We watch... so you don't have to.

Fall '98: "Vengeance Unlimited"

With a couple shows already under its belt, Vengeance Unlimited is already well on its way to challenging Xena for the title of best guilty pleasure on TV. Famed movie-star/creepy guy Michael Madsen plays Mr. Chapel, a vigilante who is hired by people to screw over the people that screwed them over. It's The Equalizer without the British accent, The A-Team without the "I pity da fool!"

Is it well-written? Not especially. Well-acted? Not really. Is it groundbreaking TV? Probably not. But it is pure escapist entertainment, more amusing than 90 percent of prime-time today, and the key to that success is the show's refusal to take itself seriously.

Madsen is so deadly serious in reciting his lines, even the really stupid ones, you have to love it. Mr. Chapel also has a nicely dark sense of humor that is delivered perfectly by the gravelly-voiced baritone of Madsen. In the second episode, the man Chapel is tracking walks into the room with a gun to the head of an FBI agent. Chapel's response is to put down his bowl of popcorn and say, "Have you got anything less salty? I'm starting to feel a little bloated."

We have already received some negative mail about this show here at TeeVee Central Headquarters. People whining about the dialogue, and the fact that a lawyer was handcuffed to the wheel of a car that was about to be run over by a 10-ton big rig. They wanted "feelings" and "characters." Fine. If you want to spend an hour listening to beautiful people bitch and moan about how their lives aren't perfect, watch Felicity or Dawson's Creek.

I'd rather be entertained, and that's what Vengeance Unlimited does better than most shows on TV today.


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