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Does NBC’s Revolution pilot have any promise? – Quibbling Siblings

Every week brother and sister team Bob and Debbie take on a new topic. We watched the pilot for NBC's 'Revolution', premiering this fall, and boy, do we have a lot to say about the JJ Abrams / Eric Kripke collaboration.



I was really excited for NBC’s Revolution, mostly because Eric Kripke is the writer. As the creator and showrunner of Supernatural for its first five seasons, the guy literally did no wrong; he’s brilliant and I’d follow him anywhere. However, I think he made the mistake of getting into bed with JJ Abrams; The Revolution pilot has his stink all over it.

Before you jump down my throat, it’s not that everything Abrams has done is bad. On the contrary, Alias was probably one of my favorite shows. But he always lets me down. He can’t sustain the goodness. The last seasons of his shows always reek of carelessness. The opposite is true of Kripke. Every second of his envisioned five seasons of Supernatural were stellar, all leading up to the perfect end game. I’m hoping they balance each other out nicely. But back to the stink …

Revolution nicely laid the foundations of conspiracy, intrigue, mysterious science fiction / supernatural elements, possibly complex characters that you may or may not be able to trust. It’s got a strong cast. It’s also got the bumbling equivalent of Hurley, which is not Kripke’s style for comic relief, it’s Abrams’. There are also enough Lost-like elements (and all of the Lost clones, like Flash Forward and The Event) to leave me wary, afraid that the viewer will be dicked around and the foundation that was so nicely laid will get convoluted and reveal nothing. I guess I just have trust issues with JJ Abrams.

I’ve got a lot more to say, but how about I give you a chance?


It’s so hard to judge based on a pilot (not to mention one that could still get tweaked and polished before the fall). I think so much of it depends on what direction the show goes in. I enjoyed the first show. I thought it set up an interesting universe and some decent characters. It looks like there is going to be a nice amount of (well done) action, which can always be fun.

I thought a lot of the cast was engaging. I love Giancarlo Esposito who seems to be popping up everywhere these days, so I was excited to see him, channeling the villain again after his exemplary turn on Breaking Bad. No one stood out as wooden or boring in the cast, which is saying a lot these days.

As you say, so much depends on where the mystery goes. I’m not convinced that the series really needs it. I much prefer character stories to big mysteries, and I feel like a lot of shows that try to copy Lost fail to realize that the characters were the biggest part of that show. For example, take The Walking Dead. The show is mainly focused on the characters and survival in an alternate situation. Revolution has a similar opportunity, but it seems like the writers may fall too much into the trap of “why” instead of “what if.” I would much rather watch a show looking at what would happen if power was gone forever, not one focused on WHY power is gone forever.


I enjoyed it to a point. I agree about the cast: I’m intrigued by Billy Burke‘s character and I like seeing Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human) and David Lyons (The Cape) again. I think my trust issues with JJ Abrams got in the way and I’m banking on Kripke being the saving grace of Revolution, if in fact it needs saving at all. I wanted to be unabashedly engaged, but I wasn’t. I wanted to know where it was going, so I would know if I wanted to watch more episodes, but I don’t. I want to know that Abrams isn’t going to screw it up, but unfortunately that’s unlikely.

To address your point about the “why” versus the “what if,” I think I could be on board with either scenario if it’s done right. They don’t seem to be relying solely on the mystery; they seem to be laying the groundwork for an intricate web of character interactions. It will be interesting to see if this is something Kripke can write well. He’s not written for a large, complex cast before but I welcome watching him try.

I’ll definitely watch more episodes, at least two more, before I abandon all hope … and even then, I’m not sure that will be quite enough. Will they go for the slow, humorless burn of The Walking Dead? Will it end up having Kripke’s signature humor balanced with the darkness of reality? Will it take itself too seriously, like Lost? Too many questions! This is a show to keep an eye on, though, because the cast and Kripke’s involvment could mean we’re looking at one of the next great pieces of entertainment.


I think my expectations are just a little lower than yours. It seems like it has potential to be a really fun adventure series. Beyond that? We’ll just have to see.

