Fall TV First Impression: Revenge, So Sweet?

The broadcast networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall. To help you prepare for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next on our list is.…

THE SHOW | ABC’s Revenge (Wednesdays at 10/9c, premiering Sept. 21)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ relocated CSI, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, USA Network’s Psych (starting Oct. 12), FX’s American Horror Story (new, premiering Oct. 5)

THE CAST | Emily VanCamp (Brothers & Sisters) as Emily Thorne; Madeleine Stowe (The Last of the Mohicans), Henry Czerny (Clear and Present Danger), Josh Bowman (Make It Or Break It) and Christa B. Allen as Victoria, Conrad, Daniel and Charlotte Grayson; Nick Wechsler (Roswell) and Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl) as Jack and Declan Porter; Gabriel Mann (Mad Men) as Nolan; and Ashley Madekwe (Secret Diary of a Call Girl) as Ashley

TVLine’s Fall TV Survival Guide: News, Previews, Scoops, Videos and More!

THE SET-UP | Emily Thorne née Amanda Clark is out for [see show title] in this sexy spin on The Counte of Monte Cristo. Seventeen years ago, Amanda’s father (played in flashback by Men in Trees‘ James Tupper, replacing Marc Blucas from the original pilot) was sentenced to life in prison for a ghastly crime. Years later, upon learning of her dad’s innocence and who was responsible for framing him, Amanda adopts a new, well-funded identity and makes tracks for the Hamptons, resolved to ruin those who ruined her childhood — including but by no means limited to society doyenne Victoria.

More of TVLine’s First Impressions: ABC’s Pan AmOnce Upon a Time and Charlie’s Angels, NBC’s Whitney, Up All Night and The Playboy Club, Fox’s Terra Nova and New Girl, The CW’s Hart of DixieThe Secret Circle and Ringer, CBS’ Unforgettable2 Broke Girls and Person of Interest

THE GOOD | My refrain of choice for those who have asked me about Revenge: This is some good, frothy fun, a primetime sudser the likes of which we haven’t enjoyed in a while. The pilot efficiently lays the foundation for Emily’s want for vindication, then affords time for her to cut one or two targets off at the knees with military-like precision. (There’s an awesome moment where she “unwittingly” exposes an affair that leaves the adulterer, the betrayed and you the viewer at a loss for words.) The solid cast is led by VanCamp, at once a contradiction of steely eyes and warm smile, and Stowe, as the prickly and very powerful Victoria. Mann also pops, playing a young Internet billionaire who owes his success to Amanda’s father.

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | The pilot opens with a Damages-like flash-forward to a shocking event that I wish had held back on at least a few key details, allowing a bit more mystery about what lies ahead. The pilot was shot in North Carolina, and from thence on episodes were filmed in California; let’s hope the setting never reads false. Some critics have wondered: Can Emily’s quest for vengeance sustain a series? (Producers explained at TCA that it won’t always be about Emily’s revenge, and that at some point “summer” will end and the action will relocate to New York City.)

TVLine’s Fall TV Premieres Calendar: Save the 101 Dates!

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Though Revenge has a toehold on a distinct niche and is airing opposite two greying, transitioning procedurals (in CSI and SVU), the fact remains that Criminal Minds will set a better table for the 10 o’clock slot than any ABC comedies will. Revenge must also vie with FX’s sure-to-be-noisy (yet sure-to-be-polarizing) American Horror Story for roaming eyeballs. To turn a phrase, will Revenge be the best success? I for one hope so.

Watch a video preview for Revenge, then vote in our poll below.

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49 Comments
  1. Bee says:

    i’ve been excited about this for some time now and loved the pilot.
    found it very entertaining and happily surprised by the twists and all that they set up. think it’s got major potential.
    emily was awesome and i already can’t wait to see more.

    • Zak says:

      I saw the previews for this and was on the fence as to whether or not to give it a chance and was leaning towards no, but after finding out the pilot is already online and watching it I’m playing on adding it to my watch list this fall.

      I wish more networks would do this with fall pilots, the season gets crowded and some good shows fall threw the cracks, and new shows need all the help they can get with networks cancelling shows 3 episodes in, and getting pilots out to the public before hand can only be positive….unless the pilot is terrible I guess.

      • Yelena says:

        Where can I see the pilot?

        • Em says:

          Absolutely loved the pilot (saw it online). I too agree that maybe in the first scenes the writers could of held back on revealing some of the major players.

          Wished the previews were better cut. They look pretty cheap and didn’t really reflect the feel of the show. Hopefully people will tune in regardless.

  2. Lucas says:

    The script was okay, but the pilot was amazing! I can’t wait to watch the updated pilot.

  3. Nick says:

    You can watch the pilot online. There’s a code and a link at the end of the script that you can get off of Kindle.

  4. Lisa says:

    Been itching to see more for months now lol

    The pilot showed a lot of potential. I have to wonder how they’ll sustain the premise over a full season (or more) but I am intrigued and can’t wait to see who Emily’s next target is!

  5. Melanie says:

    Gabriel Mann is an amazing actor and makes tv worth watching again! I will definitely be watching Revenge every week!

