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NBC’s Revolution kills it. Are you ready for a revolution? I am.

NBC's 'Revolution' was a joy to watch. The action sequences were awesome, the production quality cinematic and the acting amazing. Every single character, especially Billy Burke, rocked the party and brought down the house.

Revolution answers what I’ve increasingly wondered in the past few years, what would happen if our electric-centered and internet-focused  society suddenly lost power? How would we exist? Considering our modern society has increasingly lost contact with farming and manual labor, how would today’s google-oriented children exist without toilet paper and grocery store meat? Remember the saying, only the strong survive? Well, in the Renaissance that applied to today’s epi-pen children regarding allergies to peanuts, gluten, pollen and bee stings. Would I really survive in a future tomorrow where today’s medical breakthroughs no longer exist? Revolution‘s answer? Wait and see.

After watching terrible fall pilot (Ben and Kate, Partners) after terrible fall pilot (Go On, The New Normal), Revolution absolutely surprised me. I expected something like FOX’s Terra Nova  — a big budget, high concept, sci fi show that relied on  special effects and a grand concept to draw viewers, but spent little time on providing meaty plots and non-stereotypical characters. Instead, Revolution reminded me of the Fall pilot shows I enjoyed the most. Remember the big budget cinema action style of Undercovers‘ pilot and the tightly plotted amazing-ness of Heroes season one? Remember how you loved The Cape’s pilot, the cinema scope of Hawaii 5-0and thought Lost was really cool? That’s Revolution.

Revolution reminds me of every single fantasy novel that I ever enjoyed. It’s lush. It’s expansive. It’s epic. It’s cinemagic. Twenty minutes felt like an hour. It’s Lord of the Rings meets Wizard of Oz. No. Revolution is not a Hunger Games knock-off, although its female lead, Tracy Spiridakos, is a brunette in her twenties like Jennifer Lawrence. Revolution surrounds Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), a twenty-something young woman restless with the borders of her village (a former McMansion community turned Renaissance hamlet). However, when her father is killed and her brother kidnapped, she receives her wish quicker than expected.

I have to especially call out Revolution’s cinematography, characters and actors in addition to its writing and directing.

Photo Credit: NBC

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24 Responses to “NBC’s Revolution kills it. Are you ready for a revolution? I am.”

September 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Watched the pilot on the NBC site ’cause its a show by JJ Abrams and its post apocalyptic. The actress playing Charlie is the weak link in an other wise strong cast. Billy Burke as badass? He nailed it, but the scene where he fights a room full of guys was poorly staged. And the bow guy Charlie meets that is militia and betrays her then saves her… yea, saw that coming down the block like an ice cream truck. Guess if it hadn’t been for what was behind “the-locked-door” I’d have no reason to watch the next Ep.

September 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Wow. I’m a huge Sci-Fi fan (not SyFy, which sounds like see-fee to me), and this unfortunately seems to be one of the worst shows in yahrens!

First the science is hokey. Not fun hokey like shows with time-traveling or warp drives, but fundamentally hokey. Let’s take the first five minutes… Planes don’t drop out of the sky. Period. They fly because they’re aerodynamic. If they lose power, they glide. Granted, they many not be able to steer or land safely, but they don’t drop like flies.

Let’s take the whole premise of electricity “not working”. So, electrons aren’t free to flow? Wow. A LOT of the universe would stop working then. For example, if that were true, wouldn’t our brains suddenly stop working too? After all, a living creature is full of electrical impulses. And – by the way – since a magnetic field can be used to generate electricity, does this mean magnets have ceased to work too?

Okay, I’ll suspend belief for a minute and go with it… But wait… A magic amulet? That restores electricity? To a modem that sends a signal down an entire phone line (presumably for miles, yes, a phone signal is a flow of electrons too)! Yet the effect seems only local when she hangs the amulet next to the old beater computer. I’m pounding my forehead here.

Skip the science for a bit, because obviously the writers, producers, director, slept through their high school science courses. The writing must be okay, right?

