Customer Reviews: Revenge: Season 1
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After the almost instant success of "Modern Family," ABC has struggled for a couple of seasons to find a suitable companion that could hold onto the ratings of its Wednesday night comedy line-up. In 2011, they struck gold in the most unlikely of places and made "Revenge" into one of the year's biggest new hits. Pulpy and over-the-top, this soap opera is structured as a neo-noir mystery set in the upscale environs of an elite Hamptons community. It owes a lot to the classic tales of excess that populated the airwaves in the eighties (Dallas, Dynasty, and the like) but updates traditional conventions in a fun and modern way. And "Revenge," while not exactly perfect, is just that--FUN. It is the TV equivalent of a good page-turning beach read, an unapologetic potboiler designed to provide escapism and adventure. With an attractive cast, gorgeous locales, stunning costumes and lush melodrama--the show proves the old adage that money can't buy happiness. But in this case, it just might buy revenge!

The first season has been structured around a complicated plot that ties a long distant crime to a young, seemingly amiable socialite (Emily Van Camp). Seeking to avenge her father's unjust persecution in the aforementioned atrocity, Van Camp arrives in town with unlimited wealth, surprising cunning, and a big score to settle. One of her primary targets is the local nobility, the Grayson clan. As the episodes progress, we see Van Camp ingratiate herself with the family, get involved with the heir apparent, and start to wreak havoc to those who participated in her father's downfall. As the backstory unfolds through flashbacks, we start to understand how the deeds of the past have irrevocably affected the Van Camp character and why her pursuit is so single-minded.

The Good:
Primary Cast: Emily Van Camp makes an intriguing heroine. She is so inherently likable that it makes her acts of treachery all the more powerful and surprising. Madeleine Stowe, as the Grayson matriarch, is a pleasantly understated villain (blending the realness of Knot's Landing's Abby with the excess of Dynasty's Alexis). These are two great characters. I also love Gabriel Mann (hysterical as Van Camp's closest ally), Joshua Bowman (as the love interest/potential pawn), and Henry Czerny (underrated as the head of the Grayson clan). In addition, the show boasts a number of fun guest roles from William Devane to Ashton Holmes to Amber Valletta.

The Indifferent:
Peripheral Cast: Several supporting players struggle for real identity or integration into the primary action. As a former flame and local barkeep, Nick Wechsler (though likable) oftentimes seems like an afterthought who hangs out with whichever character will give him the most screen time. Ditto for Stowe's assistant played by Ashley Madekwe who seems not to have found a solid place in the big picture (when she becomes the media representative for the family in a high profile situation, it is particularly preposterous).
Story Structure: "Revenge" starts (at the beginning of the season) with the notion that one character will get his/her comeuppance in each episode. Though fun, this premise wears thin fairly quickly. Fortunately, the writers soon addressed this element and focused more on the on-going story threads which make the show so juicy. So very quickly, a show with promise turns into one that is quite good.

The Not-So-Good:
Young Love: In grand soap tradition, "Revenge" wants to offer up a modern Romeo and Juliet tale by having the Grayson daughter (Christa B. Allen) get involved with a poor local boy (Wechler's brother played by Connor Paolo). I'm sorry, but when these two take center stage (Paolo is especially irritating), the show all but grinds to a halt. Maybe it is just because everything else is so good, this weak coupling sticks out like a sore thumb.

In summary, if you have been missing your nighttime soap operas, "Revenge" should easily fill that void. It's a well made show with one of the year's strongest ensemble casts. It doesn't aim for grittiness or realism, but excess and escapism. With the first season structured so specifically, though, one wonders how the creators will keep moving the plot lines forward as the central mystery comes to a close. What happens when "Revenge" has been enacted? We'll have to wait and see, but I'm certainly along for the ride. KGHarris, 2/12.

Bonus material: The 5 DVD, 22 episode set includes "Nolan's World: An Interview With The Infamous Nolan Ross"; "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: The Making Of REVENGE"; "Hamptons Bound: Preparing For Life At The Shore"; Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, and more.
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Emily Thorne is coming to town and revenge is coming with her. What starts out as a checklist of payback slows to a melodic dish best served cold as Emily works to get payback for misdeeds done to her father. Over 16 episodes she pushes her way all over the board, passing pawns in the first episodes and bigger pieces later on, trying to get to the bigger fish - the Graysons. We open at an engagement party filled with guests, moving through the people, when a body appears and everyone turns out to find Victoria Grayson crying. Her son is dead. We then go backward, detailing what happened in all its intricacy and who was involved, until we catch up and go a little bit beyond, showing what the show can become in Season 2. It gets a whole lot more complex as the piece move around.

While the show seems like a soap at night in large part, the pieces being moved around are interesting. Everyone i knew liked the way it started and some wandered after more people and faces popped in and stayed in, but i liked it quite a bit. You have interesting plots that are sometimes flawed and wrinkled but that the show wears well anyhow, and you have nice acting throughout.

