24. Revenge

Network: ABC
Stars: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny, Connor Paolo, Ashton Holmes, Ashley Madekwe, Joshua Bowman, Nick Wechsler, Amber Valletta, Margarita Levieva

There’s a strong chance that when you first saw the ads for ABC’s Revenge, whether during commercial breaks or on subway trains, the initial thought was something along the lines, “Fuck outta here, not another Gossip Girl rip-off.” At least that’s what crossed our mind initially—that is, until we gave Revenge a shot and became secretly obsessed. Look, we still feel a bit uneasy about lavishing what’s basically a more pristine and nighttime-airing soap opera with so much adulation.

Revenge deserves it, though, for several reasons. The performances, particularly from lead Emily VanCamp (as a scorned girl quietly working against high-society snobs who wronged her father) and Madeleine Stowe, who’d own TV’s “greatest hellcat” award if not for American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange.

Like AHS, Revenge finds ways to rollick viewers with unexpected turns and salacious scenes that one-up each other week in and week out. Now we understand what our mothers used to feel like while fixating over Melrose Place.