Review: Should NBC Keep The Lights On For Revolution?

Ever since seeing the “power icon” logo of Revolution, I’ve been intrigued by the concept – what happens when the lights go off for the last time?

Revolution uses this concept to the best of its ability, and does a good job of getting straight to the point while building and deconstructing mysteries along the way.

The first 30 seconds, set in the present, very succinctly shows how obsessed the world is with technology while introducing Ben Matheson (Tim Guinee) and his family. Ben’s son Danny, a toddler, plays on an iPad. His daughter, Charlie, is entranced by the TV. Ben’s wife Rachel, played by Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell, is on the phone talking with her mother. Moments later, we see Ben’s brother Miles (Billy Burke) driving a car while his friend Bass (David Lyons) shows him pictures on his smartphone. When the power goes out, it becomes no surprise that world becomes a bit dystopic in 15 years time.

The future dystopia of Revolution is reminiscent of the short-lived but engaging Jericho. Both series are set in a post-apocalyptic Mid-Western America where anywhere outside of a city or town is full of bandits and militia. If this comparison is good or bad will depend on the direction Revolution takes. Based on the pilot, however, it looks like the show will be going more towards venturing out of the small town than protecting it.

The plot moves surprisingly quickly, with Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), now an adult, going on a quest to Chicago to find her long lost uncle, Miles. With the antagonistic Munroe Militia on their tail, Charlie, Miles and the rest of their crew (Anna Lise Phillips’ Maggie and Zak Orth’s Aaron) must find a way out of Chicago.

The major fight scene with Miles facing down twenty Militia men had its good and bad. It looked like they were going for the choreographic style of Book of Eli, but actor Billy Burke is no Denzel Washington. On the other hand, Miles’ resourcefulness with his weaponry and cold confidence under fire was impressive.

By the end of the episode, one mystery introduced at the beginning is solved, only to open the door to a million more questions. If the show can keep up this pace, it may wind up more satisfying than the all-questions-and-no-answers approach that Lost took for its first couple of seasons.

Despite everything I like about the pilot, I didn’t find myself falling in love with it. The intrigue is there, but barely. The action doesn’t feel real, nor does the world. It’s hard to believe governments would fall so hard without electricity when they were founded without it, and that there’d be a return to guns that need to be loaded like musket rifles when modern rifles don’t use electricity. The ending was shocking enough to keep me around for episode 2, but it’d have to improve for me to stick around for more.

Revolution airs at 10/9 c on NBC.

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Marlan Moore is a freelance writer just getting his feet wet in this pond called the Internet. He hopes to one day write for film, TV, and comics, but until then, he is the managing editor of Inside AX - Anime Expo's official news and review site. His favorite drink is Thai iced tea, but he could really use a root beer float right about now.