I enjoy Emily VanCamp's portrayal of Emily and Madeleine Stowe's as Victoria Grayson. Gabriel Mann is also an interesting piece of the puzzle as Nolan and one that you constantly have to reconsider because he does a great job of evasion. Nick Welsher also does a great job as the love lost to the past. There's a variable who's who of interesting characters popping in and out, and they make things interesting as the show develops roots.

If you missed it and want to know whether you want to check the series out of not, there are still previews of the first episode floating around. You get a lot of breakdown there, and most of the things you want to know will be answered - at least in part - by the time you get to the end. A few things happen along the way and you have to wonder about feelings, like love, popping in and clouding the idea of revenge conquering all.

I think it was a solid 5/5, meaning I loved watching it weekly and am getting my order ready to go now.
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on July 29, 2012
Revenge is the kinda show I never imagined I'd like. I'm not a big fan of TV soaps or romance novels, but little by little I got drawn into Emily's web of intrigue and deception. I found it very satisfying watching the bad guys get a taste of their own medicine. And trust me, they deserve it. I may not really like Emily, but I really like what she does and how she does it. Can't wait for the second season.
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on July 30, 2012
While not marketed (at least at first) as a night time soap, Revenge warmly embraced its soapiness a third of the way through the first season as it slowly moved from the 'who will she get revenge on this week' formula to a much more enjoyable serialized drama. It even pays not so subtle homage to soaps that came before it. While never as campy as Dynasty, it's almost as grand. And while it never quite develops the family dysfunction of Dallas, it comes close. There are some plot holes that viewers will likely need to forgive. And if I'm being picky, the show peaked three quarters of the way through, almost as if they were picked up for additional shows with little warning. But what really sets this show apart from most modern day soaps and much of non-soaps as well is that it wonderfully allows the two female leads to drive all story. Emily kicks butt both mentally and physically. When was the last time we saw a soap with such a wonderfully wounded yet strong heroine? You won't see Emily sacrificing herself for a man like on all of the destroyed daytime serials. You won't see her backdown to anyone, including Grayson Matriarch (played deliciously by M. Stowe) and their scenes are some of the best highlights from a very strong season. I hope the writing gets a bit tighter in the second season. And I hope they resist the urge to go campy and over the top. While it can't quite be called a thinking fan's soap, it's certainly doesn't require the viewer to lower his/her IQ to enjoy. Lovers of the strong female soap heroine should NOT miss this one!
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on October 2, 2011
ABC's latest drama is loosely based on one of the greatest novels of all time, Le Comte De Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and given a contemporary spin. The pilot episode sets up the entire plot, in a very unique manner: beginning in the present day and told via flashbacks throughout. The acting is stellar and the writing rock solid. The details are juicy and the fun has just begun...
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on February 17, 2012
Like a combination of the best nightime soaps of the past, the current crop of the best daytime has to offer, and the snarky, humorous asides of recent buzzy teen- and 20-focused dramas, this offers the best of all those combined and more. The other half clearly has a lot of issues and boy is it fun to watch. From the lavish settings to the so-bad-they're-great characters like Nolan and Tyler there is someone for everyone to both love and hate. What a great guilty pleasure!
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on October 16, 2013
First off- Season 1 is the best Season out of the 3 by far. But even so it has it's imperfections. Emily is a woman with beauty, A huge amount of money- it's not mentioned how much, but it seems to be in the 9 digits and a very loyal friend who is also the king of computer hacking. Upon learning that her father was framed she decided to make it her life's work to avenge her father's imprisonment and death.

Her father SUPPOSEDLY didn't want her to go down the path of revenge and yet upon his death he gifts her a box full of ways to go about it- including setting her up with a japanese revenge artist to train her in the art of vengence... uh...ya...

The main problem I have with the show is it's soap opera campiness that sometimes takes over. You get to see unbelievable things like a woman falling over 10 stories onto the roof of a car... who ends up not only surviving, but also with no scars or noticeable disability. The writers seem to make up story lines that they don't always remember to finish either. One of many examples: Little amanda was much younger and shorter when the FBI came to lock up her dad and seperate the two of them forever than she was in the scenes before that occured. Obviously showing how the little actress was older and had grown by the time they decided to shoot those scenes in the latter half of the season. It sometimes seems like the cast and production team puts more time and focus on how good everyone is dressed, how pretty they are and how everything looks than they do into the actual story-lines which is annoying. Still the show manages to be entertaining. It's fun to watch and if you are going to see a season it should be season 1.
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on February 8, 2012
I haven't watched a major network show in ages - in fact, I got rid of TV entirely over two years ago, and now only watch Netflix and on-demand video.

I stumbled on "Revenge," bought the pilot, and got hooked - came back and bought the rest.

