Fall 2012 Pilot Reviews: Revolution

Premise: One day, everything powered stopped working. Fifteen years later, people have moved out of the cities and are living in small villages. Everything is controlled by militias. When Charlie’s brother is taken by the militia and her father is killed, she sets of with her father’s girlfriend and her father’s friend to find her uncle, who may have the key to solving the mystery of the sudden power failure and reinstating life in the United States as we know it.

Initial Thoughts: I love dystopian fiction, although the concept of this particular show failed to catch my interest. For some reason, I had been expecting the show to take place immediately after the power went out and to deal with the immediate after effects, so I watched the previews with that in mind. They didn’t do much to persuade me that I should watch it, but it was a J.J. Abrams show, so I figured it was at least worth watching the first episode.

Series Premiere: 9/17/12

Timeslot Competition: Castle (ABC), Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)

Post-show Thoughts: I’m still not sold on the overall concept. In order for dystopian fiction to be truly effective, it needs to be grounded in reality, and this one doesn’t feel like it is. I’m sure we’ll find out more about Monroe as the season progresses, but a little more information on why and how the power went out would have been nice to include in the pilot. Personally, I would have liked more information about how someone (or a group of people) managed to disable anything that is powered or could power something else. It is a little too much of a stretch, and I worry that the revelation of how it happened will ultimately be disappointing.

However, I still found the story intriguing enough to overlook my problems with the concept. I like Charlie and think she will grow into a really interesting character. She is innately curious about the world around her and how the world used to be although she’s a good fighter and has obviously adapted well to life as it is. I’m not as interested in her companions at the moment, but once they are fleshed out a little more, they should be an enjoyable group to watch. I am extremely curious about the lady who took in Danny and why she has the same device that Ben had.

Overall, I think the show has potential. The only J.J. Abrams show I have to compare anything to is Alias, and I am worried that the overall mythology of the show will go the way of the Rambaldi arc and become increasingly more of a stretch to accept, but I will remain cautiously optimistic.

Predictions: The ratings for the first episode were phenomenal, although because the show is heavily serialized, that could prove to be a problem. It’s the type of show that can get a lot of people for the first episode, because they are interested in the premise, but if they lose interest, they’ll just stop watching. Serialized shows haven’t done very well on network television for a while now, so that doesn’t bode well for its future.

Its timeslot isn’t overly competitive, although I think Castle and Hawaii Five-0 have fairly loyal fan bases that will continue to turn into their respective shows.

I definitely think it will air all of its original 13-episode order, although I don’t think it will get an additional pickup due to its serialized nature. The storytelling works better with shorter seasons, in my opinion, so NBC would be smarter to keep it at 13 episodes. I think it has the potential for a season season renewal, if the buzz surrounding the show picks up and people continue to tune in. Despite its strong opening, it’s not a lock for immediate renewal though, and I can see its future going either way.

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2 thoughts on “Fall 2012 Pilot Reviews: Revolution

  1. I’m so excited to finally comment here! I’ve been reading your posts, but I haven’t had anything to say because I didn’t watch any of those other pilots, but I did watch this one – and I still have mixed emotions.

    Overall, I think my expectations were just too high. I’ve always believed that JJ Abrams is the master of the pilot episode (with LOST and Alias being my top 2 pilots ever), but this one fell a little flat for me in terms of the characters. I wanted to like Charlie, but she didn’t resonate with me the same way other characters have in their pilot episodes. I thought the actress’s performance felt a little forced, but I’m sure she’ll grow into her role.

    In general, I just wish more time had been spent in the immediate aftermath of the power outage. There was great, chaotic drama to be mined from that, but the quick time jump made me feel like a lot of the story was missing and a lot of questions were left unanswered (but not good unanswered questions – more like plot holes). I’m sure I’ll tune into more episodes when Castle has a week off, but I’m not sure I’ll be sticking with this as religiously as I thought I would.

    1. I was excited to see a comment from you! I wanted to hear more of your thoughts about the episode

      I am really looking forward to watching more of JJ Abrams’ shows. LOST is definitely on my list for next year and I’d like to try Felicity at some point and maybe Person of Interest again.

      I agree, this definitely wasn’t as strong of a pilot as the one for Alias. I wonder a little if the fact that he wasn’t the creator of the show had something to do with that.

      My biggest concern is that the creators and producers aren’t sure if they the show to be more about the characters or the plot. The flashbacks we saw gave us a little bit of a look into the characters, but not enough plot information. I love a good character-driven show, but this one definitely needs the strong plot to keep it together and interesting. I’m hoping they find that balance and I’ll probably keep up with it, but it’s not a show that’ll be a high priority for me to watch every week.

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