NBC’s Revolution made its broadcast debut on Monday night with a worst-case scenario premise: There’s a global blackout, rendering DVRs obsolete, with the myriad hours of recordings on them lost forever. We kid, but the power does go out in the new adventure drama from writer Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and producer J.J. Abrams (Lost).
Picking up the action 15 years later, Ben Matheson (played by Tim Guinee), who seemed to know the power-down was coming, and his two children, the Katniss-esque archer Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and asthma attack-prone Danny (Graham Rogers), are now living on the outskirts of Chicago. (Mom, played by Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell, died sometime after the blackout.) In the wake of the crisis, the militia-enforced Monroe Republic rose to power and has sent the fearsome Capt. Tom Neville (a masterful Giancarlo Esposito) to track down Ben and his brother Miles (Billy Burke) in hopes of getting intel on how to turn the lights back on. Neville’s meeting with Ben does not go so well, however. Ben ends up shot, son Danny is taken into custody and Charlie only arrives on the scene in time to hear her dying father’s last words: “You need to find Miles.”
Revolution then shifts to more of an adventure show as we travel through overgrown landscapes to Chicago, where Miles is laying low as a barkeep and doesn’t seem very thrilled to see his niece and her cohorts, which includes dad’s doctor girlfriend (Anna Lise Phillips), his best friend Aaron (Zak Orth) and Nate, a member of the militia (JD Pardo) who has infiltrated their group by being a hot guy who catches Charlie’s eye (and saves her life). When Nate’s gun-toting buddies come knocking on Miles’ door, Burke unleashes a surprising action star side, felling them all with swift sword-fighting. Traitor Boy saves Charlie’s life, again – is he just pretending to be the enemy? Or is he bad with an inkling of good?
FUN FACT: In the original Revolution pilot, as Charlie & Co. trekked past Wrigley Field, signage indicated that the Cubs had won the final pre-apocalypse World Series in 2012. How’d they lose the championship in the final cut? “I can’t comment too much on it, only to say that the administration of the Cubs felt strongly that that shouldn’t be there,” Kripke tells TVLine. “I’m from the Midwest, and it was not meant as a dig. It was meant as a ‘Wouldn’t that be tragic irony, that I’m rooting for the Cubs and they finally won the year the world ended?’ It was about rooting for a team I have great affection for, but they didn’t see it that way. It’s their team, and I get it.” Back to the recap….
The most revolutionary reveals come in the final moments. The woman (Maria Howell) who temporarily gave Danny safe haven when he managed to escape possesses a USB pendant — just like the one Ben downloaded something onto shortly before the blackout — and a wind-up computer in her attic that makes AOL dial-up look advanced. Yet it manages do the trick and send out her message: Neville and his people were here, but they didn’t find the mysterious “it” (the USB?). Meanwhile, Miles flashes back to the night of the blackout, where he was with his buddy… Sergeant Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons)!
Now it’s your turn, TVLiners: Hit the poll below to let us know what grade you give Revolution, then hit the comments with your theories on who’s on the other end of that computer. Is Ben really dead? And how did Monroe become the enemy?Follow @VladaGelman