Fall 2012: NBC’s Revolution

After what seems like a never-ending bout of Lost-imitators that fail to garner the same amount of obsessive followers (FlashForward, Terra Nova, The Event), NBC is trying the formula yet again with Revolution. I can imagine the gimmick sounded good in the pitching room, and with J.J. Abrams attached, it sounds even better. But for me, it really boils down to whether I can get invested in the mythology the show is trying to promote.

The pilot opens with an introduction to the family, Tim Guinee (who is that guy that has literally been in everything) and Elizabeth Mitchell, parents to Charlie and Danny. Tim Guinee (Benjamin Matheson) makes a frantic call to his brother Miles (Billy Burke), warning him of what is soon to happen — the power is out, technology is going kaput. We let anarchy and nature take over for fifteen years and return to the cast, sans Elizabeth Mitchell, who supposedly died “out there.” But now we have grown-up Charlie and Danny, a blonde woman named Maggie who seems to be in the unwelcome position of new mommy, and Aaron (Zak Orth, who you probably know if you watch a lot of David Wain-related things) as the local former techie millionaire.

The militia rides into town, led by Giancarlo Esposito, looking for Ben and Miles. In the aftermath, Ben is dead, Danny captured, and Charlie, Maggie, and Aaron are on the road to Chicago to find Miles. The militia leader (of the Republic of Monroe), Monroe himself, believes that the Matheson Brothers know why the power went out and maybe how to turn it back on. This is given further credence by a mysterious necklace Ben gives to Charlie before he dies.

This show, and pilot in particular, definitely have reason to be on the boastful side: executive producers include J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk, the pilot was directed by Jon Favreau, and the creator/writer is Eric Kripke. Unfortunately, it strikes me as a not fully formed world/not fully realized. When shows like Firefly exist, where a whole new world was created right out of the gate, it is sometimes frustrating to see a show struggle to remake the world in their image. A lot has gone wrong in fifteen years and I cannot decide if I think it happened too quickly, or just not in the right ways. Maybe the show will become a bit more steady with its new world order a few episodes in.

A few thoughts:

  • No body, murky explanation: how long before we stumble upon Elizabeth Mitchell somewhere, “out there”?
  • I was really impressed with Billy Burke in this; among many unknowns, his acting provides a stabilizing maturity to his scenes.
  • Surprisingly, I didn’t catch many telltale signs I was watching something from the Supernatural creator. Except the necklace bit; even Jensen Ackles’ seemingly innocuous necklace turned out to be more than it seemed a few seasons in.
  • The use of a downed plane almost seemed like it begged me to make a Lost connection, so I guess it served its purpose. Aaron claims to know where the medical kit is located on board. When asked why, I thought for sure the answer would be something like, “I watched this show before the blackout…”
  • On FlashFoward, the new world icebreaker became “so, what did you see in your flash forward?” Apparently on Revolution it’s “What did you do before the blackout?”
  • There is a nice reveal by the end of the pilot. Probably not so surprising if you recognize David Lyons before I did. It was the second to last scene before epiphany: “isn’t that the guy from The Cape?!” #sixseasonsandamovie




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About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

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