"Revenge" was so sweet when season two began last fall. More than 12 and a half million people watched the opening episode.
But by the time the finale aired in May, fully one third of that audience was no longer watching.
The stakes are higher after millions of viewers were lost when the show lost focus.
"I think we definitely got outside of our world a bit, but I also think it can't be the same thing over and over again," said Emily VanCamp, who plays "Emily Thorne".
Look for a better balance when season three gets back to basics.
"It's really about sort of the premise the show began on and kind of diving back into that with a renewed focus," said Gabriel Mann, "Nolan Ross".
And that means the original star is once again center stage as the season begins with a flash forward.
"We're basically witnessing Emily Thorne falling back having been shot so we don't know how it happened, how it went down, but something went awfully wrong at the wedding," said VanCamp.
No amount of weird plot twists can put a damper on one of prime-time's most compelling characters: a woman of two minds who is as complex as that implies.
Emily remains determined to revenge her father's death and punish the family she believes to be responsible. But she's also capable of loyalty and love for her friends.
"She's constantly trying to balance those two people within herself," said VanCamp. "So, in one scene you'll see her and she's just finding so much delight in this awful stuff she's doing to the Graysons and it's so messed up, and in the next scene you see this inner turmoil and guilt and fear and sadness and anger."
And her doubts make her such a compelling character. Madeleine Stowe has made "Victoria Grayson" one of TV's great schemers, but "Emily"'s desire for vengeance drives the show, which why it is called "Revenge".
Watch the season premiere of Revenge Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. on Channel 7 and WATCH ABC.
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ONCE UPON A TIME: http://abc.go.com/shows/once-upon-a-time