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'Revenge': Pretty Evil Soap Suds
September 21, 2011  | By Alan Pergament

From stilltalkintv.com

Who doesn't love Emily VanCamp?

The Canadian actress has been adorable ever since she hit the American TV screen as a teenager on Everwood, the WB series in which she played Amy Abbott, love interest of the emotionally scarred Ephram.

Greg Berlanti, the creator of Everwood, eventually found a place for her on Brothers & Sisters as Rebecca, who became the love interest of the emotionally scarred Justin.

And now she gets her star turn on Revenge, a new ABC drama that the producers told TV critics is loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo.

VanCamp plays a former jailbird who got money and now is out to get all the obscenely rich people in Southampton, Long Island, who earlier conspired to ruin her father's reputation when she was an adoring daughter.

In other words, Emily has gone bad after getting rich. But it's the kind of bad that people can root for against even worse rich people, the one group that TV series love to hate.


As good as it is to see VanCamp expand her acting range, it is a little unsettling to see the formerly adorable Emily play such a schemer. And I can almost hear Speaker of the House John Boehner lament the class warfare in Revenge.

VanCamp plays a character taking a new identity as Emily Thorne, who narrates the pilot and looks great in a red dress. Through flashbacks, viewers learn that Emily lived in Southampton 17 years ago, when she was known as Amanda, though only a dog and a nerdy rich tech guy (Gabriel Mann) still recognize her.

She rents the house next door to Victoria Grayson (known as Queen Victoria and played by Madeleine Stowe, above with VanCamp) and husband Conrad (Henry Czerny), who destroyed her father. Emily's primary goal is seeking revenge in a way that nobody figures out what she really is up to. Her entree into Queen Victoria's family is Daniel (Josh Bowman), the handsome son who can't resist Emily's charms. Who can?

Emily's beauty helps her pull it off, for the most part, with the help of a close friend who's an event planner (Ashley Madekwe). Flashbacks enable viewers to see what Emily's life was like when she was known as Amanda. Back then, she hung out with the middle class son of a local tavern owner, Jack (Nick Wechsler, below with Mann), before her dad was arrested right before her eyes.


Now the villainous rich people have affairs with their best friends' spouses and screw their underlings financially, while they smile and act like do-gooders. That makes it easy to root for Emily, who gets people in trouble by acting naive when she knows exactly what she's doing.

The hour is intriguing and very easy on the eyes. But glamorous series like this can be tough sells beyond a season or two, despite all the potential stories with this rich cast.

Revenge probably would have played better as a TV movie. Yet I can think of much worse ways to spend 13 to 22 evenings a year than watching VanCamp parade around in colorful dresses at opulent parties in what could become this generation's version of Dynasty or Dallas.

Read more by Alan Pergament at stilltalkintv.com

1 Comment


Joe said:

I watched the first episode but was BORED.
Emily Van Camp was eh. Don't watch Don't care

Comment posted on November 11, 2011 5:33 AM
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