Revolution – Pilot Review


Mondays @ 10:00 EST, NBC

Premieres September 17th



Can you remember a time when your cell phone was not attached to your hand? When Google was not available to answer your every question? Or more simply, when you did not have the option of popping an aspirin when you felt a migraine coming on? Modern technology has greatly increased the comfort of our lives, so much so that we do not always recognize its presence in the delivery of our food or the availability of hot water. We take these benefits for granted, so much so that when things happen slowly we complain. So what would we do if it all went away?


Such is the premise of producer JJ Abrams’ newest show: Revolution. One day the power goes out. And it never comes back. What caused the blackout? And what does humanity do now?


Fifteen years after the catastrophic event, Ben, the one man who predicted it, has died at the hands of the local militia. His son, Danny, is taken captive, and his daughter, Charlie, has been tasked with finding her uncle Miles to get help in getting Danny back. Something tells me this will not be easy. The real question is: will it be enjoyable to watch? Let’s break it down.


Familiar Faces: Elizabeth Mitchell (LOST), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Billy Burke (Twilight saga)


This Reminds Me: Revolution contains elements of two of Abrams’ former shows: LOST and FlashForward. Like LOST, the main characters must contend with the issue of survival once thrust into a situation very unlike their former lives. Like FlashForward, a single event changes the shape of the world and the fundamental question of what caused this event acts as a driving force for the main action of the show. And lets not forget the time bending narrative that appears in all of Abrams’ shows. The pilot only features flashbacks, but there is always the possibility for more nonlinear storytelling.


Luckily, though Revolution draws from its predecessors, it has also learned from their mistakes. LOST, FlashForward, and Fringe have all drawn heavily on abstract, theoretical scientific or mystical ideas which quickly became so complex that the effort to suspend disbelief became just that: an effort. No mysticism here, and though I expect some pseudoscience to be trotted out at some point, there are only glimpses in the pilot. In fact, the principles behind Revolution are entirely conceivable, which points to the possibility that this show will not become bogged down in its own importance and could avoid the brutal first season cut that meets many such high-concept shows.


Other Aspects to Consider: Have you heard of a little something called The Hunger Games? The survivalist trend is certainly popular now, and Revolution gets to capitalize on it. You get to see what happens when people have to fend for themselves in finding food and shelter. And you get to watch people shoot arrows. I like watching people shoot arrows.


On top of the mystery of the blackout’s origins and the day-to-day requirements associated with survival, Revolution adds the danger of the newly organized governments that are militia run. Little townships have formed, but they must pay tribute to the local militia, and if they don’t, their safety is threatened. So you get action-packed fighting along with the scientific intrigue. You can even get some romance, and if the pilot is any indication, it will be tumultuous and full of betrayals. The best kind!


Oh, and if you are a fan of his work in Breaking Bad, you will love seeing Giancarlo Esposito play the bad guy. He does it so well that I cannot hate him, even if I should. His character has a bit more range of expression than that of the cool Gustavo Fring, so it is a slightly different look for him. I love it, and only hope his character survives a long, long time.


Remaining Questions: How long can the rescue mission for Danny last? The long-term story is in place (figuring out what happened and whether or not it can be reversed), but what will the characters do once the immediate task of rescuing Danny has been accomplished?



The Verdict: DVR. Even though I cannot exactly predict the form this show will take, the high energy, mysterious pilot already has me wanting more.


What Do You Think?


Will you be tuning in? And if you have, what do you think of the show? Sound off below!

  1. This was *THE* show I was most excited about seeing after watching trailers. I wish I could say that I am more into it than I am. It has so much potential. I am holding out hope that it sucks me in at some point soon. I am giving it a bit till it makes the chopping list. Ido see a lot of similarities to Lost and Flashback, both of which I liked (a lot more than Revolution so far) I agree that building and maintaining the mystery in those shows was difficult and taxing, though I am not convinced that they won’t have the same problem with trying to provide reasons why there is no ppower available. I mean at some point along the way you would think they would have come up wiht a water wheel or wind power or solar energy. You can’t explain all those sources away easily in a believable fashion. Or maybe you can and I will be surprised. Anyway this is still on my ist to watch… for now.

  2. I watched the first one, and I have to be honest that was enough for me. While Lost worked with the don’t tell the viewers too much information but leave them guessing formula, this one doesn’t work too well. I found myself wondering, hello why aren’t you using Solar Power, hello why aren’t you using wind mills. Also, its been fifteen years and no one has figured out how to fix the problem. I know that this is suppose to be fantasy and I should just sit back relax and enjoy the ride, but I found that hard to do.

    The cast was good I will give the show that much, but the plot was something that left me not that interested. I have no fear of this actually happen as some claim it could because well hopefully people in the real world aren’t as stupid as they are in this fantasy world. We’ve had power grid failures in the past, but figured out what the problem was. Plus there are things to fall back on like Solar power and wind mills. Yes, thinking of a world without electricity or technology makes for good fantasy but I think that’s pretty much what this really is.

    • The second episode makes it clear that someone caused the blackout instead of something, which could explain at least in part why nothing has been done about it thus far (and possibly why other options would not work), but I understand how that premise would be hard to swallow. Right now the show seems to be dividing time between the energy mystery, getting her brother back, and revealing what happened following the blackout. It might take awhile to get a clear answer on the shy this happened part.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the premiere. Everybody’s focusing on Abrams’ involvement and totally overlooking that it was created and written by Eric Kripke of Supernatural. SOOO many aspects in the relationships in the show mirror what has worked SO well for SPN. As a huge fan of both Lost and SPN, I find that it feels far more “Kripke” than “Abrams” and I can’t understand why he seems to be so completely overlooked when the whole thing is his premise and writing.

  4. People are so dependent on technology that the idea of all the power going out has potential. I’ll at least check out the first couple of episodes. Can you imagine losing contact with all your friends and family that live far away because you don’t have the technology to call or email them? Teenagers would go crazy without cell phones and video games and probably turn into criminals to fight the boredom.

    They could do a lot with the idea of the power going out, but they probably won’t.

    • They sadly don’t. At least in the first episode, they just established that power doesn’t work, and that’s it. Everything that happens in the series happens in a world that’s already aclimatized to the new rules. I agree that it would be infinitely better just showing them dealing with the sudden loss of electricity, instead of this.. To be honest, it kind of stinks of SG-1 production of “let’s shoot on some grass field and pretend it’s an alien planet.”

      • I have hopes that they will look at what happened immediately after the power went out through flashbacks. They seemed to be setting up that kind of narrative structure throughout the pilot, and It makes sense to continue it that way. I’m actually glad they jumped forward in years, because it gives you the opportunity to see people who knew technology interacting with the kids who never did. The whole “that was a computer thing, right” response to Google, for example. But it is still way too early to tell how the show will develop, but I still have high hopes.

  5. I watched it, and.. yeah, I’m not going to watch this one. The premise is dumb, the characters are completely flat, the plot twists are seen miles away, the comedic relief is just insufferable.. and I really don’t like the two main actresses. I would much rather see the story about what happened right after the power went out, not 15 years later.

  6. I am really excited for this show but at the same time the previews make it seem pretty 50/50. This can either be a cult hit like Lost but it could be a major flub and be gone within 2 weeks.

    They are promoting the heck out of it so I hope it is just as wonderfully produced because the trailers have definitely done a good job of building it up.

  7. I am VERY VERY excited for this show. It looks very exciting, and I love the pace and mystery of both Lost and FlashForward. I think I will give this one a try, I am interested in the longevity of it, as the promos already shows that SOMEONE had electricity and a computer!!