|What do you mean "general exception error"?|
Every fictional story concerning revenge owes a debt to novels like The Man In The Iron Mask and The Count Of Monte Cristo, and that's certainly true here. The decision to merge that kind of storytelling with the sun-kissed glamour of the seaside Hamptons, with its expensive residences for America's wealthiest citizens, is almost a no-brainer. While British soaps have almost exclusively concerned working class people living and working in very ordinary backgrounds, American soaps have always gone for glamour and silliness. Revenge is exactly that; a rather preposterous, glitzy, light and enjoyable romp. A page-turner in live-action form, with each episode giving us clues about exactly why Emily's targeting specific people on a photograph, revealing what they did to deserve her wrath, and explaining the complexities of the situation that destroyed her patsy father's life.
There are many flashbacks (as the show's "present day" is itself a flashback from a murder at a beach party twelve-weeks hence, and then we sometimes skip back further to see Amanda's childhood memories), but these aren't too difficult to handle. It's perhaps a little off-putting in the Philip Noyce-directed pilot, when you're simultaneously trying to parse all the new faces, names, locations, and relationships... but by episode 2 it was already just a plot-device of the show you've accepted.
|I thought I told you: wearing magenta is forbidden!|
I don't have much more to say about Revenge, which is definitely the kind of show you can imagine getting progressively worse or better very quickly. I had some of my usual concerns about how long this concept can last (a 22-episode season feels like it would be a struggle), but some trusted sources who've seen the entire first season tell me it sets up a second season with aplomb. And the show gets more gripping and serialised in its latter stages, to its great benefit. So, as a light, glossy, and entertaining summer show here in the UK, I'm on board with Emily Thorne's machinations—particularly in these frugal "credit crunch" times, when punishing the extravagantly rich is exactly the kind of wish-fulfilment fantasy I can get behind.
written by Mike Kelley / directed by Philip Noyce / 28 May & 4 June 2012 / E4