23 Questions I Have About NBC’s Attempt At Dystopian Sci-Fi Revolution

Revolution NBC blackout Charlie Miles Billy Burke Giancarlo Esposito questions bad dystopian sci-fi genre

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?

Revolution NBC blackout Charlie Miles Billy Burke Giancarlo Esposito questions bad dystopian sci-fi genre

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?!

Revolution NBC blackout Charlie Miles Billy Burke Giancarlo Esposito questions bad dystopian sci-fi genre

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?


23. Why can’t we just have more Firefly or Y: The Last Man instead of this?

Photos: NBC

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    • berick

      I had a big question after watching: what about steam? Somehow losing electricity seems to have made this society revert to the technology of the year 1000. We had huge cities, factories, railroads, all sorts of goodies before electricity was industrial. Think 1850. Has the steam-engine and the coal-fired boiler stopped working too?

      • Jenni

        Exactly! They went back to the middle ages so quickly that it made no sense.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1041690054 Natalie Zutter


    • Katrina

      Y The Last Man was the best. I’d much rather have more of it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1041690054 Natalie Zutter

        I just lent the first two trades to a coworker–it has always been and probably always will be my favorite comic series.

    • Jeremy Klingendorf

      Clearly, Revolution has left quite a few questions to answer
      after its pilot episode. For that reason
      alone, I’m not a huge fan of the show yet.
      That said, I think there is potential for the show for at least a season
      or two. My coworker at DISH and I had
      many of the same questions as the ones raised here. I think it’s an unfortunate coincidence that
      The Hunger Games came out this year; the stories are really comparable in a lot
      of ways. I think I’ll let my Hopper DVR
      record this one and I’ll catch up later.
      With PrimeTime Anytime on my Hopper, Revolution is recorded
      automatically. PrimeTime Anytime records
      all the shows in prime time from the four major networks without having to set
      individual reminders. My concern too
      with Revolution is that all the questions raised will be left unanswered for
      most of the season or dragged into next season.
      That is, if it makes it that long.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stella.walsh.589 Stella Walsh

      I really like this show so far but I can’t see Billy Burke as anyone else but Charlie, Bella’s Dad (even without the mustache). If you like J.J. Abrams check out this awesome video…