“This is not a story of forgiveness…” Remember these lines? They’re iconic. They’re from Revenge‘s pilot. They are used the exact same way in Kingmakers‘ pilot. And you know why? Because Kingmakers is basically Revenge 2.0. It’s what Revenge‘s season 2 should have been if ABC didn’t decide to pursue Emily’s quest throughout the whole show instead of sticking to the plan and having a new revenge every season like the creator intended to in the first place (before being “let go”, as they say). Now, Revenge has largely outstayed its welcome, digging deeper and deeper its grave with stupid and/or overly complicated storylines and dull characters. ABC finally decided to pull the plug. In fact, they asked the writers to wrap up the damn thing. Which is the same even if the show isn’t officially canceled yet. So, tireless fans, don’t expect a 5th season, even shortened. The best hope you can have now is Kingmakers going to series. ABC could even change the title to… Revenge: Kingmakers. But I really don’t think they should do that. There should be no such thing as a Revenge franchise. Too little too late!
That being said, the ties with Revenge are more than obvious in the script: they are totally assumed! “Revenge” is the word that ends the first act (bold and underlined!) and then even ends the whole pilot! Sallie Patrick, the creator (and producer on Revenge), writes at the beginning: “We’re not in the Hamptons anymore“. She built up the show around the same structure -a quote to start, then the voiceover from the hero telling his tale, a flashforward, later on he even circles the head of his first target on a photograph, Emily style…), except the setting has changed and the characters are not the same. Well, they don’t have the same names and they’re not played by the same actors, but they’re pretty much the same actually. The Vandeermeers are like the Graysons: a rich power couple who toy with everybody including their own children. They have affairs, they kind of love/hate each other, and they’re linked to the death of the hero’s sister. We don’t know yet how. I’m pretty sure Colm Feore and Kristin Bauer will be a delight to watch doing that. Adrian Pasdar, as a Senator (This man will never play a “normal” guy!), will be great too. Our hero, Jacob/Eli is like Emily/Amanda: dark, determined, consumed with hate, but pretty and cheerful on the outside. He’s a smart young man gone bad. I could compare every Kingmaker‘s character to its Revenge counterpart but I guess you get the idea.
You probably understood that I’m not a big Revenge fan. In fact, I liked the pilot. I was full of hope. I appreciated the first season, even if I had a lot of doubts regarding the future of the show. And then I hated it until I stopped watching after the season 3 finale. If I totally forget the existence of Revenge, then I feel like Kingmakers‘ pilot is a good one. It may even be better than Revenge‘s. Gosh, as you can see I can’t forget Revenge. The thing is the flashforward is a little bit more interesting and doesn’t make the same mistake as Revenge did: there is no doubt about the identity of the person who is dying. And there’s no doubt he’s dead either. That’s when Kingmakers plays the How to Get Away With Murder‘s card: who killed him with an arrow, in front of everyone? And is it the same person who killed Julia (the sister)? Towards the end, there’s an exciting scene about the secret society Skull and key. Boo, the mysterious one. It’s the members all reunited in the tomb, wearing black cloaks in the dark, so we can’t see their faces. You get the chills instantly. But it’s easy and not that original, granted. Remember the movie The Skulls? Still, it works and you want to know more. I fell in the trap again, but this time I won’t stay longer than one season I promise, unless it is really good!
Kingmakers is ABC wanting to recreate the magic they once had with Revenge. It’s not a spin-off, it’s not officially a reboot. It’s the same show but different. You know you’ve seen it before but you don’t really care as long as they keep it entertaining and fresh somehow. Let’s call it a spiritual spin-off! As much as I hate what I’m about to say, I’ll say it: Kingmakers might become a good show so we should not count it out of the race yet. But ABC surely has better & fresher shows in the oven…