I’ll hopefully have something to say myself about Revenge later, but for now, here’s Maureen Ryan on one of the most enjoyable new dramas of the season, possibly the most confident and enjoyable new drama except for Homeland. Revenge has been brought up a few times by a few people as a club to beat the dismal remake of Charlie’s Angels, and I think that if Aaron Spelling were to come back to Earth today (possibly summoned by NBC, which needs him to help them like he once helped save ABC and Fox and the WB), he’d find Revenge captures his spirit better than the reboots of his actual shows. The soapiness, the emphasis on rich living, elaborate sets, and good-looking people, and the commitment to its own storytelling approach – including mostly acting that tends to be deadpan and dead-serious no matter how wild the material gets. All that makes it the logical ancestor to the 90210 and Dynasty type of prime-time soap, as opposed to more ironic takes on the genre like Desperate Housewives. It even follows a prime-time soap tradition in starting out with a sprinkling of an episodic formula (revenge of the week) and abandoning it midway through the first season as the ensemble suffering becomes the more interesting part.
There are also bits of the modern anti-hero show mixed in, with moments that recall Damages and the granddaddy of this type of show, Profit (Emily’s narration, consisting mostly of philosophical-sounding but meaningless buzzwords about good and evil, reminds me of Jim Profit’s business-buzzword voiceovers). But basically it’s the modern successor to Spelling. It’s been pointed out that all it really needs now is a title sequence with clips of the characters in beautiful clothes – the ABC preference for a simple title card just doesn’t cut it for a show like this.