Revolution Bosses Answer Burning Qs, Promise Ass-Kicking Adventure (and Rule Out One Theory)

NBC’s Revolution may be about a mysterious global blackout, but there was no “shortage” of insight when the show held court Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

For starters, executive producers Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Jon Favreau (Iron Man) laid out the rule book for what exactly gets powered down by the aforementioned blackout. “Anything that throws a spark, any circuit that carries an electrical charge…. That’s the simple, clean rule,” said Kripke. “That means batteries and spark plugs, engines….”

RELATED | Fall TV First Impression: Talkin’ ‘Bout Revolution

Of course, the big question at the core of Revolution is why the world goes dark in its iteration of the year 2012. Luckily for Kripke, the cause he conjured up wound up holding water.

“I had an answer that explains all the different facets – why the power went off, and why certain people are able to turn it back on — but of course that was coming from just a writer’s imagination,” Kripke told TVLine after the TCA session. “So we brought in a physicist and asked him very specific questions – if this technology were possible, and if this happened and this happened, would such a thing be possible? And he said that it would, that it actually explains it and makes sense.”

Kripke of course wasn’t about to divulge the particular “how” that he came up with and was vetted by the physicist, but he was game to rule out one common theory. “There are a lot of things that would fry the [global] grid — for instance, the answer on our show is not a solar storm,” he shared. “There, hot off the presses! Ours is not a solar storm.”

Whatever the case, Revolution‘s power-down paves the way for a post-apocalyptic society – not much unlike those depicted on Falling Skies, The Walking Dead or Jericho – where we follow a band of survivors (led by The Closer‘s Billy Burke) as they embark on a quest. And it is that story arc that Kripke and Favreau hope viewers latch onto, versus having the show pigeonholed as TV’s latest super-serialized thriller.

“Some elements are serialized,” Kripke conceded. “But they’re on a larger mythological quest, having all sorts of ass-kicking adventures along the way.”

Other topics covered during the Revolution panel discussion:

* On recruiting Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) to play role filled in the original pilot by Andrea Roth (Rescue Me), Kripke said it had nothing to do with the latter’s performance. Instead, as the writers began sketching out Season 1 and “saw where that character was going, certain things reveal themselves … and we started to realize that there were facets of that character that Elizabeth would be best-suited to play.”

* As to how another character in the post-blackout world manages to have an ice bucket filled with glistening cubes, Kripke explained that it, too, tracks. “In a pre-industrial society, ice was possible. They would make these massive blocks [from glaciers]… and transport them down the coast, and by horse, and the block that would arrive would be one-eighth of the block that left.” And the cube-clinking character in question is a man of means. “Ice is power in this world,” Kripke quipped.

Watch a video preview for Revolution:

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42 Comments
  1. I guess we will see. One of the first things that crossed my mind is that the premise of the show pretty much defied the laws of physics. Sure the power grid can be shut down, but batteries not working either? Of course it’s not a solar storm, that wouldn’t make batteries stop functioning. I’m pretty interested to see what kind of technology they think could shut down all power sources that a physicist agreed with.

    • squander it all says:

      so yeah, even if the batteries wouldn’t be affected by a solar storm the electrical charge they would be trying to send would be. . . but it would have to be some kind of ongoing thingy…or maybe a wave of electromagnetic radiation is moving thru the solar system and will take decades to get the hayl out … so yeah, nerd it up

      • Solar flares don’t affect batteries at all. They would still work just fine and I haven’t been able to find anything that says otherwise either. But it’s not a solar flare lol. I am guessing it has something to do with magnetic fields. There is also a way to block something like that out, a Faraday cage.

    • by the way it’s a tv series, it doesn’t have to be science proof!

  2. Danielle H says:

    I still guarantee that there will be things that don’t match up. Which happens. It is TV.

  3. liddad says:

    YES! I know a little about electronics etc, and am going to be doing electrical engineering and I wasn’t going to watch unless I knew it could make sense from a physics point-of-view. So this has made my mind up about watching this show. Now at least there is hope for the show.

    • liddad says:

      Ew, I just re-read that. By “I know a little about electronics” I meant pretty much just how it works at an atomic level, not that I’m an expert or anything like that. I’m not an ass.

