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Featured TV on DVD Review: Revenge: Season One

September 15th, 2012

Revenge: Season One - Buy from Amazon

Revenge began its run last season with a good amount of buzz. The pilot had earned mostly good reviews and many critics thought the first episode set up an entertaining show. The ratings were also good. In fact, it was the best show on the Wednesday 10 p.m. slot since Lost. This is not a show like Lost, it is more of a nighttime soap based on betrayal and vengeance. But does it work for the full season? Or does it fail to live up to its early potential?

The Show

The show begins at the engagement party of Emily Thorne and Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman). The happy night ends with someone being shot and Daniel's sister, Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) finding the body. It's Daniel. We then flashback to five months earlier when Emily moved into the Hamptons, but not for the first time. She has a flashback to when she was a young girl and spent the summer there with her father, although he calls her Amanda. Throughout the first episode, we get filled in on Emily's backstory. Her real name is Amanda Clarke, daughter of David Clarke. David was a hedge fund manager who worked for Conrad Grayson. He was framed for funneling money to a terrorist group and was sent to prison for life. Amanda was sent to a foster home, before landing in juvenile detention. After her father died, she inherited her father's share in a massive corporation he gave the start-up money to and decided to move to the Hamptons, but not because she had such fond memories of the place. Conrad Grayson was the man who funneled money to terrorists and he was the one who framed David. He got help from his wife, Victoria, as well as David's secretary and Victoria's best friend, Lydia. She's moved to the Hamptons, under an assumed name, to worm her way into the social circles to get her revenge.

Emily's first act goes off without a hitch, as she gets Conrad busted for cheating on Victoria, with Lydia. Actually, there was one hitch during her first act of revenge. She was recognized. The man who recognizes her is Nolan Ross. Nolan runs NolCo, a massive computer company and the richest man in the Hamptons, one of the richest men in the world. He's also the man David Clarke helped when he was just starting out, so he's loyal to Emily, although Emily distrusts him.

The Graysons are not the only family in town. There's also Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler) and his younger brother Declan. Jack and Amanda knew each other when they were kids and Jack always had a crush on her. He even named his boat after her. This definitely puts an added wrinkle in her plan.

Because there's a continuing plot, it's hard to get into the plots of the individual episodes. However, there is a tendency for Freak of the Week episodes. For much of the early season, we are introduced to one new target each week (the hedge fund manager who testified against her father, the prosecutor who covered up evidence, etc.) and by the end of the episode, they are destroyed, never to be heard from again. It slows down the early momentum of the show, but that does improve once the more continuing storylines become prominent.

That's not the only problem with the show. Emily VanCamp is a really good actress and she's really good in this TV show, for the most part. She's really good at the emotionally manipulative moments. You really believe she would go far enough to, as she put it, get mortal vengeance. On the other hand, when she has to play physically scary, like the scene when she's coming out of juvie, it isn't as convincing. She just doesn't look physically intimidating.

Other than that, Revenge is a very good show. It's perhaps a little too soapy at times and a little too campy, but overall it is an engaging, suspenseful show.

The Extras

Extras begin with an audio commentary track on the pilot, plus six deleted scenes. Over on disc two, we find close to a dozen more deleted scenes. Disc three has three more deleted scenes and disc four has nine. The final disc has four featurettes, starting with Nolan Ross Exposed, a three-minute look at Nolan Ross, the character. Roadmap to Revenge is a 13-minute look at the creation of the show. At Home in "The Hamptons" is an 8-minute look at the locations. Haute Hamptons: Femme Fatale Fashion is an 8-minute featurette on the fashion. There are also nine more deleted scenes, three minutes of outtakes, and a music video.

The Verdict

Revenge takes a few episodes to hit its stride, but overall Season One is worth checking out. The extras on the five-disc set are good enough to lift its value to a purchase level, but it is not quite a Pick of the Week Contender.

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