One of the eternal questions that must haunt writers, producers and TV channel bosses minds is when to axe a hit show. Something that is a ratings smash first time round surely deserves a second offering. But what if what was crafted first time around was near perfect. Take Broadchurch. Is the second series going to match the expectations set? Or is it going to tarnish the reputation of the first series by being a disappointing, over-stretched idea. I will hopefully return to this in a future post.

Revenge perhaps has similar problems. The first season was delicious soapy brilliance. The second went a bit too dark with its terrorist conspiracies and shadowy corporations, although the third set it right by going back to the basics. By the close of the third season it felt as if the story was as complete as you could want it – Emily/Amanda had achieved her aims, with one nemesis dead and another institutionalised. Ok, so her Dad, presumed deceased, returned, but as far as dangling strings go, it didn’t feel major enough.

The fourth season has just started in the UK (no spoilers please), and the first episode straddles the line between welcome return and unwished for guest. Emily is now at the top of tree, so it begins, initially at least, suggesting this is going to be Victoria’s story. Yet this makes little sense. We spent three years rooting for Emily the anti-hero, and now it feels as if we are being asked to view her as a villain. Thankfully, there are enough nods within the episode to suggest that this isn’t the case, but even that raises the issue of ‘what do we do when it is baddie who wants revenge?’. Is the series going to be about Emily thwarting plans rather than making them?

There are two things that could actually make this fourth season a worthwhile project. Firstly, characters that had previously just been orbits to Emily are coming into their own. Nolan in particular has learnt some of Emily’s best tricks, and could offer a strong alternative focus point if the audience finally tires of Emily vs. Victoria.

The second is that dangling string of the returned father. If this is done well, with outlandish yet believable twists-and-turns, his big reveal could be a crowning glory. Done badly though, and it could be the plot that sinks the show.

Either way, it feels as if Revenge is reaching its conclusion. Let’s not jam in anymore skeletons into the closets. Otherwise there won’t be room for the characters fabulous outfits.

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