I have a problem with Revolution

We’re two episodes into NBC’s Revolution, and I have a problem: I like what it could be, but I’m not terribly fond of what it is. 

THE GOOD

* I like the general setting. Seeing the way society has adapted and changed 15 years after losing electricity is interesting to me. I like the idea that the US has fallen, militias have risen it its place, but a handful of fighters are trying to get it back.
* I like the flashbacks. Seeing how people dealt in the immediate aftermath of losing power keeps the show grounded and more relatable. It’s not all “Look at this wild future, man!” It’s “Look at this future, and how it came to be.” Plus, I’ve been a Tim Guinee fan since Stargate, so you know.

* I like some of the characters. Miles, the newly introduced Nora, Rachel, Maggie, Aaron and Danny. I even like militia-man Tom Neville and General Monroe (in a “you’re probably evil people, but kind of interesting” sort of way).

THE BAD

* I’m already tired of the premise. I don’t care about the mysterious conspiracy over why the power went out. We all know it’s going to be Not Science, and prolonging the inevitable reveal is killing my patience. Quickly.  This is not good, since it’s the premise of the show.

* Charlie. I cheer a little every time Miles snarks at her. She was okay in the pilot, but I spent the first half of “Chained Heat” thinking she was just painfully naive. I warmed up to her a little bit at the halfway point, when she wall “I was supposed to take care of my brother, weight of the world, blah blah blah” and then she kicked some ass. And then she got unbearably precious about it, and I was back to hating her. This is not good, since she is, arguably, the main character.

* The apparent love story of Charlie and Nate. Or whatever Nate’s real name is. And you can’t tell me they’re not going to go the star-crossed lovers route. She’s searching for her brother and aligning herself with people aiming to take down a militia. He serves the militia they’re trying to take down. When they’re not sniping at each other, they’re secretly gazing longingly. Mark my words, they’ll be the new Bella/Edward if this show makes it.

WHAT I WISH IT COULD HAVE BEEN

Forget the man-made, Not-Science power outage.  Or, don’t forget it about, but forget this idea that society can go right back to the way it was after some more Not Science is done. I think what may have been more interesting to me, would have been if everything quit working for whatever reason, and people just had to deal with it. I can get behind government falling after the world’s computers go down — and just the effects of that would be outrageous — and an end to electricity as the bulk of us know it. I’m down with Revolution’s political environment.

But I think it remains stupid on this show that solar power and wind power (and presumably people-power) just don’t work. Maybe it’s just because I live in Kansas, where our lawmakers are about the only ones who are trying to kill a tax credit to subsidize alternative energy, and my town is one where 256 people were just laid off from a factory that produces wind turbine nacelles, but I’m very aware that if coal and nuclear power went away, we don’t have the ability to support alternative energy plans on a large scale.

There should be pockets of people on this show with power-producing windmills made of scrap and old bicycles. Pedal-power should be a thing. If you want to get fantastic with it, those could be things from the 15-year gap flashbacks, and now we’ve settled into a steampunk-ish, Old West society.

That’s no more improbable than General Monroe dragging helicopters through the woods because super-special USB pendants can turn the power back on like nothing ever happened. I think it’s easier to buy things that may not make total sense the farther removed your setting is from life as we know it. But Revolution is trying too hard to keep a foot in the modern day, and it’s just tiring.

Having said that, I don’t like cutting a show loose after two episodes unless I absolutely hate it. And I don’t hate this. I’m going to give it a month and maybe re-evaluate.

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