‘Revolution’ PREMIERE Recap (Season 1, Episode 1): “Our Hope”
I wouldn’t quite say I was excited when I first heard about Revolution, but I was fairly interested. Even though he can be hit or miss (usually depending on how involved he is in a project), I am mostly a fan of J.J. Abrams, and I think he can be a talented writer and director. However, Abrams is only producing Revolution – the real work here is being done by Eric Kripke, who is also a pretty good writer (see the first five seasons of Supernatural, which he created). The pilot is also directed by Jon Favreau, who has proven in recent years to be quite the blockbuster filmmaker (even if Iron Man is the only thing he’s done that I’ve really liked). But what really got me interested in Revolution was its premise: a group of people trying to survive in a world without power isn’t an original idea, but it is an idea that has, to my knowledge, never been executed well. It is a premise with a lot of potential, and the three men behind the show know all about potential. I hoped to see a show that would take this idea and run with it, realistically showing exactly what a world without power would be like. Unfortunately, based on the pilot, Revolution isn’t that show.
The pilot begins right out of the gate with the power going out for an unknown reason, including a visually interesting but excruciating scene in which all of the cars on a highway turn off in a row instead of all at once. To be honest, after this happened, I had a feeling Revolution wasn’t going to be the show I wanted but I kept watching, hoping it would improve. It didn’t. Aside from the occasional flashback, the rest of the episode takes place 15 years later, where everyone has moved on from computers and television, and returned to simpler pleasures like gardening and joining militias.
I’m not going to write a detailed synopsis about what happened in the rest of the episode, but suffice to say it’s not very interesting. There’s a bunch of people, some of whom know nothing about what happened 15 years ago, some who do and then some who want to find out and are willing to kill the other people (even the ones that might know) to do so. The pilot deals with a bunch of people who know nothing about what happened trying to find someone who might before the people that want to know find him.
The characters aren’t particularly memorable: our protagonist is a young woman named Charlie, who everyone seems to think is just a poor version of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games–probably because her only traits so far are liking archery and exploring. Her uncle Miles (played by Kristen Stewart’s dad from Twilight, clearly releasing a lot of rage about those movies in the fight scenes in this) is the man who might know something about what happened and is being hunted by the militia. The militia is led by Giancarlo Esposito, better known as the terrifying Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad, who works for a mysterious general who knew Miles 15 years ago. It’s all very mysterious and knowing Abrams, we aren’t going to know anything about what happened for a long time yet.
The other main characters include a former Google millionaire; a British woman who appears to be more dangerous than she looks (she kills two men with poisonous whiskey, for example); Charlie’s boring, asthmatic brother; a soldier and love interest for Charlie; and a mysterious woman who has a working computer, which she uses to communicate with someone else.
I try not to judge things based on my expectations, but it’s hard to find something to like in Revolution. Aside from the mysterious story and the forgettable characters, we’ve also got cheesy music (hey, it’s a bad guy, play some ominous sounding music so the idiots watching this know it’s definitely a bad guy), mediocre acting (Esposito does the best with what he’s got, but this character is clearly not going to be anywhere near as compelling as Gus Fring), and a lot of stuff that’s just plain weird: I know there’s no power, but why is everyone using weaponry from the 1600s? Why didn’t the government set up alternative power sources using water or wind turbines? Maybe these questions will be answered later on, but whether the answers are satisfying enough remains to be seen.
Revolution is clearly meant to be the next Lost, the next in a series of poor imitations like Heroes and Flashforward. All of these shows have misunderstood what set Lost apart in the first place: it wasn’t the incomprehensible mythology that made Lost special but the interesting characters, something Revolution is severely lacking at the moment. However, this is only the pilot – and the pilot is usually the weakest episode of a show – so maybe things get better from here. Maybe. I guess we’ll see next week.
Image credit: NBC
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