DVD Review: Revenge (The Complete First Season)



The Hamptons is a strange beach resort area. For starters, the beach is the last thing anyone vacationing there cares about experiencing on the Eastern end of New York’s Long Island. You’ll be treated like a freak of nature if you ask directions to the public beach. This is a world where people come to compare the size of their boats. The bar tab at a nightclub for a party of four rivals your monthly mortgage. People ultimately want to splash around in money. They give each other sunburns from their blazing egos. This attitude makes it the perfect location for the hottest new TV drama. Revenge: The Complete First Season doesn’t merely present a new Real Housewives in the weekend retreat from Manhattan. Revenge is about the summer Amanda came home to destroy those on her list.

“Pilot” might explain why people in the Hamptons avoid the beach. While a fancy fire and ice themed engagement party is in full swing, a guest is being shot in the wet sand. Turns out to not merely be a guest, but Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) the future groom that’s been fired upon and iced. His mother Victoria Grayson (Last of the Mohicans‘ Madeleine Stowe) is shocked. His fiance Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) seems restrained at such a horrific moment. Why isn’t she in hysterics? The action flashes back to the start of the summer when Emily was a rich newbie renting a house next to the Grayson’s seaside mansion. Turns out she’s not that new to scene. She and her dad lived in the house until they were rudely removed by federal agents. He was busted for supposedly funding a terrorist attack. His entire empire is destroyed after he’s convicted and sent to prison. Was he guilty? Turns out the entire scam was engineered by Victoria Grayson. Emily is his daughter’s new identity. Her mission is to slowly destroy the Graysons and their confederates.

Not everyone in the Hamptons is marked for a fate worse than death (which is summering on the Jersey Shore). She has friends in the area including billionaire goofball Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) and her old dog. Ross only struck it rich thanks to her dad’s support. He wants to help her. But she fears he’s going to be too helpful and blow the plan. Her dog now lives with bar owner Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler). Porter doesn’t realize who she is. Her keeping a secret identity hurts in this situation since she still likes the guy. Porter’s brother plays with dynamite as craves to hook up with a Grayson daughter in “Trust.” Her rich boyfriend doesn’t like the local boy social climbing into her bed.

Revenge works because VanCamp and Stowe are capable of being so wonderfully vicious while maintaining fake smiles in public settings. The mother is as bent on exposing the truth about her future daughter-in-law as she’s committed to destroying her future mother-in-law.

Coincidentally Stowe had starred in the movie Revenge with Kevin Costner directed by the late Tony Scott. Be careful when you order the TV series since saying “The Revenge that stars Madeleine Stowe” won’t help.

Revenge: The Complete First Season shouldn’t be served cold. It’s a DVD set that can easily be devoured in a short time as mysteries are exposed and lives are destroyed. The show is slated to be moved to Sunday nights which should boost the ratings since it has enough glamor, intrigue and backstabbing to please the folks that miss Desperate Housewives. The flashforwards and flashbacks will appeal to Lost fans. By the time you’re halfway through, you’ll understand why those who summer in the Hamptons don’t splash in the surf.

The Episodes
“Pilot,” “Trust,” “Betrayal,” “Duplicity,” “Guilt,” “Intrigue,” “Charade,” “Treachery,” “Suspicion,” “Loyalty,” “Duress,” “Infamy,” “Commitment,” “Perception,” “Chaos,” “Scandal,” “Doubt,” “Justice,” “Absolution,” “Legacy,” “Grief” and “Reckoning.”

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. It looks great so that you can take in the splendor of the Hamptons without getting your feet wet. It’s just like you went there. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The levels bring out the sophisticated background music and the hushed tones of a plan being executed. The episodes are subtitled in English, Spanish and French.

Deleted Scenes are provided on each DVD.

Audio Commentary on “Pilot” has creator Mike Kelley and VanCamp discuss the creation and execution.

Nolan Ross Exposed (3:04) is a fake news interview with the character.

Roadmap to Revenge (13:36) breaks down how far Emily is going to go to destroy all. The cast and crew discuss the show.

At home in “the Hamptons” (8:17) breaks down how they fake the resort town on massive sound stages.

Haute Hamptons: Femme Fatale Fashion (7:45) explores the wardrobe department.

Bloopers (2:45) are mostly blown lines. Best is the actor who blows his lines because birds are mating in the tree behind him.

Music videos are provided for Angus & Julia Stone’s “For You” and Christina Perri’s “Distance.”

Revenge: The Complete First Season is a sleek and sophisticate drama that’s remarkably addictive.

ABC Studios presents Revenge: The Complete First Season. Starring: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Josh Bowman and Nick Wechsler. Boxset Contents: 22 episodes on 5 DVDs. Released: August 21, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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