Friday, September 23, 2011

'Revenge' has me hooked

ABC

ABC
I read a lot of books in high school, but The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the ones I remember well. I don’t know why it sticks with me, but it does. I even remember the white-haired bespectacled English teacher handing out the paperback version to us in class. Now, if you asked me to give you a detailed plot summary of the novel’s twists and turns, I wouldn’t be able to—and I doubt I could’ve as a teenager either. But I do remember the story—the delicious intrigue, the tenterhooks (though sometimes long-winded) plotting, the costs of both revenge and forgiveness, the need and desire for justice, the handsome Count and his weasely enemies.


Perhaps that explains why ABC’s Revenge has—much to my own surprise—gotten its hooks into me. The series touts itself as a modern reimagining of Dumas’ classic, with Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) assuming the role of Dantes and Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) as the malicious force behind the traitors who framed Emily’s father for a horrible crime he didn’t commit. As a result of Victoria’s treachery, Emily (whose real name is Amanda Clarke) was physically dragged away from her father into a life in foster care and juvenile centers. It isn’t until she’s released at 18 that she finds out her father, who died in prison, has left her a letter explaining everything along with a vast fortune—which she uses to create a new identity and plot her revenge.

ABC
Critics have responded pretty well—and I concur. The pilot was well-paced, beautifully shot and stacked with some solid and intriguing characters—particularly Emily/Amanda, Victoria Grayson, and Nolan Ross (from whom Emily’s fortune came after her father invested in his now extremely successful company). Also, Revenge has an attractive, almost medieval or monarchial feel to it, with “Queen” Victoria  and her machinational maneuvering to keep her Hamptons court under her power and control. In some ways, it reminds me a bit of Kings, the short-lived NBC series that reimagined the biblical story of King David.

In the midst of all this, what intrigues me most about Revenge is its self-named front-burner theme. From the very first commercial, I wanted to know if and how the series would deal with the costs of revenge, especially on the one who takes it. Learning that it claims roots in Dumas’ novel gives me hope that it will—and that will bring God-talk into these open spaces.

The biggest question at this point—and one my husband asked immediately as the pilot ended—is whether the series can maintain its captivating story. I, for one, will be tuning in next week to find out.



2 comments:

Karen said...

Another stellar write-up. You nailed it!

Carmen Andres said...

thanks, Karen :)