NOTE: For the two village idiots who gave this one star because it's not on DVD...hello -- it's still in its first season, and still airing. Of course it's not on DVD yet.

There's no great plot description in the existing reviews, so here's my attempt to be succinct yet clear without any spoilers.

The main character, Amanda Clarke (played by Emily VanCamp) returns to her childhood home in the Hamptons -- under an assumed identity, Emily Thorne -- to systematically exact revenge on every individual who was involved in framing her father for a capital crime he didn't commit. At the center of the deceit is the Grayson family, with Madeleine Stowe as the sexy yet formidable matriarch Victoria. At the "heart" of it, there are two love interests in Emily's life: Jack Porter, the boy who never forgot her (played by Nick Wechsler) and Victoria's son Daniel (played by Joshua Bowman) who is the apple of his mother's eye. And there's the scheming sidekick, Nolan Ross (played by Gabriel Mann) who has deep ties to her father. Treachery runs as deep as the secrets, love and sex are endlessly complicated, interesting new characters and plotlines are frequently introduced, and the surprises abound --- so odds are you'll get sucked into the maelstrom and become a happy addict.

I think the show might be a bit confusing -- or at least would be far less enjoyable -- if you tune in mid-season. There really are a lot of plot twists and turns and reveals, so I'd recommend watching the show from the beginning for maximum enjoyment.

(And yes, the premise of the show is very loosely based on Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo -- with a gender twist/female lead.) Enjoy!
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on August 20, 2012
The first Season of Revenge was a non-stop rollercoaster ride with so many twists and turns that it was almost unbearable to wait for the next episode to air. Luckily this won't be a problem with the DVD Edition of the complete first season.

ABC was very vague in the press release in terms of extras, and also amazon doesn't provide you with any lists, so i wanted to quickly write down the special features that are included here:

- Audiocomentary on the Pilot with Mike Kelley and Emily VanCamp
- Nolan Ross Exposed (2:45 min) - featurette
- Roadmap to Revenge (13:01 min) - featurette
- At Home in the Hamptons (7:57 min) - featurette
- Haute Hamptons: Femme Fatale Fashion (7:25 min) - featurette
- Angus & Julia Stone - "For You" (2:45 min) - music video
- Christina Perry - "Distance" (4:02 min) - music video
- Deleted Scenes (cca 30:00 min)
- Gag Reel (2:45)
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on October 24, 2012
Cmon, who in their lives have not secretly dreamed of getting even with all those who have wronged them. I know I have but I also know that revenge brings satisfaction but only momentarily. I will say that I wanted to watch the show because of the name REVENGE. I hadn't really seen any of the advertisement but decided to give it a try and like two of my other favorite shows, Grimm and Once Upon A Time, I was hooked. The whole show revovles around a girl named Amanda Clarke AKA Emily Thorne who has the means ($$$, help from outside sources and the determination) to get revenge on all of those who framed her father for being a traitor by funding money to a group of terrorist that blew up an airplane full of innocent people.

This show works for me because Emily is so darn smart, cunning, focused and she lets nothing stand in her way although I wouldn't call her completely cold and calculating. She does have a heart even if she has a hard time showing it. Although the show is deemed a drama, there is many comedic moments provided by Nolan (Emily's partner in crime and billionaire). Of course what show like Revenge could prosper without villains, in this case Victoria and Conrad Grayson to start of with. I must admit that I have never seen a couple who double cross each other as much as they change their underwear. LOL. You will find it easy to hate Victoria as she is to me the biggest villain of them all (watch the show and you'll know what I mean). After the first few episodes, I wanted to slap the smirk off her face. Now you know it is a great show when a character can evoke that much emotion.

Of course what show would work without a love triangle. There is Daniel Grayson (privileged son of the Graysons-spoiled brat at times) and Jack Porter (Amanda's best friend before tragedy struck) now owner of the local bar. They are both so cute but of course there is no contest. Just like in the Twilight series (Team Edward vs Team Jacob), I'm on Team Jacob and so it is with Revenge. If there was a Team Daniel vs Team Jack, I would pick Jack all the way. A good heart goes a whole lot further than a fat wallet.

Of course there are many side plots but what is great about this show is how everytime you think you know how "low" the Graysons will sink (and they have sank lower than the Titanic) in order to save their good name, they will go and do something equally obnoxious and always spin things back to their advantage.

Don't bet on the Graysons though, Emily is a very resourceful girl and has a knack of getting herself out of trouble with the help of a few but namely Nolan (love him). I watch this show because it is by far the most engrossing show on TV and I want to see how far the Grayson conspiracy goes and what Emily will do to exact revenge for her loved ones. I must admit I don't advocate revenge but In Emily's situation, I think I might have done the same.

Season Two just started and oh boy,,,,,I won't spoil the surprise only to say that there are plenty of surprises ahead (no pun intended).

Please feel free to comment on my review and or the show.
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