Early Thoughts on ‘Revolution’

Should you check out Revolution tonight? The show premieres tonight at 10/9c on NBC, and the premise does seem compelling. All the power turns off the world, and we’re just left in darkness. Fifteen years later, militia have taken over (as well as other unruly people), and the world is a dangerous place.

In the midst, we have Charlie, who’s in route to find her uncle after her brother is taken. She hopes he can help to save her family, or at least what’s left of it.

I will admit, when I first heard the premise, I was interested in the series. Having seen the first episode, I can’t say that it really delivers on what a real post-apocalyptic series could deliver. The plot moves too fast (for people who have no choice for travel other than walking and horseback, Charlie and her comrades seem to reach their destination in no time), and there’s little character development. While I realize most pilots fall into the trap of too much exposition (boring) and too little (clearly this), there are many ways in which the show could be improved, just by the use of smart flashbacks. In fact, the ones they include, which are few and far between (I can only recall two) are probably the most interesting of the show. Flash back a bit more, and you might actually learn who the characters are.

Instead, you’re forced in, expected to fall in love with puppy-faced Charlie. If you don’t (and if you’re like me, you’ll agree she needs some warming up to), then her teary speeches just feel empty, which doesn’t make you too invested in her cause.

It’s disappointing, as the show has potential, given its cast. Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito are two that can handle good material…if they were given it.

Meanwhile, the music during “dramatic” scenes are so over the top that it’s distracting (perhaps this was because I saw it on the big screen), and it’s used not to add to the series, but to force you into an edge-of-your-seat tension that I’m not sure the show delivers.

Was there some strong parts? Sure. Clearly, the crew had some good fight choreographers, and there is some story arc there that they’re setting up. But the first episode just delivered too much to fast, and I have no idea where it could go from here. If it had had more faith in its characters and slowed down to make you really invest your time, there would have been a much better payoff — and a smarter show.

But for now, I’d say this is one you probably don’t need to see. Hold off, and if you hear that it has improved, then catch up. Otherwise, I think you’re devoting a lot of time for a cliffhanging cancellation.

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