I wonder about Abrams and how much he is actually involved in any of his shows. I know that by the end of Lost he was watching it on TV with the rest of the audience. Fringe has two show runners who do the heavy lifting. With all the projects that Abrams throws his name on, I’m not sure that he can really do that much on any of them. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Abrams factor.


I guess it just didn’t have anything about it that screamed “Kripke” at me, and that’s what I was looking for; you would be too if you’d just suck it up and do a Virgin Diary of Supernatural. …Here’s the trailer, dear readers, so you can see what all this hullabaloo is about. Let’s just say it’s a very comprehensive trailer; kind of watches like a 1-minute pilot:

What do you think — are you on board for the Revolution?


Photo Credit: Nino Munoz/NBC

9 Responses to “Does NBC’s Revolution pilot have any promise? – Quibbling Siblings”

May 31, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Deb: Other than Alias, what JJ Abrams property (That he’s actually been involved with until the end) that has faded off in its final seasons??

May 31, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I guess I should expand my gripes since I would consider Lost in that group, but you would say he was too hands-off to attribute it to him. Let’s just say that even if you don’t think a show faded off, there’s still a JJ Abrams formula that irks me — Alcatraz had it (great concept, went nowhere), Undercovers had it (great concept, went nowhere), same with Six Degrees. So the same pieces that were in place for all these shows that could have been potentially great are there for Revolution. That’s a better way of explaining my hesitancy with Abrams’ involvement.

May 31, 2012 at 2:37 PM

I like Six Degrees a great deal, but it never caught on.

I don’t. I’ve really liked most every project he’s worked on (Alcatraz and Undercovers, despite my (apparent) original enthusiasm for the show, are the major exceptions; I’ve not really tried Person of Interest).

But I’m especially a big fan of his recent film work. I loved Star Trek and MI3, and loved MI4 which he just produced. So yeah, I don’t necessarily get the Abrams hate :P

May 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Maybe Abrams should be an idea man when it comes to TV, and then hand off the running of the show to others (a la Lost) and stick to movie directing. Some people have different strengths, and that is okay.

I am intrigued for this show, but I would have the same trepidations as you guys. Alias was one of my favorites ever, and the way that crashed and burned made me very sad.

May 31, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Your grips about Abrams could be argued, but its unlikely that anyone in entertainment would not want to be in business with him. Bad Robot is a company of talented professionals and it shows with what we see on screen. Its the creative nature of the show runners and writers to get any TV show from pilot
to season 5 or 6. LOST, Fringe, Alias all
had to reinvent ways to surprise their audience. JJ may have not always have had successful shows, but, ya can’t condemn the guy fer try’n.

May 31, 2012 at 2:55 PM

. . . . .

“I love Giancarlo Esposito who seems to be popping up everywhere these days, so I was excited to see him, channeling the villain again after his exemplary turn on Breaking Bad.”

Hello! Mike Giardello from Homicide: Life On The Street … !!! I’ve forever loved Esposito, so seeing him in this vehicle – and as a baddie – is intriguing.

May 31, 2012 at 3:56 PM

I hope Eric Kripke is very involved like he was with Supernatural. He was always insisted it be done a certain way. Let’s just hope he is the same way with this. I think it looks like a great show. Hopefully it will last.

May 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

I guess it just didn’t have anything about it that screamed “Kripke” at me

Kripke’s only done one show, so I’m not sure it’s fair to say he has one set style and can never do anything differently.

Alias might be the only show Abrams ever did start to finish, and what ruined it wasn’t him getting careless, it was the network pressuring him to change the show to fit the business model they wanted, which took away a lot of what made Alias great.

IMO, Undercovers failed because of a lack of chemistry, Alcatraz failed because it was too slow and probably boring to too many people. I don’t know for sure about Undercovers, but Abrams had almost nothing to do with Alcatraz.

Revolution (based on the trailer) reminds me more of Falling Skies than LOST, and that’s a character-driven show that balances its mythology and its people very nicely. Hopefully this one does, too!

June 1, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Oh I will be tuning in. Right up my alley. :)

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