  6. Irishgirl says:

    Well I thought I’d spotted Marc Blucas in the tv spots airing for this show, but I wasn’t 100% sure that was him. The current promos say her father died. Did they change that and now have him in prison for the rest of his life? I think I’d prefer that they kept Blucas instead of recasting with Tupper, but I’m sure it was due to Necessary Roughness.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I’m sure ABC didn’t feel like asking Blucas to shuttle between Atlanta (where NR films) and L.A., just to shoot the occasional 30-second flashback scene.

    • Amanda says:

      Blucas was in the pilot they’re offering to Kindle. He was in prison, and eventually died.

  7. Gerald says:

    Soap operas are my guilty pleasures and I love The Counte Of Monte Cristo… but I’m still unsure about this one. My main problem with this one is the concern over the longevity of the premise and the main actress. I just don’t like Emily as an actress, she’s so wooden and I feel its always the same performance… no offense.
    This would of been perfect as a summer miniseries. I think I’ll end up watching it because it still looks entertaining.
    By the way Matt, could you elaborate this: “Can Emily’s quest for vengeance sustain a series? (Producers explained at TCA that it won’t always be about Emily’s revenge, and that at some point “summer” will end and the action will relocate to New York City.)”… cause it seems a lot of people are wondering the same thing.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Well, I think some folks went and assumed that her whole revenge plot will unfold over a singular summer, with a finite number of targets — especially since the prologue suggests the Labor Day Weekend death of a major character. But the EPs are saying the story goes beyond there, beyond the first summer, and beyond the Hamptons.

    • Kim W says:

      As I stated on the All My Children boards – Prime time TV are SOAP OPERAS thanks for making my point.!
      Loved Damages hope this is similar but Glen Close was a much better actress.
      If they have any more reality shows i think i’ll puke. Only like America’s got talent, Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

      • sue says:

        I totally agree. The only reality shows I like are the same ones you mentioned, plus So You Think You Can Dance. I’m waiting to see if I’ll like the X Factor with Simon Cowell. I am upset that ABC and CBS are taking my soaps off the air and replacing them with talk shows. Hopefully there will be some prime time “soaps” instead of all reality and crime.

  8. kevin says:

    It ain’t easy going up against CSI and SVU in the same timeslot.

    • David says:

      SVU is dead without Meloni and Hargitay. Hopefully Revenge will take good advantage of the Modern Family lead-in on opening night. I just hope people sit through the whole premiere. This reminds me of The Black Donellys situation, a great pilot that much of the premiere audience gave up on half-way through the first episode.

  9. Captain says:

    I’m really excited for this. I adore Emily and I think this will be an interesting role for her since she’s so use to playing the girl-next-door. I hope it does well but since I haven’t heard much buzz around it, my expectations are high ratings-wise.

  10. Captain says:

    I have to ask, are they relocating the series to New York City or are they going to film in LA and pass it off as New York because I don’t see that working.

  11. Ram510 says:

    I think Revenge will start well, but I don’t know if it’s enough to make it through 2012. I for one will be busy watching Psych and I’ll give American Horror Story a shot. I don’t know if I can fit Revenge in.

  12. MDEP says:

    This made my list just for Nick Wechsler.

  13. Julie says:

    After reading your review, I actually think I’ll give Revenge a chance. From the previews, I thought this looked like a better fit for the summer season, so I’m glad to hear that they plan to use the summer setting for only a portion of the show.

  14. Andy says:

    This is going to be Eastwick ALL OVER AGAIN :(

  15. Rjrtist says:

    Don’t get too interested in this, it won’t be on long.It would have been a great premise if her father lost his job and she went after the ones who did it.

  16. Andrea says:

    Where did Max Martini go? If he’s not in this, I’ll pass.

  17. dee123 says:

    The show won’t all be about revenge? Then why call it that?

    • Lauren says:

      They said in the article it won’t be about Emily’s revenge – next season maybe another character wants revenge on Emily for whatever she does this season.
      I found the previews a bit stupid but I will check it out, I love Emily Van Camp and Connor Paolo and the promo shot of her in the black dress with the thorns is too awesome to not check out the show. I have a feeling it isn’t going to do well though. I hope I’m wrong.

  18. Chmarin says:

    It’s going up against both CSI and SVU. Those 2 shows will split the viewers and there won’t be any left for Revenge.

    Canceled by November Sweeps.

  19. Justin says:

    I’ve been on the fence about this one for a while, but every review I read has been great. I cant help but be intrigued. I’ll definitely give it a chance. However, I do see this being cancelled quickly.

  20. chris says:

    I watched the pilot and thought it was good. Not great but there’s definitely potential if it gets a chance. Emily Van Camp was good but Madeline Stowe stole the show. She was awesome!

    I hate this timeslot though. After comedies? Wednesday at 10 has been a death slot for years on ABC. The Unusuals, Eastwick, Ugly Betty, Off the Map, The Whole Truth, Happy Town, Life on Mars, Dirty Sexy Money, etc. At least it will get Modern Family lead-in for the premiere but after that, it will get Happy Endings lead-in which will probably bleed like Cougar Town did. Revenge is gaining some online buzz with facebook though! Hoping for the best!

