08:53 28 May 2012
Revenge, the smash hit show thats taken America by storm has finally arrived in the UK.
As far as first impressions go, Revenge certainly makes a big bang. Literally, actually, as the first thing you see is a shooting. You dont see who the victim is, nor the murderer, but potentials are thrown at you by the bucket load in the first five minutes. Then the story winds itself back by five months, and you start to see the how the mystery begins.
"For the truly wronged" says Emily Thorne, "real satisfaction can only be found in one of two places: absolute forgiveness or mortal vindication. This is not a story about forgiveness."
Theres enough mystery here to keep even Jessica Fletcher interested for a few months, and it only gets better.
Emily Thorne is the new arrival in the Hamptons, the playground of the one per cent. A beautiful, wealthy socialite who, outwardly, devotes her life to charity and good works. Inwardly, shes in the Hamptons for one reason - revenge.
Revenge for her father, David Clarke, the most hated man in America, a man framed for a crime he didnt commit. The world thinks that he was a terrorist, the man responsible for the deaths of countless innocents, they dont know how he was betrayed by the woman he loved, and the friends he trusted. The world doesnt know how those same people attempted to destroy his daughter, Amanda. Then, just an innocent nine-year-old, who had her only family and entire life taken from her.
The story of how sweet little Amanda Clarke becomes Emily Thorne, a billionaire 'revengenista' who would make Batman turn and run, is one that needs to be watched and not spoiled. Its an intriguing premise with engaging characters - you cant fail to be drawn into it all and it will not disappoint you.
That said, for all the hype, Revenge is not great television, it will never be called the new Sopranos, or compared to The Wire - its something better - its pure entertainment. Smart entertainment at that. If theres one thing Revenge will do - its entertain you, it will go on a crazy ride and drag you along with it. Its melodramatic, over-the-top, frequently insane, but oh so good. Unapologetically so.
For every mystery, tease and unexpected turn this show throws at you, there are payoffs in spades. Every episode leaves you wanting more, and every episode gives you even more still.
Revenge manages to side-step all expectations of what it should be. It has all the high-drama, glossy-soapiness of Dynasty and Dallas, the darkness of Dexter and the mystery of Lost, but without the frustration. It shouldnt work, but it does.
Theres a surprisingly intricate plot (loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo), that only gets better, multi-faceted characters, who will have you rooting for, and hating them at the same time, and then theres the deliciousness that this is basically a show where you watch the super-rich get kicked around by someone they trampled all over - and whats not to love about that?
Catch the first episode of Revenge Monday 28 May at 9pm on E4.
Reviewed by Carl Greenwood
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