  4. spoiler troll says:

    I hope he lied about the physicist and the real answer is “it’s just a dream”.

    Who’s dreaming? A yellow lab named vincent. Spoiler.

    • schnappi says:

      I’m sure he didn’t lie about the physicist, but the reasons for the blackout are obviously phantasy crap and not possible. Look at the questions he asked they’re ridiculous, of course the physicist agreed that it’s possible because Kripke had him assume that the technology was possible as part of his questions.

      Everyone can do that

      George Lucas: Mr. Physicist, if the lightsaber technology I came up with was possible and one would fall from the sky right now, could I pick it up, turn it on and use it?
      Physicist: Yes.
      Lucas: Lightsabers are possible, I asked a physicist!

      • Russ says:

        He was joking. Vincent was the dog from Lost.

        • schnappi says:

          Never watched Lost so that went right over my head. But I still think Kripke’s physicist reasoning is BS, he’s already in damage control mode because the premise of the show doesn’t make sense.
          The problem is not that the power goes out, the problem is that people are able to turn it back on. It’s like The Walking Dead, zombies are fine, I accept that because without them there would be no show but as soon as a conspiracy shows up that can turn zombies back into regular dead bodies by pressing buttons it becomes silly

  5. Patrick Maloney says:

    Can’t wait

  6. I am definitely looking forward to this show although I wish it wasn’t on the same time as Castle and Hawaii 5-0. I just hope NBC gives it a chance to catch on and that it doesn’t meet the same fate as The Event, Flash Forward, and Alcatrez. Admittedly the last two weren’t on NBC. I really would like to have another show that lasts as long as almost as long as Lost.

  7. Nick says:

    It doesn’t really matter if it makes sense or not because in the end, it will have happened because aliens did it… Or Jacob

  8. steph says:

    Was recently in Wilmington, NC. They had a plaque by the inland waterway there that told all about how ice would be transported on boats from lakes up north during the winter and stored in heavily insulated buildings under sawdust for the southerners that could afford it.

  9. rocco says:

    Hahaha this will be cancelled faster than we can say lights out.

    The premise is a snoozefest and convoluted, NBC just cant do sci fi anymore.

    • YowzaPowza says:

      I thought the same thing, but the pilot is actually pretty good. It’s very creative and not really at all like I thought it would be. Don’t be so quick to write this one off. It’s one of the best sci fi pilots I’ve seen in years.

      • Matt says:

        My skepticism stems not from doubting the potential quality of the show, so much as the ability of NBC or any of the “big networks” to keep a high concept sci-fi show such as Revolution on the air. Lost was a freak occurrence, and Fringe endured much longer than most thought it would, and was not considered a financial success for Fox. On a network like NBC, Revolution is going to have “cancellation” written all over it from the word go, not a great way to build audience confidence and draw new viewers in. The prospect might have been different up the dial. The Walking Dead never would have lasted on one of the major networks, but on AMC, the Walking Dead is a major hit.

        • liddad says:

          Maybe, but because of Firefly, if this show gets a cult following, NOBODY will want to be the network to cancel that show. Yes, Firefly was cancelled by Fox, but do NBC want to be known as the network who cancelled the next great show?
          All I’m saying is, it has a chance to make it.

    • Whimsical says:

      Pretty much. There is no way for the premise to hold up under scrutiny without giving everything away, and they won’t do that. The pilot would have to provide credible scientific explanations as to why the electrical impulses in the human body aren’t shut down and why we’ve regressed so far technologically- why isn’t steam powering everything then?

      One of, if not the first show cancelled next fall.

      • Everything already is powered by steam. Nuclear reactors, coal plants, pretty much any plant that produces heat turns water to steam to spin turbines. Whatever happens wouldn’t be able to stop a nuclear reaction, or coal from burning so obviously the problem lies with the actual distribution of electricity. Something would have to stop electricity being pushed down a wire. That’s why I don’t buy that batteries would stop working, or any of the rest of the premise lol. You have to have a serious breakdown in physics to take the world to the point where power simply can’t be generated. No wind, no solar, nothing. Even an EMP can be overcome eventually and plenty of stuff out there is shielded against them. Judging from stuff I have seen it’s not a natural phenomenon because someone out there still has power. So whatever it is that happens it’s man made.

