Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dive In: Revenge

You don’t have to wait until the Dallas sequel starts airing this summer to get your primetime soap fix. ABC’s scorching Hamptons soap Revenge returns this Wednesday, and if you haven’t watched, here’s everything you need to dive in and enjoy the most dramatic and surprising soap on TV!

Who’s Who

Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke
Amanda Clarke, our (anti?)heroine has returned to the Hamptons years after the wrongful arrest of her father, David, for a heinous crime he didn’t commit to get revenge on those who wronged him. Now going by the name Emily Thorne, the cold young woman ingratiates herself into the lives of the Hamptons-royalty Graysons, the family primarily responsible for her father’s arrest. Emily courts and becomes engaged to handsome-but-clueless Daniel Grayson and sets out to take down the Graysons one by one, but her plan hits a snag as she actually begins to fall for Daniel, all the while developing feelings for her childhood friend, Jack Porter, now a handsome bar owner.

Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson
Cold as ice, the confident and cruel “Queen” Victoria is Emily’s primary target, believing her to be most responsible for ruining her father’s life. Victoria had an affair with Emily’s father the summer of his arrest, and shortly after became the most revered (and feared) socialite in the Hamptons. Now the matriarch of the Grayson family, Emily’s schemes have exposed wrinkles in Victoria’s perfect life, which have led to her taking drastic action and stooping to horrific lows to maintain the life she worked so hard to create.

Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross
The foppish young technology billionaire is Emily’s one confidant and only true friend. Having considered her father a mentor, Nolan is 100 percent loyal to Emily and often makes sure her manipulations and schemes don’t backfire. Insecure with no family and few friends, Nolan once fell for Tyler Barrol, who seduced him before trying to blackmail and extort him. Nolan has also tried to sway Emily toward Jack Porter, who he has recently befriended.

Nick Wechsler as Jack Porter
A would-be world traveler, Jack’s plans to leave Montauk via boat to travel the world hit a snag with the surprise death of his father. Now taking care of both the bar and his little brother Declan, Jack has fallen hard for Emily, not knowing that she is really childhood friend Amanda’s Clarke, who he’s carried a torch for since she gave him her puppy to take care of following her father’s arrest. When Emily realizes that her dog Sammy is still alive and well and living with Jack, she is slowly pulled toward him. Following Emily’s engagement to Daniel, Jack meets and falls in love with the real Emily Thorne, who claims to be Amanda Clarke!

Josh Bowman as Daniel Grayson
The handsome, booksmart, completely naive son of Victoria and Conrad, Daniel is the quintessential golden boy. After a drunk-driving accident that left his waitress girlfriend paralyzed the year before, Daniel walks right into Emily’s trap and falls hard for her, much to Victoria’s chagrin. Emily’s manipulation of Daniel leads to him dissenting from his mother and father’s grasp to become his own man, not realizing that Emily has him wrapped around her finger. Daniel inadvertently brings his college roommate Tyler Barrol into everyone’s lives, and is now charged with his murder!

Henry Czerny as Conrad Grayson
Victoria’s husband is the mastermind behind David Clarke’s framing and shows no remorse for those whose lives he’s ruined to get ahead. Conrad’s marriage to Victoria falls apart when Emily exposed his affair to Lydia Davis, Victoria’s best friend, and Victoria blindsides him by filing for divorce. Expecting too much from son Daniel and showing a soft spot for daughter Charlotte, Conrad’s life is further turned upside down by the revelation that David Clarke is Charlotte’s biological daughter.

Christa B. Allen as Charlotte Grayson
Charlotte is an impressionable teenage debutant who develops an intense young romance with Declan Porter, which neither Victoria or Conrad approve of. Charlotte’s world falls apart when her parents announce their divorce, and she begins to spin out of control after learning that she is the biological daughter of suspected terrorist David Clarke. After being blackmailed by her grandfather into not going to therapy (he was afraid of family secrets getting out), Charlotte’s begun popping pills to cope, which is bound to produce disastrous results.

Connor Paolo as Declan Porter
Jack’s younger brother becomes involved with the Grayson family after starting a relationship with Charlotte. While his working class background initially doesn’t mix well with Charlotte’s delicate lifestyle, Declan eventually becomes a rock for the young girl as her life begins to fall apart. Declan has trouble listening to his Jack, resenting that his older brother didn’t sell the family bar after their father’s sudden heart attack and death (which Declan witnessed and felt partly responsible for). Declan is the first person to come across the dead body of Tyler Barrol at Emily and Daniel’s engagement party and suspects his brother of the murder.

