Revolution – Pilot

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Network: NBC
Day/Time:  Mondays 10/9C
Premiere Date: Sept 17, 2012

Main Characters:

Tracy Spiridakos – Charlie Matheson
Giancarlo Esposito – Captain Neville
Billy Burke – Miles Matheson

Revolution takes place 15 years in our future, but a future in which all electricity has ceased to exist.  Without power, the world begins to crumble and lives change.  Ben Matheson might know what happened and how to fix it, but it will be up to his daughter and brother to find a way to turn the lights back on – or keep that power out of the wrong hands.

I did wonder why it took so long for the networks to jump on the dystopian bandwagon, and NBC really needs this to be a big hit.  And because they need it to be a hit, and it’s coming after the Hunger Games craziness, Revolution previews make it look very similar to some of the other dystopian fiction out there.  That being said, I also really wanted to love this show.  After all, when you throw J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau together you’re going to get great TV, right?

So so.  There are bones there of a great mythos, some interesting characters, and a good set-up to the show, but I am not sure where it is all going.  The main problem with the pilot, without spoiling it, it amounts to whether or not they would ever want the power turned back on.  If you think about it, that means millions of cars, planes, and other machinery would work again, all of a sudden.  In a world that has been turned over to savage militias, it would be quick, unlimitless power.

As to our central characters, Charlie is the now-grown daughter of Ben and she sets off to Chicago to find her uncle Miles and try and save her young brother.  Predictable things happen in the very short journey, including an introduction to a “complicated” love interest for Charlie and a short run-in with a few bandits.  But even if you can figure out what’s coming, it really is that ending that will draw you in for the series.

The acting in the show could be better, but I was kind of surprised by Tracy Spiridakos.  There was plenty of opportunity for her to take things over the top, and instead she played it low-key.  I really liked the way she interpreted things, and I cannot quite put my finger on what I would call her approach other than portraying the utter disbelief of her young character.  Thrown in a bit of naivete and youthful idealism, and I think you have her acting style.

Giancarlo Esposito was the other standout in this show for me.  Sure, he plays the “bad guy”, but Esposito proves that even the villains can have layers.  Here was another opportunity for an over-the-top performance, but instead Esposito and the writers’ portray Captain Neville with surprising subtlety.  Neville, an insurance adjuster before the blackout, is just a man that found a way to utilize his skills and just wants to get home to his wife and bed.  Or so he would have you believe.  On the face of it, he could prove to be one of the most interesting characters in the series (which would be no surprise because of Esposito’s abilities).

Revolution is a hard one for me to review.  I like pieces of it, but overall it will take a few more episodes for me to determine if the story will start to flesh out.  It is definitely worth giving the show a shot I think, and you can check it out for yourself at NBC.com.

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