        • Harper says:

          The nuclear reactors are the biggest problem. They are unmanageable without either electricity or a lot of really bold technicians willing to run into containment and turn valves by hand in the dark. Wihat they do in the first hour decides whether they have an unstoppable uber-fukushima, or a rather nice source of steam for decades to come.

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  11. Tim says:

    If anything that carries an electrical charge is shut down, that would include the human nervous system and the heart.

    • I’ve kinda thought about that one back and forth. It’s not the same and then again it is. It’s very similar to how a battery works with chemical gradients and a membrane. I think the show is going to end up using a lot more artistic license than they think. And how they got a physicist to vet their idea puzzles me.

  12. tvdiva says:

    They are going to have to explain why electricity is not working better than they did in this article or scientists and viewers are going to have a field day tearing the mythology apart instead of actually watching the show.

  13. Gem says:

    Am I the only person who knows science that is still excited about this show? Did we question the ability to go to light speed using a warp engine in Star Trek? Sometimes you accept the existence of something to enjoy the greater plot. Sit back and enjoy the show!

    • No you aren’t. I love science fiction as much as the next guy. I can readily suspend disbelief to enjoy a show. But when the creator says he got a physicist to verify his plot it causes confusion. Did the guy tell him that it could actually happen, or is it theoretical like was pointed out above with Star Trek and any other show that uses faster than light travel or wormholes. If it is theoretical fine, but the way he talks is like whatever happens on the show is not far from reality at all.

  14. Velvet says:

    I’m in for Revolution. It has to be better than everything Spielberg has produced for TV the last 2 years. Because his shows suck arse.

  15. Mike says:

    Assuming the tech only effects electron flow in nonorganic systems is the only way the premis makes sence. If some people made a tech to counteract the effects of the other tech they could harness electricity in machines again.

  16. Tim Pepper says:

    SM Stirling in his Embervesre series starting with DIe the Fire got there first – anyone else see the similarities?

  17. Tammy says:

    I noticed it’s on NBC On Demand so I might give it a try but the commercials for this are horrible. By the time the Olympics were over, I hated the idea of this show. I don’t see the appeal to this show at all. I’m having that problem with a lot of the new shows this fall.

  18. Michelle says:

    Revolution will never make it in a time slot against Castle and Hawaii 5-0.

  19. Mike says:

    The unknowns and acting is not compelling enough to capture audiences for the long haul….rating are dropping and nbc will continue it’s trend of dropping shows.

  20. Harold says:

    I watched the 3rd episode and found the plot absolutely mystifying and not worth watching. I deleted it from my DVR. Anything that even RESEMBLES “Lost” is out of my line-up in a heartbeat. I think this thing is too far into the “horror-supernatural” genre which I absolutely hate!

  21. Dan says:

    Sci-fi often uses recently discovered but still mysterious forces to serve as a springboard for a fantastic premise. Electricity, x-rays, atomic energy, lasers, biotechnology, and nanotechnology have all been used. The current mysteries are dark matter and dark energy. I would gain some respect for the show if they trotted that out as part of the explanation. So little is currently known about this dark stuff that a lame answer like, “CERN was studying dark matter and an accident made all metal in the world non-conductive!”, would fly without any fanboys squawking about the science.

    Nevertheless there are plenty of non-science issues that make this show suck. Like the unbelievably bratty selfish teens who seem cloned from the same repulsive types in Terra Nova and Falling Skies. Or the ridiculous dictator and his sadistic soldiers who cares more about making the local population hate him than helping them to rebuild and solidify his power base. Where do they get these writers?

  22. Dave says:

    Deeper question about revolution is how dO you de-electrify the world without killing all the people. Living creatures are essentially large batteries that require a curren for life

  23. uwem says:

    What shout i do my tv is on but the tv line is not starting

  24. Electricianate says:

    I am surprised that no one here has brought up the idea that they could still be using diesel driven machinery (until the fuel runs out) many diesel engines use or can use mechanical pumps instead of electric. Hand crank the motor or push start instead of an electric starter and you have an uncle named Bob. I also agree that the bioelectricity of humans/animals should be equally affected in “real life” but then the show would be about 10 seconds long with credits.

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