Some things in life are conceptually amazing but fail to impress upon execution. Unfortunately, NBC’s new post-apocalyptic sci-fi series “Revolution” is close to being one of them. However, while the show hovers on the brink of being a washout, I still tune in every week, perched on the edge of my couch, watching.
“Revolution” takes place 15 years after a sudden, mysterious blackout left cars abandoned on unused roadways, cities in ruin and suburban culs-de-sac transformed into what look like colonial settlements. Technology as we know it is a thing of the past.
The series, the brainchild of Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), is marked by many as a wannabe “Lost,” not least because of the involvement of executive producer J.J. Abrams and other “Lost” alumni, such as Bryan Burk. But where “Lost” was compelling and often confusing, “Revolution” is interesting but illogical (which is not OK, because we’re not on an island). Guns are a rarity and therefore monopolized by the country’s militia, though last I checked the hundreds of millions of firearms in existence don’t exactly need to be plugged in to work. Also, almost everyone in this post-blackout society looks surprisingly kempt, with shiny, perfect hair. Although the electricity went out, cars and batteries stopped working after the blackout too … something else must be going on here.
After one of the main characters died only four episodes into the season, one hopeful commenter on the “Revolution” Facebook page wrote: “I can’t help but wonder if she’s really dead … I mean, did they bury her? Did they just leave her there? I mean, she could have passed out from blood loss, and have a very faint pulse … if they didn’t bury her, she could show up in a later episode.” But really, what show do they think this is?
Tracy Spiridakos plays the pouty protagonist Charlie, a bow and arrow-wielding, angsty, annoying version of Katniss Everdeen. Though her character is lacking, other regulars like Miles (Billy Burke)and Nate (J.D. Pardo), who both hail from the “Twilight” franchise (it’s a step up, guys!), shine.
“Revolution” is one of a handful of shows on the primetime line-up that takes place in my favorite city (“Chicago Fire,” what is that?). Even though it’s a bit disturbing to see Chicago so derelict, shots of familiar scenery like the Chicago Theatre and a post-blackout-defunct El at State/Lake still make me proud to see the city I love on the small screen.
“Revolution” also has quite a few good story lines and some pretty decent dialogue. In the show’s pilot, one character revealed he “used to work at this place called Google.” In response, he got “That was a computer thing, right?” to which he conceded, “Now, it’s nothing.” At a time where Google is so ubiquitous it’s both a noun and a verb, it’s intriguing to imagine a world in which it’s just a silly-sounding word.
While I’m watching and waiting for “Revolution” to get better, I also want answers to the all-important question: Who turned off the power, and why?
With all my complaints, it may be hard to understand why exactly I’m obsessed with “Revolution,” but I only criticize because I care. Perhaps I’m obsessed with the premise of the show more than anything else. Despite its performance thus far, “Revolution” has potential that is far from lost on me. And if you don’t have HBO, honestly, what else are you supposed to watch?