If you’re a TV junkie, you’ve probably noticed that ABC’s sexy Sunday night staple, Revenge, declined in quality as it progressed through its second season. The ratings even prove that a lot of people aren’t feeling the need to see what’s happening. But after catching the season three premiere a few weeks ago, and keeping up with every episode since, I have to say – I’m hooked again! If you’ve given up on the show, I have a few reasons why you should give it another chance. Some spoilers may ensue, but hey, I’m making an important point here about a fictional hour-long drama, so you’re going to have to just deal, kay?
First, all that Initiative garbage is gone. Remember? The Initiative was that company that was somehow involved in the death and imprisonment of Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke’s father. Or something like that. I’m not too sure of the details mostly because the plot line created a lot of complications for the series; taking away from its previous season one formula of Emily slowly annihilating the people who framed her father before his wrongful imprisonment.
But the show closed that whole Initiative chapter in the premiere’s opening scene, where Emily and her tech sidekick Nolan swear to never speak of it again. Literally, they just say something along the lines of, “…and I never want to hear the phrase ‘The Initiative’ again,” and then we don’t ever hear about them again. Sure, it’s lazy, but it shows that the writers have been listening and are wanting to begin anew. And so far, it’s been good. So far, we’ve had some deaths, car crashes, feigned diseases, publicity scandal after publicity scandals – think post-post-post rehab Lindsay Lohan from 2007-8, but with more white party invitations.
Setting the show in The Hamptons was always the perfect idea, but it’s easy to forget how beautiful the show’s backdrop for manipulation and deceit is – because the set is really just gorgeous. Grand pianos, crown molding, chandeliers; just overall perfect soft lighting that only confirms this show’s target audience is the gays. And pairing this with Emily Van Camp’s perfect narration, and the fact that everyone talks with so much old money on the tip of their tongues (in last week’s episode, Madeline Stowe actually uttered the line “unhand my painting this instant!” with a straight face, and all), you really have a beautiful show.
And say what you will, but there aren’t a lot of network television shows that deliver on aesthetics; meaning Revenge still understands there are people out there who sometimes want less of the grit and blood of cable, and sometimes want more beautiful people fighting politely.
The show has also listened to us by removing some of the more annoying, superfluous characters; killing off Declan Porter and the fake Amanda Clarke (played by former Serena Van Der Woodsen brother Connor Paolo and Margarita Levieva, respectively). They were just the worst, weren’t they? They’ve also tastefully sent off Victoria Grayson’s pretty assistant Ashley Davenport on a plane somewhere, making the original cast a lot tighter and cohesive for the drama to unfold.
They’ve also plopped in a character that isn’t just adding tension but also adding some more sex appeal. The hunky Justin Hartley is now on the show as Patrick Osbourne; Victoria Grayson’s long lost son. And sure, a long lost son is kind of convenient, but more so for us when it just so happens a lot more Hampton pool parties seem to be happening, too. He has abs! I mean, aren’t you just a little curious about the many ways he’ll end up shirtless? An antique candelabra maybe catching his already unbuttoned shirt on fire? Or maybe torn off in a fiery plane crash he survives? The show could literally go anywhere! Not to mention, this keeps happening:
Yup. The entire show is upping the shirtless doses. The last episode I saw had every major male character shirtless. There are more people in towels than at the gym, and the lead actors seem to be hitting it hard. They even have something for you salt and pepper types, with Conrad Grayson (played by Henry Czerny) flaunting some major pecs in his tasteful cotton/cashmere blend sweaters. Plus, with two openly gay male characters on the show, we’re seeing a possible love connection between Nolan Ross and Patrick Osbourne… or has it already happened?! I won’t spoil too much.
But even with all the man candy, the biggest reason to watch is probably the law-defying physics of seeing Madeline Stowe continue to look ageless. Seriously, I never used to believe in aliens, but you need to be using some extraterrestrial shit to look so good. She’s basically the Kylie Minogue of television; ensuring that she’s keeping everything tight and wearing something sparkly, while also making sure hot men are shirtless around her all the time. And for that, we really have to thank her.
Revenge is on Sunday nights at 9pm on ABC. And that isn’t a plug, it’s just the time it’s on. So, whether you’re a fan – new or old – see if we can give this late night soap one more chance before we have to say goodbye. Because while revenge is infinity times infinity according to this devilishly wacky show, we can’t always say the same about a television series’ lifespan.
If Revenge falls back into bad habits, who’s to say we all can’t benefit from an open Sunday timeslot that allows ABC to squeeze in a sexy supernatural show about the wives of werewolves, or something? Mark Consuelos could play one of the werewolves. Or Mario Lopez? Wait. I have to go now. I have a Pilot episode I need to develop.