There's no need to beat around the bush about ABC's Revenge. If you're looking for a new TV show to watch this fall, then this should be one of the top candidates.
Revenge tells the story of Amanda, a young woman hell bent on bringing down everyone in the Hamptons who took his father away from her when she was just a little girl. Now calling herself Emily, she picks them off one by one, and will not rest until everyone gets what they deserve.
I like how this show is self-aware that revenge is something so messy it is hard to know what's right or wrong in the process. It puts a Confucius teaching at the start of the episode which goes like "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." Narration is also used, which helps develop the ominous mood in the air.
Great shows come from good casting choices. Emily Van Camp is perfect as Emily. She blends seamlessly with the rich crowd and yet stands out with her pretty face and dark intentions---the embodiment of innocence and deception. Although her methods are questionable, she is obviously the protagonist of the show. After all, we have enough straight arrows on television so it is wonderful to finally have someone complex like Emily. Madeleine Stowe plays her nemesis Victoria Grayson, also known as the Queen of the Hamptons. As shown in the first episode, she is a force to be reckoned with. With smiles as devious as they come, Emily will have a hard time if she is to dethrone Victoria.
Directed towards a young audience, the plot is very promising. A lot more needs to be fleshed out, which is something viewers want in a production. I am hoping that the "villains" of the show get more character development since we cannot have everything on black and white for a good story to exist. Given the premise, Emily can only exact revenge on a certain number of people before the show ends. This means that unless the conspiracy thickens even further and we find out that more are responsible for putting her father away, Revenge can only last for a short time (two seasons maybe, three seasons max) without it being overextended.
Which shows are like it? Revenge reminds me of Dexter with its morally-challenged title character, except this is with more scheming and less brutal murders (well, at least for now). It definitely has a touch of Gossip Girl (with the Hamptons and all, and Connor Paolo being it), but in this one, we know things are going to get ugly pretty fast, and it's not the oh-no-my-make-up-is-ruined kind of ugly. The first scene brings me back to the pilot episode of Damages where they give the audience a taste of the future without compromising suspense. This is a good tactic to shake things up. I just hope all questions raised will be answered in time.
Revenge is a fresh take on the high society life. The mixture of deadly betrayal and the elite lifestyle has got me looking forward to the rest of the season. No matter how hairy things are going to get, one thing is for sure, and that is the objective of the show: revenge. Wouldn't you want to watch something that still holds mystery even though you know perfectly well what you're getting yourself into?