Wrong. Take two semi-sexy women. Send them on a mission. To find a guy they’ve never met. Who supposedly doesn’t want to be found. So, they walk through the set of “Life Without People: Population Zero” all the way to Chicago. They stroll down a street, go into the first bar they see, and the first guy they talk to… is him. Oh yeah.

How convenient that this guy is also Rambo with swords. He takes out a room full of [presumably trained and battled hardened] militia pretty much single-handedly. My forehead is beyond bruised now. To call it cliched would be an insult to the word.

Why is it when people put together these shows they forget the first word in the term: “Science Fiction”. Sci-Fi is supposed to be an imaginative vision of “what ifs”, not an ignore-fundamental-physics-because-we-can-do-a-cool-effect-here.

The only “what if” I’m asking after this show is what if a real science fiction writer had written and produced this?

September 12, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Masterful job of pointing out the hokem, but guess ya missed the “dying-father-speech” where he tells Charlie where to find her uncle. Uhmm, maybe it’ll get better or is JJ just slapping his name on anything he thinks the networks will buy?

September 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Saw it. Heard it.

My point was that they found someone on the first try – someone the militia had been hunting for ages [implied]. First person they talked to. No muss, no fuss.

Of course he refuses, until “tragic circumstances” force him to leave his cozy little bar and join up, presumably for more drunken Rambo sword fights. Cliched? Nah…

Oh and did I happen to point out that his little melee with the militia was all done after he had been drinking heavily? Imagine what he fights like when he’s sober? Perhaps he won’t even get nicked next time.

September 13, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Honestly, I fight better when I’m drunk to. Or atleast I think I do. ;)

September 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Larry: I say this as someone who has little scientific knowledge more advanced than what I got in high school, the creators of the show state that they have vetted the science, specifically of the “blackout” and have been told by physicists that it is viable:

That doesn’t necessarily cover the planes falling from the sky, but in my limited worldly experience, I’ve always been told and read that the larger, more sophisticated the plane is, with electronically managed control surfaces and the like, the less likely it would be able to maintain lift in the event of a complete power failure.

September 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

. . . ..

Ivey speaks truth, Larry. Here is an example

September 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM

When I was going for my pilots license, we went over all kinds of emergency scenarios including one in which I glided in after a power loss. That sort of thing sticks in your mind.

Airplanes glide even if they can’t turn or do other things. I certainly wasn’t talking about maintaining lift, but they wouldn’t just plop down like raindrops as depicted in that show.

A quote from the article you posted: “If a plane does lose power in all engines, it can probably glide to a regular airport and land safely there.”

As far as vetting the science goes, perhaps they need to vet the scientists because if electricity won’t flow in a wire, it certainly wouldn’t flow in a neuron.

I say return the set back to “Life After People”, it was a better show. ;)

September 15, 2012 at 6:55 AM

The THR headline at that link even says “physicists,” but the quote from Kripke only says that a single, unnamed physicist said the premise was “absolutely possible.” When they actually pull out the reveal in season 5 or 6, will it still be credible, or will the show be “all about the characters?”

Star Trek had science advisors on staff. Didn’t stop a lot of stuff from being pure magic. And the Emberverse is really the only explanation I could stomach here.

September 12, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Just hoping Eric Kripke can make something of this show … I did not love the pilot or the direction of the series as much as you did, An. But I do have faith in Kripke (Supernatural’s creator and showrunner seasons 1-5).

September 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Kripke is the main reason I am giving this show a look. Like you, I love what he did with Supernatural so here is the benefit of the doubt.

September 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I like watching TV shows on my TV whenever possible, so I haven’t seen the pilot yet, but based on your review, I’m looking forward to it a bit more than before (I’ve also been expecting some kind of “Terra Nova” or “Flash Forward” mish-mash, with a ton of LOTR-type swordfights, which bore me, thrown in for good measure). Although I have to admit, as a regular viewer of both “Falling Skies” and “The Walking Dead”, I’ve reached my limit on post-apocalyptic shows.

September 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM

I’ll be honest, Scott, there is at least one LOTR action-esque scene. And some of the shots do look straight out of New Zealand. I had pretty low expectations for the show, but I found it smart, big budget and entertaining. So, I hope you like it!

