Oh Revenge – what has happened to you this season!

Regular Remote Patrolled readers will know I was a HUGE fan of Revenge in Season 1. ABC’s not-so-guilty pleasure brought back the prime time soap big time and was deliciously fun, bitchy and outrageous in equal measure. But this year… oh man! Where to begin!

For starters there’s the ridiculously over-complicated storylines! Does anyone have the vaguest idea what’s going on at Grayson Global and / or NolCorp? All these behind the scenes business deals – and none of them make any sense! And then there’s all the White Haired Man nonsense… WTF? Since when do you need to be a member of MENSA to understand an ABC drama?

Then there’s all the Initiative ridiculousness – a key Revenge flaw I’ve talked about here on the site before. I want Emily Thorne to be a (fairly) ordinary girl bent on a personal mission of Revenge. I want to see her make mistakes along the way. I don’t want her to become a secret agent. And I don’t want her to be battling a crazy and complicated conspiracy. This isn’t Lost. Revenge doesn’t need to be this elaborate.

What else… oh how about Jennifer Jason Leigh playing Emily’s mom Kara. Revenge made such a big hoopla at the end of Season 1 about the arrival of this key character and we all went into speculation mode over who would play the potentially iconic character. I wanted someone like Sharon Stone, who would go toe-to-toe on the bitch front with Madeleine Stowe. Instead we ended up with Jennifer Jason Leigh, playing the part like she was in some wretched indie movie and looking mighty homely up against the magnificent Madeleine. Most annoyingly Kara was given nothing to do except skulk around and look confused. She could have become a major part of the Revenge universe, but instead was shipped off after just a few episodes, the writers clearly as bored by the character as we were…

Jennifer Jason Leigh-Kara-Revenge

Speaking of new characters… I like Emily’s new partner in crime Aiden but have three quick critiques – 1) I don’t really care about Aiden’s own personal vendettas 2) if this guy is gonna compete with Daniel and Jack as a love interest for Emily shouldn’t he at least look like he works out when shirtless and 3) more screentime for Aiden means less time for Nolan – and that’s definitely not a good thing!

Yep Revenge’s bisexual billionaire has been somewhat sidelined this season – along with Daniel, Ashley, Charlotte and Declan. That’s just another sign of how much Revenge has moved away from its season 1 roots, abandoning characters we’ve come to like. That said I’d happily never set foot in Jack’s bar ever again – is it just me or does the show’s pacing slow to a slump every time the action switches to Jacks? And again, is anyone else confused by the new co-owners motives and storyline. Three words Revenge. Keep. It. Simple.

Okay, I’m being harsh here – Revenge is still an entertaining show and zips along at an often breathless pace. And there have been some fun moments this season… Victoria and Amanda’s balcony tussle, Conrad’s wedding day arrest (though the wedding itself made no sense whatsoever), Daniel trying to remain a good guy while being dragged towards the dark…

What Revenge needs to do is get back to basics. It should be the story of Emily’s quest for Revenge on Victoria, Conrad and a few of their associates. Emily should make mistakes along the way and find her motives clouded. What made the Daniel / Emily romance in season 1 work so well was because it made Emily human and sometimes derailed her plans – plus the real life romantic pair enjoyed terrific chemistry. We need to see Nolan interfering and dropping pithy quips. We need Ashley’s continued emergence as a budding bitch – let’s see her go up against Victoria for example. I want to see Amanda back to her troublemaking roots instead of being a wannabe suburban mom, Charlotte going off the rails, and Jack and Declan just doing something interesting!

ABC gave Revenge a HUGE vote of confidence by moving the show to the coveted Desperate Housewives Sunday night slot – but so far Revenge season 2 hasn’t proven itself worthy of the timeslot upgrade. Ratings have been slipping virtually every week and the critics are starting to take notice. I hope the Revenge producers are also paying attention and realize they’re driving what could be a TV classic into the ground.

I’m hopeful the show will turn around – Revenge’s troubles aren’t unprecedented – many shows with amazing first season’s struggle in year 2. The Walking Dead had a very wobbly start at the beginning of its second season and yet has been spectacular in Season 3. Lost lost millions of viewers in its 2nd year. And Desperate Housewives went through a very rough patch in its sophomore season – remember Alfre Woodard and her chained up son in the basement – before bouncing back big time in year 3.

So I’m keeping everything crossed for Revenge… but what about you? Have you noticed changes this season? Do you like the show’s new direction? Comment away…