NBC’s “Revolution” has its official premiere this coming Monday (9 p.m. – central time), but I watched a sneak peek of the pilot today on Hulu. It’s going to be worth giving a shot, I think.
This is the series where all the world’s electricity just up and stops working one day and now it’s 15 years later and very Wild West-like. The biggest sticking sticking point I — and most people I’ve heard talk about it — have is the science of it all. What made all the electricity stop working? Why don’t batteries work? What about wind power? How did planes go from flying around in the sky to immediately spiraling downward?
Those questions are answered five minutes in with the line “Physics went insane! The world went insane, overnight, and nobody knows why!” and for now, that’s enough for me. Because it’s clear by the handful of people possessing tiny USB drives disguised as pendants that turn the power back on so broken down computers can use dial-up to secretly talk to people all DOS-like, that somebody knows why. Granted, the reason will still probably be loads of what I like to call “Not Science,” but if the story and the characters are compelling enough, I can overlook a degree of Not Science.
And so far, the people and the story are reasonably compelling. And what they lack is made up for with some pretty fun swordplay, bows and arrows and network TV violence. And, speaking as a fan of “Star Wars,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” — I’m down for a decent spot of good swordplay and network TV-level violence.
The cast appears to primarily be made up of Charlie, a young woman in her early 20s who I suspect is supposed to be reminiscent of “The Hunger Games”‘ Katniss Everdeen; her uncle Miles, a soldier played by Billy Burke (AKA one of the only good things about the Twilight movies); her stepmom-figure Maggie, a doctor who’s adapted well to the whole “no power” thing; and family friend Aaron, a tech genius apparently very out of his element in this new world.
Together, they’re trying to find Danny, Charlie’s asthmatic teen brother who was kidnapped by The Militia after their father — who clearly knew something about why the power went out — was accidentally killed when The Militia was trying to bring him in (presumably because they think he could restore electricity for them, thus giving them all the political and economic power).
And The Militia, by the way, appears to be run by someone who was Miles’ friend before things went dark. How that falling-out happened and just who is involved in this underground old-school chatroom of resistance, is something I can only guess will be covered in a series of flashbacks, given that we’ve already had some and Tim Guinee, the dead dad, is slated to appear in more episodes.
One direction I think the show is doing really well with so far is set design.It’s really quite pretty and haunting the way cities have become overrun with vegetation during 15 years of powerless neglect and how people have repurposed the things we take for granted today that can be used to help them survive while discarding those that serve no use.
There are some anachronisms, of course, like Aaron’s AC/DC T-shirt that looks brand new and Charlie’s Return of the Jedi Lunchbox of Memories (postcards, an iPod, Wonder Woman Pez dispenser and Rubik’s Cube) that she keeps tucked away in a hidey-hole. Not to mention the elephant of adults who were already grown in the past and manage to not look terribly different at all in the 15-year future. But, you know, if I’m already buying the rest of the show’s premise, I guess I can buy that a good shave and a haircut (and maybe a few tons of makeup and soft focus) can take 15 years off of people.
In short, Revolution has some apparent faults — some of which are not terribly bad, just noticeable, and some of which could create bigger problems than the show can deal with. But it’s also interesting. It has charm and a hint of mystery and excitement that works for now. But sadly I already see it going one of two ways.
I predict it will either crash and burn like NBC’s ill-fated “The Cape” of 2011 (starring David Lyons, who also plays Miles’ flashback friend in this), or it will shine bright and hot for a few seasons like that other NBC genre show “Heroes” before collapsing on itself and wheezing to a slow death.
But I’ll give it a shot, anyway. For a few more episodes, at least.