Tonight, ABC enters some previously uncharted territory: the salacious, youth-skewing drama. They’ve made their mark in serialized drama with Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, but they’ve yet to dive head first into something primarily wicked and opulent like their new series, Revenge. The Hamptons drama premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, and we’ve got a rundown of the new show just in time for the premiere.*
The series stars TV vet Emily VanCamp (Brothers and Sisters, Everwood) as our protagonist, as well as Joshua Bowman (Make It Or Break It) and Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl) as young Hamptons men from different sides of the tracks, and Madeleine Stowe as the evil matriarch at the center of the intrigue.
The Hamptons, also known as the summer getaway of choice for New York's elite.
A modern day take on the classic tale, The Count of Monte Cristo, Revenge takes place in the heralded East Coast summer escape, The Hamptons. We got a taste of the high society out on the far reaches of Long Island when Gossip Girl took a little foray to the New Yorker’s paradise a few seasons ago, but they barely scratched the surface. Revenge sets up camp right in the thick of the wealthiest of the wealthy, where our heroine begins executing her plan of…well…revenge.
Emily’s father was framed as a part of a conspiracy – the nature of which we’re not yet aware of – and it would seem that Victoria Grayson, or Queen Victoria, as she’s known to her faithful Hamptons minions, was the orchestrator of the whole thing. Being that Victoria hasn’t seen Emily since she was a child, Emily takes the opportunity to infiltrate the luxurious community in order to take down the people who framed her father, one by one.
So, does it work? The pilot episode moves quickly, delivering us from one step to the next, all the while giving us glimpses of both of our strong, opposing women as they plot out their separate intrigues. VanCamp is a great choice to lead the series as her role throughout the story is to feign ignorance and pretend to be the new girl; she’s got an innocent look about her, which makes it that much easier for her to play out her sneaky plan.
Madeline Stowe is appropriately regal as Queen Victoria, as are her faithful little minions, but the show garners some charm from the set of Long Island brothers whose father owns and operates a bar on the docks. Declan and Jack Porter (Gossip Girl’s Paolo with a Long Island accent and Nick Wechsler) aren’t members of the flighty, weathy set who comes in when the weather gets warm and escapes when the leaves turn. They’re from the Hamptons and they help to ground the series – and Emily, who seems to have a past connection with Jack. While Paolo isn’t a main character, it is rather fun to see him shed his Upper East Side style for some good ol’ Long Island boy antics.
The series is visually stunning, with sweeping shots of the ocean and the surrounding areas – not to mention the designer duds draped on all our well-to-do main characters. Much like Gossip Girl, the series will thrive on the fabulous clothes and illustrious location, but it’s got something GG doesn’t. While the CW hit succeeds when it comes to teen squabbles and ex-boyfriends, it’s never really been able to get a good grip on more adult intrigues. That’s where Revenge comes in. It’s got the melodramatic tone we know and love on Gossip Girl, but with a storyline whose outcome is just a little more urgent. The series cropped up at the perfect time to nab GG viewers who’ve grown tired of the let’s-see-how-many-more-people-Serena-can-make-fall-in-love-with-her and Chuck/Blair escapades over on the CW drama. Instead of dealing with the “my life sucks because I’m so rich and beautiful” side of the East Coast wealthy set, Revenge shows its ugly underbelly and the series may just be the palette cleanser that evening soap fans need.
*Hollywood.com received the Revenge pilot on a tablet device as part of a promotional gift package.