If you’re all caught up on Revenge and can’t stand waiting for Sunday’s episode each week (or every few weeks), here are some past television series we think you’d enjoy in the meantime. Most of these can be found on Amazon, Hulu Plus and Netflix (and YouTube, if you look hard enough).
Falcon Crest: A long-running primetime soap with powerful women, hunky men and over-the-top storytelling with a healthy dose of camp, Falcon Crest takes place in the heart of California wine country and focuses on the constantly embattled Channing family and their constant power struggles. Starring Hollywood great Jane Wyman as the family matriarch and ’80s hunk Lorenzo Lamas as the playboy-bachelor heir, the amount of catfights, murders and schemes is enough to satisfy anyone starved for melodrama.
Dynasty: Victoria and Emily got nuthin’ on Alexis and Krystle—the original dueling divas of primetime. Another ’80s primetime soap with a clear focus on glamor and excess, Dynasty tried to offer a richly drawn portrait of class differences and big business in the first season, only to dive into (much more entertaining) high camp in Season 2. The show really took off with the debut of Joan Collins as scorned Alexis Carrington, whose rivalry with current Carrington wife Krystal (Linda Evans) quickly became legendary. Think Victoria and Emily’s verbal spats are vicious? Watch Alexis and Krystal hurling each other into the pool! Dynasty is also known for its ridiculous cliffhangers, including a season finale in which the entire cast is shot down at a wedding in a fictional Eastern European country, just as a massive insurrection occurs.
Dallas: Who shot Emily — more like Who Shot JR? This iconic series became a household name after the second season finale, when main character JR Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) was shot by an unknown assailant and left for dead. The whodunit quickly became TV’s biggest event and provided a template for keeping audiences glued to their screens. The story was even parodied in The Simpsons, with “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” Oh, by the way: It was Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby), JR’s unhinged ex-girlfriend.
Brothers & Sisters: A family drama about the multigenerational Walker family in California, Brothers & Sisters featured Emily VanCamp in a role very far removed from Ms. Thorne. VanCamp played Rebecca, the illegitimate “long lost daughter” of the family who came in with a major chip on her shoulder, but quickly showed herself to be a vulnerable, smart woman who became an integral part of the family. VanCamp’s character unfortunately went through some plot twists and rewrites that resulted in Rebecca’s exit, but Brothers & Sisters was witty, dramatic and smart.
Ringer: This short-lived series starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a destitute recovering drug addict who takes the place of her Hamptonite/Manhattanite twin sister, who has supposedly committed suicide. Ringer premiered the same year as Revenge and takes place more in Manhattan, but Gellar’s dual-performance is excellent, with one sister genuinely trying to start over and another whose secrets… well, you’ll have to find out!