NBC‘s new series Revolution – set fifteen years after a mysterious blackout makes humanity revert into a Revolutionary War-era society — has been getting a lot of attention. Even though it seems like the network is just trying to ride the current wave of dystopian sci-fi, it at least has a good pedigree: Supernatural creator Eric Kripke wrote the pilot, and it was directed by Jon Favreau. (You know, the guy who brought Iron Man to the big screen in the best way.) So geeks had cautiously high hopes, and last night’s series premiere seems to have done OK ratings-wise.
But I just didn’t like it! The premise sounds cool, but — as is often the case — the characters come out way too generic and archetypal in order to let the story overwhelm their personal arcs. In short, I just didn’t care about them the way I did, say, Malcolm Reynolds at the end of the (admittedly problematic) Firefly pilot. There were maybe two moments where I went “OH SHIT,” but those plot twists weren’t even that compelling.
Most of all, I just had a lot of questions. And not questions like I would’ve had after the Lost pilot, eager to delve into this exciting new world. Mostly it was just nitpicks and cranky observations, since I consider myself at least as educated in dystopia as the folks who put this show together. So, check out all of my stream-of-consciousness issues with the show, and share yours in the comments!
1. So Ben is the patriarch who totally knows that the electricity is gonna run out, and he’s already backed up all his files. But he just happens to have a futuristic-looking medallion/flash drive? That looks like something you make after the power goes out, not before. Where’d he buy it, Hot Topic?
2. How does it make sense that electricity and batteries run out?
3. Whoever planned this wanted the full drama, which is why s/he planned it to happen at night, right?
4. What about the astronauts up in space? Are they just watching the Earth go dark, or are they about to hurtle into the atmosphere?
5. How do people not remember cell phones and shit only fifteen years later?
6. Why do these dystopian characters always have Biblical names like Caleb?
7. Does Charlie think she’s Katniss Everdeen?
8. And why must the heroines always have masculine names?
9. If Ben knew this was coming, why didn’t he do more to prevent it?
10. Do you really need electricity to operate inhalers, for poor Danny?
11. Why would you set up camp near an abandoned amusement park?
12. Should we be worried about Charlie that she thinks it’s a plus that her uncle Miles is “good at killing”?
13. What do you want to bet that Ben’s British widow hooks up with Miles and Charlie gets with dorky Aaron?
14. If Aaron really worked for Google pre-blackout like he said, couldn’t he buy their safety with his $80 million in the bank?
15. OH SHIT DID ATMS STOP WORKING? Sucks for these guys!
16. What do you put in whiskey to make someone bleed?!
17. Did Billy Burke take this job because it means for once he’ll be more famous than his kid co-stars? (He’s Bella’s dad in Twilight, if you missed that.)
18. Does Charlie really think her mom is dead? The woman is played by Elizabeth Mitchell, for fuck’s sake. She’s out there somewhere.
19. Why is it always black people who find the wanderers in the woods?
20. Does Giancarlo Esposito hate himself for sinking to this after Breaking Bad?
21. So Miles’ buddy Sebastian is the evil Governor Monroe, oh shit! But what kind of narcissist has his name tattooed on his arm BEFORE THE BLACKOUT?
22. WHY IS THIS WOMAN NOT MORE EXCITED ABOUT HAVING THE INTERNET BACK?
23. Why can’t we just have more Firefly or Y: The Last Man instead of this?