  21. Juan says:

    I am definately watching this and I think it might make it because its time slot is good for it. CSI and SUV share the same old and male audience while this might get a more young and female audience which is good for it and modern family will lead into it so it will get a good premier and if the pilot is as good as people have been saying than it might keep its audience.

  22. Ryan says:

    Love Emily VanCamp and also Henry Czerny who plays Stowe’s husband. He was an awesome villain in “Clear & Present Danger”.

    Watch the pilot via the Kindle code just now. Pretty decent. I was surprised Madeline Stowe got first billing when the credits ran. I expected this was Emily’s show and Stowe would get the “And” billing. Oh well. Just like “Prison Break”. Wentworth Miller was the real lead and he was listed second.

    Hope it doesn’t get cancelled too quickly, though I do think a show like this would be best served by a network saying something like “We will give you 22 episodes. Wrap it up at the end. If by episode 17 ratings are good, we’ll tell you and you can open up the story to head toward season 2. if not, give us an ending we can sell on DVD”

  23. Kris says:

    @ Matt Webb Mitovich – Could you provide a link, where the EP’s say that the show will not be completely about her revenge, and will go out of the Hamptons?

    I read that the creator was looking to make a Soap about the Have’s and Have-Not’s of the Hampton’s, and that they then came up with the female Count of Monte Cristo idea.

    From that, I figured it may become a Hampton’s Soap after the premise runs it’s course, but if they wanted to make a show about the Hampton’s , it doesn’t make sense that they would take it out of the Hampton’s. Would love to read the article, in other words! Thanks!

  24. Kris says:

    @ Matt-

    Also, I thought the same thing with the “5 Months Earlier” part…DAMAGES! I was waiting for it to end with “5 months later”….Haha.

    Damages, however, I agree, is a tad smarter with their Flashforward. I now feel like the ending of this has been spoiled for me. Where with Damages, the flashforward created the guessing game of the “Whodunit”. Everyone had different motives.

    *Spoilers from the first 3 minutes of the episode, a part of the episode which was released months ago as a sneak peek, below*

    I hope there is more to “Daniels” death than meets the eye. I hope, that it is not Emily/Amanda who killed him, if that is Daniel. Would seem that he wasn’t involved with what happened with her father. As a character, we are supposed to like Emily. Killing Daniel would be unjust(Whereas Killing Christine or Conrad would be just, in the sense that they are the ones who framed her father).

    Very promising pilot. Hope the rest of the Series lives up to that promise.

    • Ryan says:

      Maybe, if that is Daniel who is dead, you will see that he was good and Emily truly loved him and she will want revenge for his death as wold his parents, her sworn enemies.

  25. Dacaria says:

    I can see this being an awesome mini-series, but I’m not sure it has the staying power of a regular series of 3-5 years.

  26. Sheldon W. says:

    Loved the pilot a bit more than you did – though that opening scene definitely is a bit too detailed. I’ll be watching Revenge live ans recording American Horror Story, CSI and Psych [gave up on L&O:SVU long ago].

  27. Brandy says:

    I really want to check this show out,read the pilot script.

  28. Pedro P. says:

    It is a wondrous pilot. Emily VanCamp is as good as ever and Christa B. Allen is just perfect for the role of Victoria. And I definitely can’t wait for Daniel to fall for Emily/Amanda.
    I have to agree with you, though, that the first scene shows a bit more than I have expected. Nothing that compromises the quality of the pilot, I just wish it were slightly different.

  29. Charles J says:

    I love Emily VanCamp, but, she was not at her best in the pilot. Most of her ‘acting’ consisted of empty stares. The plot, made more sense in this article’s telling than in the actual show. The flashbacks were confusing and muddled.

    The best part was the plot with the ORDINARY people, the guy who wanted to go away and help people. There’s some potential there. But, watching a bunch of caricatures of rich people on a weekly basis, with a lead actress who shows no emotion whatsoever? Not a recipe for enjoyable viewing in my book.

  30. Christian says:

    omg i loved the pilot! What r u talking about empty stares? Emily was wonderful at conveying a steely tough chick who is ultimately vulnerable and fragile.

  31. Bec says:

    Just watched the pilot and I’m completely hooked. I think this will be a really great series, even if it doesn’t go past 1 season.

  32. Jack S says:

    As someone who wasn’t planning to watch this, I now am after watching the pilot online, so hopefully that move does work for ABC. Not too sure on the lead-in (does this really fit with the comedies? I think it could be an alright fit after DH) and the competition is quite tough, but it shouldn’t have any crossover anyway and hope it can do well.

  33. Susan says:

    I hope they don’t cancel revenge. I am really enjoying it. I look forward to it every week, my favorite new show.

  34. Nicole says:

    This program delivers a story that keeps the audience in suspense. The main character has the face of an angel but, her ability to make them stay there depicts a woman with a vengeance. It is awesome and I missed nov 9. My email is nped71@yahoo.com.

  35. Nick says:

    I find this show to be compelling and it is my favourite of it’s genre. I also love brothers and sisters where Emily plays the complete opposite sweet girl. She is very scary as a manipulator.

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