Revolution TV Show Review: NBC Premiere is Bland, But Episode 2 of the Sci Fi Series Could Succeed


So apparently Revolution was much more hyped than I thought. I got enough views on my last piece about the show to shame the Olympic gold-medalist in strip-teasing, and I didn’t even get very deep into the series. Now the pilot episode has aired and by the end of it it seemed like the entire population of the world responded with a collective shrug, the massive simultaneous shoulder movement probably causing the Earth’s atmosphere to be raised an entire inch.

The show starts off when every piece of complex technology on the planet stops working – from computers, to airplanes, to George Foreman Grills. During this blackout, we are briefly introduced to the Matheson family of Chicago: Ben Matheson (Tim Guinee), the patriarch, Danny, his son, Charlie, his daughter, and Rachel, his wife. Ben is apparently one of the few people who actually knows what’s going on, but he keeps the knowledge to himself, for one reason or another.

Fifteen years later, the world has adapted to its new primitive circumstances and so have the Mathesons, who now live (minus Rachel, who is eating grass roots six feet under) in an isolated community on the countryside and survive by hunting and farming.

Crap hits the fan when a platoon of local militia shows up unannounced. Upon seeing the approaching soldiers, a frightened Ben trusts his friend, Matt Groenin — I mean, Aaron, with a pendant that might be the key to understanding the whole blackout business. Turns out Papa Matheson was right to be worried, as the militia has come to take him to their leader, a guy named Munroe, for inconspicuous reasons. The villagers aren’t so eager to let Ben go, though, so they get up in arms to defend him. That, however, ends up backfiring as Ben is then killed during the ensuing shootout. His son, Danny, is taken hostage by the surviving villains, who flee back into the wilderness.

In his death throes, Ben instructs Charlie to find her uncle, Miles, in Chicago, who may be able to help them get Danny back. Charlie honors her Dad’s last wish and is joined in her quest by Matt Groening and Maggie, Ben’s main squeeze in life.

Revolution may be a new rival to the ever-so-helpful Dictionary of, Like, ALL the Post-Apocalyptic Clichés, by George Romero. It features every single trope of the genre: Slightly fascist militias, the drunk lowlife who is secretly awesome, the determined and impossibly hot chick who is good with a bow and has a tendency to get sentimental (Pfft, women … You know how it is … Am I right fellas? Who’s with me?) etc. The only slightly original character is Maggie, the British doctor, there to remind us that the producers don’t think all women are hysterical (only the young ones), but I might be saying that because I haven’t yet identified which trope she represents in this scenario.

I was able to keep myself awake long enough though to notice that later in the episode there is a moderately cool action sequence involving a bunch of swords in a hotel lobby, with Three Musketeers-style fencing in the stairwell and all that. And, yes, the premise is still intriguing enough to maybe warrant following the series to see where it goes. The characters are mostly annoying, especially the Matt Groening one, and the show overall is very bland, but it has potential. After all, an apple is also a very bland thing, but dare a gullible friend to swallow one whole and you may be surprised to find how entertaining that fruit can be.