Review: NBC’s ‘Revolution’ disappointing

  • Its strong post-apocalyptic concept of a world without technology resonates well, but the show lacks originality and has room for improvements

It has been more than two years since it ended, but I still love Lost. But I am not the only one that has felt unfilled in its absence: For two years, TV networks have been engaged in a mad dash to reclaim the “New Lost” spot.

This trend of mysterious science fiction dramas includes: FlashForward (fail), The Event (fail), V (fail), Person of Interest (fail), Terra Nova (fail), Once Upon a Time (OK), Awake (fail) and Alcatraz (decent).

The newest New Lost is Revolution, which premieres Monday, Sept. 17 on NBC. It takes place 15 years after a global catastrophe somehow made all the world’s electricity and electrical equipment not work. The world is in a stone age as we have to grow crops and, you know, actually do stuff.

When I first heard about this show last spring, I thought it might be able to topple the New Lost Syndrome since it has:

1. A dystopian future;
2. J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burke as executive producers (Lost);
3. Jon Favreau as the pilot’s director (Iron Man)

But after watching the pilot (available on NBC.com, Hulu, and On Demand services), I am disappointed. And no, it is not because I set lofty expectations for it. I was weary, after the uninspiring FlashForward and The Event, of a deep, long-lasting science fiction TV show.

I am disappointed because it feels corny. The main character, Charlie Matheson, is fairly likable and it is great that a young female is cast as the lead, but bad writing has limited her. For example, she says, “I have lost everyone that I care about.” And as her father dies in her arms, he tells her, “You have to do this,” referring to going to Chicago to find his brother and save the world. You know, just like in every other movie/book where the young hero fulfills their parent’s last order to go out on a journey.

The only likable character is Miles Matheson (Billy Burke, Twilight), who will help the other characters find out why the electricity went out and how to get it back. He is a skilled fighter, has a strong on-screen presence (contrasting with pretty much everyone else) and seems to be a good leader that the show needs.

I will give the show another chance because it is not that bad and might get better.

Charlie Matheson and her uncle Miles Matheson, the two main characters. (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

REVOLUTION FIRST THOUGHTS: (My notes while watching)

1. Oooh, Miles is driving while on a cell phone at the beginning. I looked and that is permitted in Illinois so it’s okay guys.

2. How implausible is it that Aaron, one of the survivors in their camp, is a former Google executive who used to own $80 million? (The answer is “Very”.)

3. Whoah! Nate is an undercover militia spy.

4. The Algebra teacher sold out Danny. That’s okay because he’s sort of annoying.

5. Is it me or do these militia people suck at fighting?

6. One of the militia people cornered Miles and is about to kill him! OMG!

7. Yes, Charlie just shot the militia guy with her crossbow! Too bad in actuality her crossbow is backwards and she would have shot herself in the face in real life.

8. Oh, nate helps out Charlie. He has feelings for her. If you think about it, how could a romance not entangle them?

9. “We’re all gonna end up with out heads on a stick, but you’re welcome.” -Miles

10. Flashback time. Miles and his friend get to a checkpoint right after the blackout and it turns out his friend is Sgt. Sebastian Monroe, now the evil General Monroe and leader of the Monroe Republic. Twist much?

11. Oh, the Algebra teacher has that key medal medallion thingy. She takes it to her computer and is able to turn on the computer. W-O-W. Now she is talking to someone on the computer network. Ten bucks she’s the one impersonating Walt while on the Swan computer that Michael talks to in Lost.

Revolution photos by NBC.

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8 thoughts on “Review: NBC’s ‘Revolution’ disappointing

  1. These big budget shows – I’m looking at you, Terra Nova and Falling Skies – seem to always try to be too broad and end up being bland. I’m never surprised to hear one of these new shows (such as the ones you mention above) suck…always a little disappointed though. When I heard of this one, I thought the concept sounds really cool….chances are they will spank it away with some unoriginal writing and dull characterisation. Ah well!

  2. Totally agree about Revolution; it’s not merely disappointing, its nonsensical. Did people also forget how to use any other form of power (wind/water/steam) when electricity for some reason stopped? Heck, people thrived for three hundred years in America, prior to electricity– building cities, keeping streets clean, and running the government, without everything falling into anarchy when their iPhones died due to some goofy world-wide EMP. If electricity no longer works, how are people even alive, when nerves/brains carry electrical charges? (Generating 25-30Watts, but hardly enough to work as the silly battery concept in the Matrix)

    Person of Interest, however, is hardly a fail — it’s Batman without the cowl, extending the Big Brother computer concept introduced in Dark Knight (not surprising because creator Jonathan Nolan is co-writer for his brother’s Batman series.) It’s taut and very watchable, and has some surprisingly accurate things to say about the surveillance state we live in. There’s really not much “mystery” to it — as an ongoing take on the police procedural, albeit outside the traditional bounds of the cops n’ courtroom genre. Moreover, it’s a ratings success and been picked up for a second season.

    Alcatraz, on the other hand, was generically boring “catch an escaped prisoner of the week.” It was DOA. You forgot to mention the attempt at re-BSG-booting Stargate, as “Stargate Universe” which flew off to a forgetful two seasons last year. And on the other side of the pond, the BBC attempted the Terra-Nova-esque “Outcasts” to pretty dismal results.

    1. Yeah and also I saw somewhere that batteries would work since they dont run on electrical power. Not sure if that’s true, but even if not, wind/solar power would still work, you’re right.

  3. The crossbows used on the show are “different” I believe they were designed by da Vinci. But the biggest hole in the plot is Diesel trucks! I want to know how a Marine Sgt. (who can’t remember his I.D. card ) becomes the defacto JUNTA of an area that includes CHICAGOLAND! Note to producers there are 68 million diesel cars and trucks in US/CAN and 700 million guns and 2 billion rounds of ammunition,NONE of which requires electricity ! How about GOOGLE millionaire with “AC/DC” shirt-man that was subtle

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