Ashley Madekwe as Ashley Davenport
An ambitious event planner and Emily’s supposed best friend, Ashley yearns to have the riches and lifestyle Emily and the Graysons enjoy. Ashley struggles to impress Victoria, who treats her like her personal assistant, and ends up compromising her friendship with Emily to gain the acceptance and respect of the Graysons. After Tyler Barrol’s murder, Ashley secretly sells photos of the family to the tabloids, which Nolan discovers, prompting him to question her motives.

Supporting Cast

James Tupper as David Clarke
David Clarke was framed by his associates at Grayson Global for assisting a terrorist organization that caused a terrible plane explosion. Before dying in prison, David left his young protege Nolan Ross a box filled with diaries, pictures and other evidence that incriminates the Graysons and everyone else who helped incriminate him, hoping that Emily would find peace knowing that he was innocent (not thinking she’d decide to avenge him). David was in love with Victoria and knew that her baby Charlotte was his daughter.

Margarita Levieva as Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne
The real Emily Thorne met Amanda Clarke in juvenile detention, where they were roommates. After Amanda came into money following her father’s death, Amanda paid Emily in exchange for switching identities. After a sequence of events that result in the real Emily murdering the Grayson family lawyer, the real Amanda brings her to the Hamptons for damage control, where she ends up falling hard for Jack Porter, who thinks she’s Amanda from his childhood! Following the murder of Tyler Barrol, “Amanda” disappears, prompting Jack to try to cover up what he thinks she did.

Ashton Holmes as Tyler Barrol
Tyler is a sick, mentally unstable grifter who worms his way into the Grayson family through Daniel, who knows him as a friend from college. Tyler’s pathological ways are revealed when he seduces Nolan Ross for his money while supposedly dating Ashley Davenport. After Emily discovers Tyler’s true identity, she arranges for Tyler’s older brother to have him institutionalized (after Tyler holds the Graysons hostage at Daniel’s birthday party). Tyler escapes the mental institution just in time for Emily and Daniel’s engagement party, where he partially reveals Emily’s true nature to Daniel before trying to kill him. Daniel shoots Tyler once in self-defense, but is shot dead by Mr. Takeda, Emily’s mentor, in a plot to put Emily’s plans back on track.

Hiroyuki Sanada as Satoshi Takeda
“Mr. Takeda” is Emily’s mentor, who’s trained her both physically and mentally for avenging her father’s death. When her Emily’s plans hit a snag, Mr. Takeda comes to the Hamptons to help her, all the while expressing his disappointment in Emily’s apparent weakness for falling in love with Daniel Grayson. Takeda shot and killed Tyler Barrol and framed Daniel for the crime, hoping that it would set Emily back on track. Takeda was last seen driving off with “Amanda Clarke,” who he believed was causing too much trouble for Emily.

The Story So Far....

This is not a story about forgiveness. Emily Thorne came to town with one thing on her mind: revenge. But after actually developing feelings for Daniel Grayson, she considered toning down her plans - until Victoria let Daniel believe that David Clarke had raped her. Now, Emily is caught in a tangled web of lies and murder, struggling to maintain her strong outer shell while things begin to fall apart.

It was Takeda. On the beach. With Daniel’s gun. Psychotic Tyler Barrol planned to expose Emily’s lies at her and Daniel’s engagement party. After showing Daniel a photo that Emily was hiding with a list of her targets, he and Daniel struggled, resulting in Daniel shooting him in self-defense. Before Daniel could make his next move, Satoshi Takeda knocked him out and finished Tyler off - with Daniel’s gun. Now, Daniel’s been considered a flight risk and is being held without bail at Rikers Island prison, while Takeda has disappeared with the real Emily Thorne, who was causing too many complications for the real Amanda.

We’re all family here. Charlotte Grayson was devastated to learn that she is the biological daughter of David Clarke, long thought to be the accomplice in a terrible terrorist attack that claimed many lives. When Emily learned of her half sister, she was conflicted as to how to handle the situation. Charlotte’s boyfriend Declan suggested Charlotte talk to a therapist about her problems and stress, but Charlotte’s grandfather Edward Grayson was leery of his family secrets being exposed and blackmailed her out of it, threatening to make sure Declan wouldn’t be able to attend school with Charlotte in the fall. After finding Declan’s older brother Jack’s painkillers, Charlotte’s begun using drugs and falling apart at the seams.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back To (Horton) Square One....

For those of you who haven’t yet heard, I’m sorry to report that DAYS head writers Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. and Marlene McPherson (sometimes called “MarDar”) have been fired and replaced with veteran soap writers Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell. I’m deeply disappointed with this news. Though their stories were met with sometimes met with criticism, Thomas and McPherson should be commended for returning something to Salem that had been missing for years: heart, soul, love and family.

