Director: Jon Favreau
Writers: Eric Kripke
Stars: Billy Burke, Tracy SpiridakosElizabeth Mitchell and Giancarlo Esposito
Network: NBC
Airs: Mondays 10pm (Premiere 09/17/12)
Run Time: 60 Minutes

NBC, what has gone wrong with you over the last few years? You were a once powerful force a top the ratings charts and now you’re struggling to not slip pass the CW. When NBC announced they had a new genre show, I cringed. Remember last years attempts The Cape and The Event? Don’t worry, most people don’t and that’s the point.

I recently got a chance to check out a screening of Revolution, the new show from the minds of J.J. Abrams (Lost), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural). The network NBC who is airing the show describes it…

Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.  — NBC Publicity

Sitting down to watch this gave me some concern. Should I give any of my time to a show that will most likely get cancelled by the 4th episode? Of course, I love TV and genre TV to boot. I also like all the creative involved with the production except for the home network of NBC. They have been putting out some drivel lately and that bothers me since they used to be such a powerhouse of TV entertainment. So obviously, there is some baggage here for me. Here’s a trailer for the show before I start my review.

Okay so now you have seen that. This show is going to fail.

I actually liked the episode, I found it entertaining for the most part. It had good pacing and setup but it lacked the visual impact of Lost’s pilot, or hell, even the pilot for Supernatural. In the pilot, we are introduced to our world today. People going around doing what they do and living their lives. Then a frantic man bursts through his front door telling his wife that “IT” is about to start. They need to get more water and be ready. Then boom the lights go out. Planes crash, cars stop, everything electrical stops working around the globe all at once. Why? Well that’s the mystery and will most likely never be answered. Like I said, I don’t think this show will last. Next we jump 15 years into the future and world has moved on. Cities crumbled in the chaos and tyrants tried to take power over the weak. Several militias spring up but, of course, they are no better then the thieves and killers out there.  They collect “taxes” and institute harsh punishments for offenders they encounter. The world itself has become agrarian again with no way to store and keep food beyond the simple ways of the past. We meet the same man we met at the beginning with knowledge of the event living with his family in a small cul de sac that they have turned into a literally gated community. They farm their land and try to educate their children. Things go awry when the Monroe Militia appears looking for him and want to take him back to their General. General Monroe believes that Ben and his brother Miles have knowledge that could help them get the power back on. Which means more power for him. During this, Ben gets shot and his son Danny is taken. Charlie, Ben’s daughter, goes to find her uncle Miles in Chicago because he is the only one who can help get Danny back. After some encounters our little rag tag band of travelers are off to save Danny and maybe the world.

One thing that I want to point out right off the top is that while the production value is pretty good and the cast makes due with what they got, this feels more like a SyFy series. There were some pretty neat CG shots of planes crashing and Wrigley Field covered in plant growth but for the most part, this could have been done on a small TV budget. With Favreau and Abrams I was expecting more bang for my buck with the visuals here. It’s unfortunate that did not happen.

I also had an issue with Billy Burke. He just doesn’t fit for me. It feels like they want to use him because of his role in Twilight. Awesome, now he gets to ruin another young woman’s life by being completely aloof and ineffectual towards her. I don’t get tough as nails bad ass from him at all. The rest of the cast does fine work with what they have. Tracy Spiridakos, who plays Charlie, does well for most of the episode with only a few weak spots. However, her brother Danny, played by Graham Rogers, I wanted to punch in the head. He was that irritating the whole time. I have no sympathy for him and what he feels guilt for because it is all his fault. Giancarlo Esposito again shines like the veteran actor that he is. He takes a character that could be handled in a ham-fisted way but makes it work and work very well. I liked his character the most so far in the story. For the others, it is still too early to tell how I feel. They were not given their time to shine yet but let’s see how that plays out as we go.

The other big issue I have with this show is pretty basic. There is no electricity any more. Okay. But are you telling me that no one can generate electric fields 15 yrs after the event took place? Nobody is still alive with that knowledge? It’s only been 15 years. Not 100. People are pretty smart. We would have figured something out. Along with this, what about all the other forms of power? There are several other ways to generate power that does not require electricity. Where are those? It’s these questions that I feel should have been answered right away so as to stop these questions from continuing to pop up. Is there a reason for this lack of mechanical devices? Are the Militia’s turning into anti tech fanatics? Something even thinly done would have been better than nothing.

Regardless, I will try it again and see how it goes. But it’s on thin ice for me right now. The premise feels like it is trying to be bigger then it needs to be. Hopefully I am proven wrong in the coming weeks and it shows a vast improvement in quality.


And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!