Channel 7 are on a gold mine with the new series from the US’s ABC network Revenge, which debuted in Australia last night to massive ratings (2,067,000 viewers across the five city metro markets). It’s high drama and lucious setting in the exclusive upstate New York precint of the Hamptons had hit written all over it and first night out it was easy to see why. Inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel “The Count Of Monte Cristo”, Revenge is a tale of vengeance, deception and redemption that has translated far too easily into a modern context.
The story of Emily Thorne/Amanda Clark (Emily VanCamp) is a troubled one, and the plot jumps around a little in the first episode to explain why Amanda changed her name to Emily, though it doesn’t explain exactly why she’s out for revenge – only that a number of families who still holiday in the Hamptons are responsible for ruining her father and Amanda (now Emily) intends to destroy all of them for their part in ‘ruining’ her life.
There’s a murder in the first 5 minutes of Emily’s fiance, then we jump five months earlier as Amanda inspects the holiday house she’ll inhabit across the summer. Right next door to the focus of her attention, Conrad (Henry Czerny) & Victora Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) – and, it turns out, the house she and her father used to holiday in when she was a child. What a tangled web. Amanda ingratiates herself with the snobbish locals and manages to innocently reveal Conrad is having an affair with Victoria’s ‘best friend’ Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta). Cue dagger eyes all round. In yet another flashback we learn just as Emily/Amanda is released from juvie that her father has died 6 weeks prior (timing!) but bequeathed her a fortune to allow her to live her life to the fullest… full of revenge!
I came into the show as a complete skeptic, expecting to grow a pair of ovaries whilst watching, and I’m hooked. It’s high-drama at its delicious best, and will quickly achieve cult “must watch” status as it fills the void left by fore-runners like Melrose Place. It does take itself far too seriously, and the acting isn’t going to win any “most outstanding performance by an actor/actress”, that’s OK because it is all part of the fun. Revenge is very easy to watch, filled with well-dressed hunks and babes against some of the most amazing backdrops. You may however need a flow chart to keep up with the interpersonal relationships but don’t worry, I’ll knock that up by next week.
Revenge – Mon 8:30pm, Ch7.