Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review - Revolution

Okay, I have to confess I went into the pilot of this new NBC fantasy drama a bit biased.  How could I not when it comes from a trio of creators I have incredible respect for:  J.J. Abrams (executive producer), who has been behind some of my favorite series including Fringe, Alias, Lost and Felicity; Jon Favreau (executive producer and pilot director), who I like both as an actor and director; and last but certainly not least, Eric Kripke (series creator), who brought forth my very favorite series, Supernatural.

So to say I had high hopes for Revolution is an understatement.  But I had to also remind myself to look at the pilot as its own entity and determine if it's going to be a show I'll want to stick with.  It is, at least for a while.

The lowdown (SOME MILD SPOILERS AHEAD):   On an ordinary evening, Ben Matheson (Tim Guinee, The Good Wife, Lie to Me) rushes home in a panic and tells wife Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost, V) to get things ready to go. "It's happening, isn't it?" she asks, terror in her eyes.  The "it" she's referring to is the mysterious, sudden and complete loss of every single piece of technology - computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights, all electricity on the whole - across the globe.
Jump to 15 years later and a world that has emerged without modern conveniences which we have become so incredibly dependent on (looks very much like I Am Legend).
What follows is a journey of hope and rebirth seen through the eyes of strong-willed daughter Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos, Being Human) and quiet son Danny (Graham Rogers, Memphis Beat).

After Ben is killed (mom passed years before) and Danny is kidnapped by militia leaders - led by Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad) under the orders of General Monroe (David Lyons, The Cape) - Charlie heads off with family friend Aaron (Zak Orth, 30 Rock, Fringe) and town doctor Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips, Animal Kingdom) to get help from estranged uncle Miles (Billy Burke, Rizzoli & Isles, 24), a former U.S. Marine living a reclusive life.

Turns out Ben was directly involved in what caused the global blackout and Miles may have knowledge about it and may be the key to getting the power turned back on.  The "actual" key to doing so seems to be a fancy flash drive Ben entrusted to Aaron before his death.
And it's not the only one.  Grace (Maria Howell, The Vampire Diaries, Army Wives), a woman who helps Danny during a brief escape attempt, also has one.  So one mystery for the series is established - just how many of these drives are out there, how do they work and are they truly the answer to bringing back the power?

Thus Revolution follows Charlie and her rogue band of survivors as they set out to rescue Danny, overthrow the militia and ultimately re-establish the United States of America while exploring the enduring mystery of why the power failed, and if - or how - it will ever return.

Obviously this is a very ambitious premise to undertake, and such a one has been tried before with great success (Lost), with some early success (Heroes) and with not-so-much success (Flash Forward, The Event).  I suppose the series life of Revolution will depend on if they can keep the preliminary momentum established going without getting too bogged down in subplots and heavy-handed mythology, as has happened with some of those other series.
As for the cast, Spiridakos is a new face for me.  I can see the producers establishing her as liken to Katniss from The Hunger Games (right down to her bow and arrow) - a fighter, independent, a survivor.  She didn't hit it out of the park for me in the pilot, but since the story centers around her, I'll give her a chance to grow on me.  Burke is good as Miles - surly, bittter, and one who definitely kicks ass (there's an awesome fight sequence in the third act not to be missed).  Orth should provide some nice comedy as quirky billionaire (thanks to Google) Aaron who would gladly trade his nest egg for a decent roll of TP.  And I like Mitchell and will look forward to seeing her in flashbacks that will surely help fill in the story of what happened to this family directly following the blackout and the years following.

The story itself does make you think.  Just look around your life, the things in your home, things we all take for granted.  How many times have you forgotten your cell phone only to wonder what the hell you were going to do?  Imagine no medical tech, no air conditioning, no microwave and, for people like me, no TV!!  It's a scary thought.  The question is, how realistic is this premise?  Remember the panic before Y2K?  Certainly something to think about, discuss, debate and now, to watch, at least through the eyes of the powers behind Revolution.

I would definitely give the show a view.  Not sure it's for everyone, but if you are a fan of the overcoming-global-catastrophe genre, then this is one for you.  As for me, I'm gonna have to find a way to watch it online or after the fact, as it goes head-to-head with two of my favorite returning series, Hawaii Five-0 and Castle.

Bottom Line:  Power up for the Revolution.

Revolution premieres on Monday, Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

1 comment:

  1. The story is intriguing. I’ve seen mixed reviews of this show, some saying that it doesn’t have staying power because a lot of the story is vague. I didn’t have the chance to watch the pilot but I plan to do so before the series premiere. I’ve got my Hopper set to record the series this season and just in case I miss a few episodes I’ll have them available later. It also has three tuners which means that I can record a bunch of stuff at the same time. The show has a very strong cast and I was surprised to see Giancarlo Esposito as the law keeper. A few of my Dish co-workers were talking about the show and that’s how I got interested. This season of fall TV shows is full of potential and this show is at the top of the list. I sure hope it sticks around and I’m expecting it to be better than some of those terrible disaster movies on SyFy.