1) KICK ASS FEMALE PROTAGONIST: Not since Kristen Bell’s Veronica Mars or Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer has a female television lead kicked so much ass or been so adept at ruining other people’s lives on a week to week basis. For all their similarities though, and there are many, Thorne is so much more singular in intent. The title says it all. In its unflappable know-it-all girl next door, Revenge boasts a lead who balances the nuanced social politics of Gossip Girl, the relentless body trail of Kill Bill and the wider, season-long mystery arc of Veronica Mars. What’s more, she’s a master of ninjutsu and the secret art of lying your face off.
2) SYSTEMATIC ANNIHILATION OF HER ENEMIES: In it’s first few episodes the show took a villain of the week approach to Emily’s revenge journey, an M.O. which has since given way to a more focused endgame targeting series Big Bad Victoria Grayson, expertly played by Madeleine Stowe (see below). We appreciate how they’ve honed in on the show’s delicious central conflict but we miss those first breathless episodes where Emily would mark photos of her targets with a big red X then proceed to ruin their lives in increasingly destructive and imaginative ways. Relish it while you can.
3) MADELEINE STOWE’S MASTERY OF PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: Stowe (pictured) plays Big Bad, Hamptons socialite, and duplicitous Grayson matriarch Victoria Grayson, a role which requires her inhuman ability to smile with her mouth but scream “I’mma kill you bitch” with her eyes. Behind Victoria’s amicable facade lies the bastard spawn of Satan and and Miranda Priestly, a contrast which Stowe is contractually obligated to render at least once per episode with a slight tilt of the head the most spine-chilling fake smile on television.
4) CAMP AS HELL ENSEMBLE CAST: Okay so between the Machiavellian socialite and the revenge driven heroine is the gay billionaire software developer, the secret half-sister, the ridiculously attractive ethnic best friend, the childhood best friend who doesn’t recognise you for overly complicated reasons and the brother of said friend who will forever be known as Serena an der Woodsen’s gay little brother on Gossip Girl. Here’s a sample line: “These guys really put the suck in seersucker.” And that’s just the main cast the writers have to keep “relatively” normal.
5) OUTRAGEOUS PLOT TWISTS: To extrapolate would be a disservice to first-time Revenge viewers so we’ll just say that the following things happen at various points throughout the series: conspiracy theories, closeted mental problems, closeted sexuality, paternity tests, suspicious suicides, loyalty backflips and reciprocal double identities. We give their cliffhangers nine Sylvester Stallones out of ten.
Revenge airs at 8:30pm tonight on Seven.