If the networks aren’t careful, they might soon find that they’ve run out of sexy nouns to use as TV show titles. Revenge? Taken. Scandal? Check! And tonight, we can add another series to the list: Deception, a sudsy drama that bears more than a passing resemblance to the first ABC soap I mentioned. (Almost certainly coming next season: CBS’s Power, the twisted tale of a green energy mogul’s lust for, well, you know.)
Like Revenge, Deception is set in the rarefied world of New York City’s upper crust. The first show centers on the Graysons, an incredibly wealthy family with more than a few skeletons in its walk-in closet; the second focuses on the Bowers clan, a group of billionaires with their own checkered pasts. Both families have high-powered patriarchs, acid-tongued matriarchs, bratty, pill-popping teenage daughters, and dreamboat 20-something sons who work for their fathers – and fall for each series’ respective protagonist.
Speaking of those protagonists: Though Deception’s Joanna Locasto is an undercover cop while Revenge’s Emily Thorne is a professional vengeance artist, they’re both outsiders who share a deep connection with their show’s central family. Both try to get close to that family while keeping their true motives secret. And both are skilled fighters, though chances are Joanna got her training at a police academy rather than a mysterious Japanese revenge camp.
Does this mean that Deception is just a cheap Revenge knockoff? Not at all – both shows trade on tropes that are fairly universal, and Joanna’s vulnerabilities make her a lot more sympathetic than cold, calculating Emily. In fact, this may be the main way these two shows differ.
And as far as I’m concerned, there can never be too many shows about dysfunctional dynastic families and pretty ladies snooping around mansions in their fanciest clothes.
So let’s discuss: Is Deception different enough from Revenge to hold your interest? Do you like it precisely because it’s like Revenge? And in the end, how much do those similarities even matter?
‘Deception’ premieres online: 5 quick takeaways
‘Revenge’ recap: No One Man Should Have All That Power
Nick Wechsler previews ‘Revenge’ return: Will Jack go down a ‘dark road’ to protect his family?