I won’t lie, the pilot has a lot to live up to. Remember what happened to Undercovers and The Cape post-episode 1? How about Heroes post season 1? Jon Favreau did an excellent job directing. I never warmed to him as a director despite Iron Man. However, the pilot proved solid from start to finish. And, I can’t wait until the season premiere.

September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

. . . . .

If you can throw science out the window along with common sense and toss in gratuitous coincidence, this show’s for you.

September 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

And magic amulets.

September 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

. . . . .

Whoops. Forgot the magic amulets …

September 13, 2012 at 12:11 AM

* Sigh * This coming from the man who believes a female bodybuilder sporting double Ds can easily go strapless …

On a side note: They make it pretty clear what the necklace is. But, I don’t want to drop spoilers for people who didn’t watch. However, for those who don’t care … *cough* Mike *cough* . ..

September 13, 2012 at 1:42 AM

. . . . .

Larry brought it up first way up above, An. I didn’t spoil anything.

September 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

…denies everything.

And I wouldn’t want to live in a world where female bodybuilders sporting double D’s COULDN’T go strapless.

September 13, 2012 at 12:32 PM

[Spoiler ahead]

Well yeah: They say it its a USB Drive. But how the hell should a USB drive work without any running computers? Let alone get ‘em running again?
The “magical amulet” desciption isnt that far of if a USB drive has that sort of power – no matter what data it contains ;)

September 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM

After watching the pilot, I’ve decided two things: 1) I need to order Lou Malnati’s this week. 2) I’m willing to ignore science for an hour, if it means more evil Giancarlo! Love him in this role.

September 13, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Well, the ‘improbable’ science I can accept. And I actually liked the show.

But I feel this can go down really fast: What I found really weak was the portrayal of the world itself. Everything so clean, nice clean clothing, nice clean faces, nicely made hair…

And then why is no one using at least a little steam power? And where are all those candles coming from? Thre needs to be a whole economy with all those old crafts. Tanners and tinkers and smithes and so on. Again it’s all to clean, like playing gardening in the spring. A little pottery here, a fun looking herb there.

Also where is the life: Religion, story-tellers, news-mongers, book-collectors, artifact-collectors, traders with oxen-carts, travelling healers. There must be millions of people in the greater chicago area, where are they? Or there would have to be mass graves everywhere and this show would be a lot darker.

How does uncle afford his big funky place? Does he have money? Power? Men? Obviously not, and still… he own the last bottle of single malt. Its in a cupboard. Not afraid of thieves or anything.

Well, there’s also potential so I will give it a few more episodes. The deciding factor for me will be wether the characters behave plausible. The ultra secretive magic computer women taking in an escaped prisoner thus risking exposure of her superpower lair was very implausible, for a start.

September 13, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I just watched and thought it had potential. I did not mind the main girl in the show and I really liked Billy Burke and the blonde curly doctor. I thought Google guy was a little too wussy – he needs to eventually do something with that amulet. I thought the brother was too bland.

Any pilot has a lot of heavy lifting – introduce the main story and the characters without a lot of exposition. And it still has to hold together as a stand alone episode. I think this accomplished all of this. I will be back because I know that Kripke can bring it with his little toe and the concept was interesting.

September 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

You have GOT to be kidding.

You’re trying to tell us that you feel like these are STRONG female characters?

Charlie is a weepy eyed helpless waif, and the older doctor woman is obviously going to be killed soon (her actress isn’t on the show long, apparently) because she’s not enough of a “woman”.

I can’t believe a woman would write what you wrote about these characters. What you talked about 90 pound females etc doesn’t apply because no woman who works outdoors every day and does manual labor is going to be 90 damn pounds!

And of course, the minute the women leave their safe space, the literally first thing to happen to them is men try to rape them. (and nearly succeed if not for a man, of course, saving them)

This show sucks. And I am TIRED of every piece of fiction portraying women as instant rape-fodder once society collapses. Doesn’t anyone else notice this?

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