Talk about a mixed bag. Revolution rumbled onto my television set late Monday night and left me with a big pile of questions, annoyances, and a middling stack of tepid interest. I want to like it, okay? I’m also prepared to see it canceled quicker than quirky stewardesses prancing around in the friendly skies. We’ll see NBC, we’ll see.
All the electricity is out, and it’s been like that for about 15 years. The government has been replaced by a big scary militia. People walk around with crossbows and swords and gaze longingly at postcards showing the electric yesteryear. It’s like the zombie apocalypse – except without zombies. Or like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – except people smile every once in awhile and don’t mind wearing shades other than gray.
- Dad Ben knows something, but he’s not sharing it with viewers at home. Oh, and he dies about nine minutes into the episode. Of course.
- Mom Rachel has major sci-fi cred. She had big parts in both Lost and V, but she sort of seems to be dead already as well.
- Their daughter Charlie hardly smiles, knows how to identify an asthma attack (“You are having an asthma attack!!), and wields a bow like the long lost love child of Legolas and Katniss.
- Danny, Charlie’s younger brother, has one distinguishing feature: he has asthma (“It is his asthma!!”).
- Miles is Ben’s brother. His coolness is sort of forced on viewers, but it more or less works. Watch as he drinks all the whiskey! Watch as he kills all the men!
- Someone not named Nate is a militia man. He’s Charlie’s complicated love interest.
- Maggie is Ben’s British girlfriend.
- Aaron is comic relief.
- Sebastian is Dean’s former (?) friend. He’s also the big bad villain on the show (spoiler alert).
Where Are We Now?
The quality quad of Charlie, Aaron, Maggie, and Miles are off to rescue Danny from the militia men who killed Ben. Not-Nate has reunited with his militia brethren, but he seems to be harboring complicated feelings for Charlie because she’s the only pretty girl he’s seen since all the lights went out – or some other equally romantic reason. Sebastian, head honcho of the evil militia, is hanging out at his evil villain compound (a green lawn with some crisp white tents).
The “Wow” Factor
So I like a lot of things about this show. I’m always down for a high concept science-fiction tale, and this pretty much fits the bill. Complex characters bouncing around in complex settings boosted by an injection of post-apocalyptic shenanigans, tyrannical militias, and sword play is where I live (in my mind). I appreciate strong female characters, and I assume Charlie is supposed to be that based on her decidedly un-girly moniker. I’m also a sucker for anti-heroes that are a little rough around the edges – which I assume the Miles character is aiming for. Add a little intrigue about the fall of electricity and the people who may or may not be able to restore it? Sure, why not?
The “Ick” Factor
On the other hand, this episode felt like a recipe for cookies made out of only chocolate chips and flour. Yeah, the big ingredients were there, but everything else apparently got thrown out the window. Where are my multi-dimensional characters? Danny could literally have been played by a llama if you could teach a llama to have an asthma attack (a very serious and proper use of the word literally). Where is the interesting exposition? I have no idea why Revolution’s America is so empty. Zombie apocalypses conveniently deal with that problem by eating everyone, but without that gross luxury, I don’t understand how the entire country emptied to the point that Charlie has to ask if “there are other towns like ours.” Like other towns with people in them or other towns with beautiful, air-brushed people who have no personality? Because I’m doubtful about the latter.
So far, so good. Over ten million people reportedly tuned in. Let’s hope Revolution can keep up the ratings (and fix a few character and story problems while they’re at it).
Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.