emily’s party planner “friend.” Declan is your stock “horn dog from across the tracks” character. He isn’t needed to show there is a middle class on the Hamptons. Jack fills that role nicely, plus he has a meaning to the larger story. The party planner is purely an exposition machine, telling Emily at every party who is who. Though really, she is telling the viewer. Emily already knows who everyone is. Get rid of those two and give Jack and Nolan more to do and I’d be much happier.
- For someone whose viewing habits skew to the fantastical where a healthy sense of disbelief is mandatory (Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, A Gifted Man, The X Files, Falling Skies, V, Star Trek: The Next Generation), it seems incongruous that the age of Jack’s dog would irritate me. But, it does. Very much. While a 16-17 year old dog isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, it’s pretty close. I doubt that dog would be running around the Hamptons like he was 10. In the real world, he would be overweight, sleeping all the time and have hip problems. I get what the creators and writers are trying to do here, but it’s a bit of a cheap shortcut to establish the connection between Emily and Jack. The actors have enough chemistry that the dog is unnecessary. If they’re planning on a doggie deathbed scene to bring our characters even closer, they need to talk to the producers of Game of Thrones and see how fandom reacts to animal deaths.
- Even though Daniel is kind of white bread and boring, it is nice that they aren’t making all of the rich people total douchebags. Of course, the only nice one got shot in the flash forward of the premiere.
- I’m having almost as much fun watching Emily’s wardrobe as I am her revenge plots. She’s got some awesome clothes.
- Sure, Nolan is kind of annoying, but if he’s a rich tech guy (he seems like a Mark Zuckerberg clone) he would have people hanging all over him. He wouldn’t have to buy friends like he’s trying to do with Jack.
- Though, I think his ulterior motive there is to throw Jack and Emily together so Jack figures out she is really Amanda. It seems he’s doing it for a good reason, but I bet there is more to it.
- I also said in my pilot review of Revenge that I wanted to see Emily ruin someone that didn’t deserve it. I wonder if that won’t be Daniel Grayson. He seems to be a nice enough guy and she is using him. If he really does die from being shot in the premiere, then I will be satisfied and will be hooked. My guess is, the actor is too hot to be killed off, though.