ABC’s solemn soap spins a tale of vengeance in the Hamptons, doling out satisfactions bit by bit

Getting even on TV, or in the movies, is usually portrayed as exhilarating. Or at least satisfying.

ABC’s new “Revenge,”  Wednesday night at 10, gambles that we’ll want to watch a good vengeance drama even when it turns out to be a grim process where in the end it doesn’t seem like anybody is going to feel very good.

Revenge” follows Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), a woman whose innocent father was killed by a group of arrogant rich people to whom he had become inconvenient.

Orphaned, Emily spent her teenage years bouncing through loveless foster homes. She was sustained by a dream, then an obsession, then a plan to track down all those responsible and make them feel the same pain she felt.

As this suggests, Emily isn’t thinking in terms of slashing their tires or soaping their windows. Emily is thinking much bigger, and she has no interest in playing any nicer than those folks played.

She just wants to get even.

Happily for purposes of the drama, her primary adversary is worthy. Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) rules a major corner of Hamptons society, and she didn’t get there by simply fluttering her eyelashes at the right men.

Her husband, Conrad (Henry Czerny), is a stone-cold fellow himself, albeit a very rich one, so Emily must navigate carefully to infiltrate their exclusive and suspicious world.

VanCamp makes Emily nicely credible in a tricky situation. She has an endearing ease and poise that allays any suspicion the Hamptons inner circle might harbor about outsiders, yet she also can narrow her eyes and lock in on a target with eyes that resemble dry ice.

Stowe enhances the show herself, playing Victoria as a woman who has done awful things yet isn’t entirely awful.

To understand isn’t exactly to forgive, but as we begin to see what happened those many years ago, even when we see it through Emily’s eyes, it becomes clear that Victoria had a few residual sparks of humanity.

The bigger challenge for the show, of course, is to make us understand the things Emily now does.

The most famous male vengeance seekers over the years have often followed an unspoken code that says you’re not only allowed to seek revenge, you’re almost obligated.

That cuts them a lot of slack in the behavior and morality departments, and it will be interesting to see if Emily seems to be accorded similar leniency.

Whether she is or not, she quickly moves beyond the point where she is purely a sympathetic victim.

That means “Revenge” will bank more on creating a compelling and complex psychological and investigative drama than on simply setting up good guys and bad guys and counting on the viewer to root for the good guys to win.

The show is asking viewers, then, to invest some time and not expect a clean resolution of some black-and-white drama each week.

That’s a gamble and a risk. “Revenge” seems confident it can be taken and won.

By David Hinckley/Ny Daily News

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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