Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.
Whatever you do, don’t call Revenge a soap opera to creator Mike Kelley. Okay, we’ll call it a smart, addictive, complex, original, hilarious, heartfelt, and yes, occasionally sudsy drama about Emily Thorne’s (Emily VanCamp) return to the Hamptons to take down the family responsible for her father’s death. With a first season full of murder, romance, and fabulous parties aplenty, the highlight had to be the season finale, which wrapped up enough to keep us sated, but left enough questions open to keep us intrigued all summer long. Kelley, who is already writing next season’s scripts (no, he won’t answer anything about Victoria getting off that plane), shared his favorite moments of that episode and the rest of the season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you have a favorite episode of the season?
MIKE KELLEY: Each episode was meant to feel like a good chapter of a summer read. So it’s difficult to single out a moment, but I gotta go with the finale. Everything seemed to be firing on all cylinders. But I would be remiss if I didn’t single out a few other moments. Episode 13 had my favorite emotional moment for Madeline [Stowe] when she confesses to Daniel [Joshua Bowman] her affair with David Clarke [James Tupper]. She flashes back to David Clarke and reaches a very deep place there that I thought was important and surprising and emotional. It was that moment when I thought, ah, she’s great in all of those high octane drama moments but when she quiets down she can be so powerful. We’re dealing with a formidable actress in a really great part.
Though they’re not on screen all that much together in the finale, I loved watching Victoria and Emily trade passive aggression all season long.
Emily VanCamp is amazing and this show wouldn’t be what it is without her. She delivered such terrific performances. I love when she accepts Daniel’s proposal. She’s really conflicted and she doesn’t want him to get injured in her plan. In the same episode, Jack gets beaten up and everything starts to go haywire. She’s ready to give Daniel his ring back and he tells her that Victoria said David Clarke raped her and Emily recommits to bringing down the Graysons.
Nolan—and Nolan’s insane house—were certainly fan favorites all along.
Gabriel Mann is a terrific actor and I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone so genuinely authentic and kind and generous. He’s able to turn on a dime to become Nolan. I loved his stuff with Tyler. I’ve always treated Emily and Nolan as siblings. I think that’s something the audience really needs. We need to know someone loves Emily in order to love her ourselves.
Do you think Revenge gets enough respect?
The show fires in so many places, between action and romance. I’ve decided that everybody has been getting on me for not getting more upset that people call it a soap opera. I am now going to call it a suspense drama. I want it to be recognized for all the tremendous efforts. I don’t want it to be trifled. Even down to the music. [Composer] iZLER had a 50-piece orchestra that he used to score the season finale. It felt like a feature.
At the beginning of the season, a lot of people wondered how you would make the premise last beyond one season. Do you think you’ve put people’s minds to rest?
We were definitely burdened with that perception that it was going to be tough to sustain the concept. I think people see now that we’re able to continue to tell really compelling revenge stories for time to come. After the season finale people went, ah, there is more.
Watch Kelley’s favorite clips below!