We're sure that you've checked out the five new shows for fall that we love, but we have a confession: ABC's stylish and soapy new drama Revenge absolutely deserves to be on that list. Consider this our honorable mention.
TV's go-to girl next door Emily VanCamp (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) is ditching the morals in exchange for a role that's sexy, seductive and kind of scary. Prepare for VanCamp like you've never seen her before. Trust us, it's a good thing.
Here's everything you need to know about this modern reimagining of The Count of Monte Cristo, Hamptons-style…
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: CSI (CBS), American Horror Story (FX), Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe , Nick Wechsler, Josh Bowman, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Connor Paolo, Christa B. Allen, Henry Czerny, Ashley Madekwe
Status: We've seen the pilot episode
The series follows VanCamp's Emily Thorne (formerly Amanda Clark) on her mission for revenge against the people who framed her father (played by James Tupper in flashbacks) for a crime he didn't commit 17 years ago, destroying her childhood in the process. They say time heals all wounds, but we're pretty sure Emily would tell whoever concocted that expression to go to hell.
VanCamp is outstanding in the role, making you question the sincerity and objective of Emily's every move, facial expression and word. She's charming and charismatic one minute, cold, calculated and slightly crazy the next. She's a less homicidal, female version of Dexter Morgan: Though you might not agree with everything she does, you can't help but be captivated by her.
If Emily is the ringleader, let's meet the game's other players, shall we?
Victoria (Stowe): The woman most responsible for Emily's father's downfall, she is the Regina George of the Hamptons and Emily's ultimate target. Too bad she's just as clever and cunning as our protagonist—it's going to take a while (and some scheming) to knock this queen off her throne.
Daniel (Bowman): Victoria's extremely attractive, former bad boy son whom Emily selects as her best method at taking down Victoria, and possibly a real love interest. Will Emily be able to keep her eyes on the prize or will she develop true feelings? "I think she will slowly start to realize that he's not the kind of guy that he looks like on paper," VanCamp teases. "He's actually kind of great and is just as imprisoned by Victoria's boxes as she is. There's definitely feelings that can surface."
Jack (Wechsler): Emily's old childhood crush who has remained in town to help his father with his struggling business. You'll love him instantly because he named his boat "Amanda" after his long-lost sandbox love. He has no idea his Amanda is now Emily. "He's the one person that reminds her of her past and he's the one person that can break down those walls," VanCamp explains, "which ultimately makes him the one she fears the most."
Nolan (Mann): The Mad Men actor plays an Internet billionaire who owes his lavish lifestyle to Emily's father and wants to help her avenge him. Alas, Emily isn't exactly what we call a team player.
A common reaction to the pilot seems to be, "But where do they go from here? How will this show last?" Well, Miss VanCamp has a message for the longevity doubters: "It's not just my character out to get revenge. Obviously she's going to be taking people down, but it's not necessarily every week—it's so much more about the characters and their interactions."
The pilot doesn't waste a single second setting up the characters, their relationships and the game they're all playing. The episode achieves the perfect balance between revealing Emily's tragic backstory and setting the tone for the series and the lengths Emily will go to for revenge (her takedown of one target is awesome with a side of epic). Plus, the pilot begins with a flash-forward to a deadly event that adds a bittersweet touch to many of the scenes that follow.
Verdict: Revenge is a dish best served watched. (How's that for a pun?!) Seriously, this show has the potential to become your next guilty pleasure.