9/18/2012


EDIT: Fixed some typos.

The new NBC series Revolution premeired last night, and I went into the series with high hopes to see a unique post-apocalyptic TV show. The premise is that all the world's power suddenly fails. Power plants, engines, and even batteries stop working, and won't come back on, leaving humanity in a new Dark Age. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed with the derivative and outlandish story the show seems to be setting up.

The opening scene of the premeire was awesome in depicting the Blackout with cars grinding to a halt on the freeway, and planes tumbling from the sky. The series then picks up fifteen years later. I think that was the first mistake. I think a better series would have been set immediately after the Blackout, where we see a modern society grappling with the loss of cell phones, electric lights, and all the other modern conveniences. Instead, we just see a new generation that doesn't know what it's missing, and a bunch of old timers complaining about the good ol' days. Revolution could have been a commentary on how dependent we've become on electricity, but that conversation has become moot for the characters in the show.

What we're left with is a world that's adjusted and adapted to the new reality, which is just the world before the invention of electricity. Except for some images of abandoned cars and planes, and wide shots of deserted cities, the world of Revolution is just an old-fashioned Western. It's not a world I look forward to exploring every week.

The first episode seemed to set up the central storyline, which is that a scientist foresaw the coming disaster and has a technology that can restore electricity to the world. One of the rogue militias that's taken control is intent on recovering it by finding the scientist's brother, who is embittered after years of frustration and despair. I'm assuming a lot of the show will be about finding out why the Blackout occured and how to reverse it. But this is where the show lost me again. Frankly, after the debacle of Lost, I no longer trust the show's creator J.J. Abrams or any other show to give satisfying resolutions to long-running mysteries. While I am curious about the Blackout, I'm not convinced that investing my time in Revolution will pay off.

I also had a huge problem with the very premise of the show. It's established in a vague sense that the very laws of physics have been changed somehow. Not only won't existing batteries or engines work, but even new ones fail. I can't imagine any kind of rational explanation for that, and I also think the concept isn't consistent or well-thought out. For example, a lot of the characters use guns, which means explosives still work. All internal combustion engines are built around a series of small explosions that drive the pistons. If guns work, then why wouldn't engines work? And what about animal-driven power? Or solar power?

Of course, it's hard to judge an entire show on one episode, and I thought the idea had promise, so it's not a complete failure. I plan on tuning in next week. The show may redeem itself once I get a better sense of where it's going. I really think more scenes about the fall of the old world, more post-apocalyptic action, and a satisfactory explanation for the Blackout could save it. Or not. So far, my rating is:

3 Stars (Average)

Did you see Revolution, and if so, what did you think? If you haven't seen it, do you think you'll watch it?


[Image Source: Beyond Hollywood]
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5 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I agree - I have problems with the premise as well. I'll give it a couple more episodes, but I don't have high hopes.

Tony Laplume said...

I'm pretty sure that flashbacks to the early days of the blackout will be a regular feature of the series. I mean, you don't hire Elizabeth Mitchell just for a few minutes, and then feature her in next week's preview because she's going to reappear in the present that quickly.

Colin "Fitz" Biggs said...

That is disappointing. I was hoping the immediate aftermath of the energy crash would be covered, but it appears not to be.

Nigel Mitchell said...

I have to say, Tony, since her death was only mentioned and not shown, the cynical me assumed she's going to turn out to be still alive.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Like Tony said, maybe they'll do more flashbacks. But I think too many shows these days are dependent on flashbacks.

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