Looking back, it’s easy to see why Thomas and McPherson’s work was met with such mixed reaction. With the soap press inundated with news of a “reboot” that would restore DAYS to its former glory, many viewers expected something more than what they got. Their first few episodes, centered around the unveiling of Horton Square and the return of several fan favorite characters, were filled with a warmth that the show, along with most soaps, had been lacking for a long time. Families interacted, friends hung out with each other, romance was in the air for both established and new couples and stories began to center around organic, character-driven conflicts. The first months of “MarDar’s” run saw the return of John and Marlena, Austin and Carrie and Jack, as well as the introduction of a new character, Madison. The returning characters were integrated smoothly into the existing fabric of the show, and Madison was paired with Brady, who found himself without a love interest. Additionally, the long-gestating story of Will coming out of the closet began, which got fans and press talking. So what went wrong?

The main stories took a few months to develop, but it was Johnny’s disappearance that set off a chain of events that began with Sami and EJ having sex and ended with the destruction of Sami and Rafe’s marriage and EJ and Nicole’s still-tenuous relationship. Will witnessed the disturbing sex act, which sent him into a tailspin and eventually led to his coming out. The mystery of Alice’s closely guarded secrets allowed for some fun Bo and Hope moments, while all the while we got to see small, intimate moments between all the characters; who can forget the painful but cathartic therapy session between Bo and Hope where they finally dealt with unresolved feelings about Zack’s death.

It would be easy to pick apart little mistakes that Thomas and McPherson made. Not every story they wrote was a winner; I’m sure nobody wants to recall the pointless caper revolving around Chad, Will and Sonny’s Web site, and the less said about the suspense-free mayoral race the better. But even those stories, which fell very flat, had elements that kept them watchable, even enjoyable. The Web site saga’s cimax laid the groundwork for Abigail’s obsession with Austin as well as Chad and Melanie finally getting together. The mayoral race eventually figured into Will’s story and gave Abe and Lexie some much-needed conflict.

So if Thomas and McPherson consistently featured popular characters in compelling stories, why would they be fired less than a year after their tenure began? I tried very hard to think of a good reason, but Marlene McPherson answered the question herself on her Twitter account:

@marlenemcp: Thank you DOOL fans. U r the best and we love you! NBC never let us tell our stories. They kept stopping us and changing our direction. Sad.

There you have it, folks. In this time of shows be canceled right and left and all sorts of upheaval behind the scenes at almost every soap, the corporate suits still think they know what’s best and interfere until things stop working. It’s ridiculous to see two talented writers get the boot, seemingly for no reason at all, by two writers whose previous track records have been spotty at best. I hope that McPherson and Thomas find work elsewhere, because they proved in their short time on the show that they understood soap opera as a medium and knew how to respect, entertain and satisfy the audience. “MarDar’s” work will continue airing until July, so hopefully their work won’t be completely undone by the “new” regime. For now, though, keep watching DAYS and let the-powers-that-be know that you have been enjoying DAYS and are disappointed to see yet another jarring change about to occur.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dayplayer Dish In April 2012

Dayplayer Dish April 2012!

Stuck inside during April showers? Check out Dayplayer Dish! With a revitalized, regularly updated blog filled with fun features, a weekly podcast and chat and constant Twitter updates, Dayplayer Dish is excited to announce several interviews and features coming up in April.

Thursday, April 5: Happy Endings Season Finale Review - Blog
Lee and Lauren do a classic He Said/She Said on the April 4 season finale of sophomore hit Happy Endings. What do they think about the wacky developments in the lives of Dave, Alex, Jane, Brad, Penny and Max? And was Brian Austin Green able to keep up with the stellar cast? We’ll see!

Thursday, April 12: DPD Primetime Debut With Melody Thomas Scott - Podcast
The popular podcast returns to its original hour-long format with Y&R’s iconic Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) chatting with the crew! Tune in and join us in the live chat room, where we’ll be taking questions to ask the legendary soap star!

Monday, April 16: A Beginner’s Guide to Revenge - Blog
Want to jump into ABC’s wickedly addictive primetime soap but afraid you’re not going to know what’s going on? Fear not! Lee’s guide to Revenge will introduce you to the characters, key stories and backstory so that you’re ready for its Wednesday, April 18 return.

Thursday, April 19: Bobbie Eakes Interview - Podcast
Jamie and Lauren chat with soap vet Bobbie Eakes on her roles as Macy Alexander on Bold and Beautiful and Krystal Carey on All My Children. Find out what it was like working with greats like Darlene Conley and David Canary, plus her time with her soap singer group, the Daytime Divas!

Thursday, April 26: The Ladies of Anacostia Interview - Podcast
Lauren and Jamie chat with the talented ladies of the popular web series, Anacostia! Find out what it’s like working on a hit show made for the web and what’s next for this fabulous cast of characters!