Some networks are so confident of their new programs that they are willing to show them BEFORE premiering on TV. Such is the case with NBC’s REVOLUTION. It’s a story set in the near future, where the world has no electricity. Not just ‘no electricity’, but nobody can produce electricity. Not even with generators or solar panels. It all just stopped. In the fifteen years of darkness, small communities have survived through farming and bartering. But Militias and city-states have also developed, much to the danger of regular people.
The Pilot episode became viewable on the NBC website last week. It went around the internet news, so I figure those of you that were keeping tabs on the J.J. Abrams production probably had the opportunity of seeing it. But for you stragglers that don’t keep up with every minute of internet news (because you have lives), here is the first pilot which is still available on NBC’s site. Now if you want my quick review of the show before you watch it, skip down below and I’ll give you the nitty gritty…
Geek Soul Brother’s Review w/ Spoilers (but not too much)
Okay, so the set up was pretty quick and straight forward, with a guy named Ben (Tim Guinee) warning his brother that everything was going to go black and never come on again. Chaos and Havoc ensued for about 2 minutes, and then we viewers get whisked 15 years into the future. Alright. A little rushed, but there’s only 1 hour, so I understood. Unfortunately, the rushing of the story doesn’t stop there.
Ben is farming with the rest of his community, because that’s what you do when there is no electricity anymore. We see Ben’s kids all grown up, including his daughter Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) who will be one of the stars of the show. The little village gets sacked because a leader of a militia, Capt. Tom Neville played by Giancarlo Esposito, wants Ben to come with him. Ben sends his daughter Charlie to find his brother Miles (Billy Burke). She eventually does with the help of Ben’s second wife and a clumsy looking friend that seems to carry the comedy relief in the cast. All of this you can surmise in the trailer or extended commercial advertisement on NBC. And you know what? The trailer pretty much showed you the whole story of the pilot. There were a couple little twists, but you can get the gist of the story from beginning to end in the 2 minute commercial. I’m not saying don’t watch REVOLUTION, I’m just stating a storytelling fact here.
There were a few things that bothered me about the pilot. First and foremost, it was told too fast. The writers or whomever could have stretched out the ‘looking for Uncle Miles’ journey to 2 or 3 episodes. And if they had done that, I would have had a better idea of who these characters were. I didn’t have much empathy for the cast. I mean I didn’t get a chance to really like anybody enough to care for them. Well, maybe Ben’s second wife who seems to have skills. I’ve seen other shows do character introductions much better, including my recent viewing of ABC’s LAST RESORT, which I’ll be reviewing after this.
Now you know Abrams is good for some flashbacks (LOST), but the ones including in this first episode were useful and kept the mystery going at the same time. Probably because Abrams didn’t write/create the show, And as far as the mystery of the power and who knew about it, at least they will keep that going for a while. But lets hope they don’t drag it out. I mean, eventually somebody has to turn things back on, right?
Now these are the things that I was just being nit-picky about, being a science geek. First off, even without electricity, where are the steam engines? They could still boil water. Second, I don’t know who was advising them of the physics of the show, but planes spinning like frisbees to the ground, or a man getting knocked down by a crossbow as if he was shot by a shotgun didn’t sit right with my sense of… reality. And lastly, the fight scene with Miles near the end looked a lot like one of Denzel’s fight scenes in Book of Eli. But that wasn’t a big deal.
Truthfully, I thought Jon Favreau (Ironman 1 & 2) did a decent job directing. There wasn’t anything wrong with the visuals (except for them planes). It was just the writing and dialog that I found sub par. So far, I would compare this to the cancelled show TERRA NOVA, which I liked, but wasn’t the best scifi on TV.
Now, if you still feel like it, you can watch the pilot of REVOLUTION. Let me know what you thought of it.