Fall TV Preview

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….”

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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: