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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

The Best Show On Television That You’re Not Watching: ABC’s Revenge

Credit: screened.com

Sometimes a good, but low-brow work of fiction (see: The DaVinci Code) is described as a “page turner”. It’s the kind of book where so many plot twists and turns occur that you can’t help reading on because you want to know how they play out. That would be the best comparison I can make for the hit drama Revenge on ABC. Typically, those kinds of plot devices are only seen on soap operas, and I guess you could say that Revenge bears a lot of comparisons to a soap, except with better acting, better writing and a better budget. It truly never fails to shock me and keeps me guessing right up to the very last second of every episode what’s going to happen. It’s also not at all like another one of ABC’s now-finished shows, Lost, where the writers withheld answers from the viewers for as long as possible. Revenge gives you answers, but still keeps you guessing.

The basic premise is that Amanda Clarke (played by the gorgeous, but girl-next-door-type Canadian actress, Emily VanCamp) returns to her childhood home in the Hamptons to avenge the death and reputation of her father, David Clarke. His death, as far as we know in the pilot, was caused in some way by the wealthy family who lived next door to Amanda during her childhood, the Graysons. Amanda assumes another identity, Emily Thorne, and with the help of a few of her connections, attempts to ruin the lives of the wealthy Graysons bit by bit – hence the title, Revenge. Naturally, Amanda’s mission isn’t without it’s complications, including love and near-death experiences, but that is what makes her all the more vulnerable and more human. I often compare the show to Showcase’s hit drama Dexter (or similar to AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad). It doesn’t have any of the gore, but it does have the same central concept that has you rooting for someone who, in another story (see: Pretty Little Liars) could easily be seen as the invisible, but omniscient villain.

The most brilliant part of the show is that, to me, it’s like an adult version of the CW’s Gossip Girl. It has all the drama of that show, but with an extra dose of intelligent writing that makes you think. Unlike some other shows, like NBC’s failed drama Heroes, the writing did not take a turn for the worst after a brilliant first season. Instead of crumbling under the pressure of their success, the writers seemed to have taken what worked the first time around and amped it up, giving the viewers more of what they loved. That’s the brilliant part about the internet: writers can find out almost immediately what fans thought of an episode and tweak their writing to keep them happy. From everything I’ve seen, the writers of Revenge do this well without ever sacrificing the core vision of the show.

Credit: newnownext.com

Part of the show’s success is also its brilliant (and sexy) cast of characters. Besides VanCamp herself, who plays the anti-hero so well that you sympathize with her and love her every questionable step of the way, there’s also Madeline Stowe and Henry Czerny as the detestable matriarch and patriarch of the Grayson Household. Stowe herself plays such a great role that you love to hate her and almost cannot imagine the show without her even when she’s merely a background character to bigger things. Moreover, Amanda’s closest ally and best friend Nolan is masterfully played by the witty and charming Gabriel Mann, who you come to immediately trust and who has such great chemistry with VanCamp in every scene they film together.  I won’t tell you more about the cast because they come to be developed more over the span of the past two seasons, but suffice it to say that they truly are one of the reasons I look forward to watching every Sunday night.

It’s hard to say much more without giving much away, but I will say that watching Revenge began as a guilty pleasure for me. It is, essentially, the show that replaced Desperate Housewives on ABC, so when it began, I expected it to have those aforementioned soap opera elements about it. But the further it went on, the more I realized that it was so much more. The dark, traditional gothic aspects of the show make it defy genre classification and make it difficult to define the show’s core audience. I watch it, my twenty-year old sister watches it, and my fifty-year old parents, aunt and uncle watch it. It’s got a little something for everyone and the more you watch, the more you get drawn into the plot. I often can’t even DVR the show because I need the commercial breaks when I watch it live to catch my breath, but when it’s over, I find myself counting the hours until next Sunday as I rewatch the trailer for the next episode online and try to glean a little hint into how the saga of Amanda’s Revenge will play itself out.

The second season of Revenge just finished on Sunday May 12th on ABC, but the first season is already out on DVD, iTunes & Amazon Instant Video and the second season is also on iTunes already, and will be released on DVD on August 20th, 2013.

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4 Comments on “The Best Show On Television That You’re Not Watching: ABC’s Revenge”

  1. Sam May 23, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    Revenge is an amazing t.v. show. I’m only on season one… here’s to hoping they don’t screw it up in the second/third season like they do with all too many t.v. shows.

    • Andrew Rogers May 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Hey Sam! I’m glad you’re enjoying it too! In my opinion, the second season was great and stayed very true to what worked in the first season so I hope you like it as much as I did!

  2. ashmisharma September 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    i love the series! cant wait for the 4th season. I really hope Nolan gets out of trouble… I feel he doesnt get much credit to what all he does for Em

    • Andrew Rogers September 18, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      I agree! I really like Nolan and it’s so nice to see a smart, strong, bisexual male character on TV. I love that it isn’t his defining feature and that the show has made it very clear that he and Emily as just friends who care a lot about each other. Their dynamic is great and I really hope we don’t lose him!

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