NBC’s Powerless Revolution
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
With mankind’s supposed end lurking only months away, it seems fitting that NBC premieres a show that also shares the “end of the world as we know it” vibe.
Within the first five minutes of the pilot for NBC’s Revolution, we watch as electricity across the country suddenly fails. Cars refuse to start, planes fall out of the sky and chaos ensues. Considering this intriguing concept, the pilot didn’t deliver quite as well as it could have.
The show revolves around the Matheson family – more specifically, siblings Charlie and Danny Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos, Being Human and Graham Rogers, Struck by Lightning) – 15 years after the blackout abruptly and mysteriously occurred.
Their father is sought out and killed by a local law enforcement group known as the Monroe Militia, and Danny is taken away in his place. As a result, Charlie realizes that her father may have known more about the blackout than she realized. Along with two other villagers, she sets off to Chicago to find her uncle, and ultimately, to find answers.
A show like this has a lot of potential to be jaw dropping, hair-raising television, especially because producer J.J. Abrams is responsible for sci-fi favorites like Cloverfield and Lost. But where good dialogue would have made the show even more realistic and eerie, it seemed unnatural at times.
At one point, Charlie and her father fight about whether or not she should be allowed to travel outside of their village, and her father blurts out: “Your mom is gone. She died, out there. You wanna end up just like her?” Too much of this kind of dialogue made the intricacies of the plot seem too obvious.
The pilot wasn’t a complete disappointment, however; the creators of Revolution clearly put a significant amount of thought into visual effects. One particular montage of “post-electric life” featured the powerful image of a dilapidated Wrigley Field, covered in vines. Shots like this emphasized the dramatic change in lifestyle that came with the loss of power and were ultimately the most memorable parts of the episode.
To be fair, television pilots are usually not indicative of the way a show will progress. In only one episode, enough of the story background must be explained while still including enough rising action to be interesting.
The idea behind Revolution is novel enough that viewers might enjoy it if they stick with the show for a couple of episodes, but for the less patient viewers, Revolution might be one show to flip past this fall.