Fall TV Preview

NBC's Revolution: Are You Signing Up? Plus: Why the Cubs Didn't Win this Year's World Series

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).

RELATED | Revolution Bosses Answer Burning Questions, Rule Out One Blackout Theory

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?

RELATED | Exclusive: Grey’s Anatomy Alum Kim Raver Joins in NBC’s Revolution

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)!

RELATED | Fall TV Scoop: J.J. Abrams’ Revolution Enlists Lost Alum Jeff Fahey

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?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Whimsical says:

    The pilot had to convincingly answer two questions in order for it to be any good: 1) If this blackout shuts off ALL electricty, how does it not shut off the electrical impulses in the human nervous system? 2) Why have we gone back to an agraian society when there are existing plans for steam powered cars, computers, etc?

    The pilot answered neither of those questions. Complete failure. I won’t be watching, because I can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous it all is.

    • A.Rae says:

      Good point! I like how they said that BATTERIES stopped working too… Huh? I can’t wait to see what they come up with for how that happened (not that I’m going to watch)…

    • nick1372 says:

      The premise is not that gas or oil stopped being able to produce power, but that electrical energy is no longer able to flow between electrons. The energy is there, but a change in physics means no one can harvest it and use it.

      • Whimsical says:

        That doesn’t answer either of the required questions. In fact, if that’s the case, it makes answering question one even more imperative- how can you stop electrical energy flowing between electrons and not between neurons?

        They needed to explain why every human being didnt drop dead from lack of electrical activity in their bodies last night in order for the pilot to be any good. They didn’t- I suspect it’s because they can’t (The pilot shows that this premise has not been thought through well at all).

        And that’s not even touching why we regressed beyond steam power, a development that makes no sense. I was so exicted when I first heard about this show, because I thought it’d be full of cool steampunk gadgets and fashions.

        What did I get? A boring Lost meets Little House on the prarie. Pass.

        • JJ says:

          Its an invented world! Get over it. Ditching a show with so much talent just after 1 episode without waiting for them to settle in and give answers is just plain rude.

          • Whimsical says:

            No, what’s rude is you expecting me to sit there and have my intelligence insulted by a show’s refusal to answer the simplest, most obvious questions. I suppose they could eventually address the steam problem, but they ABSOLUTELY needed to answer the “human beings make electricity” problem in their first episode if they expect anyone with any sense to do anything other than go- “You should all be dead” the second anyone on the show does, well, anything.

            I’m too smart and my time is too valuable to tolerate lazy writing and poorly thought out premises(Yes it’s an invented world- doesn’t remove their obligation to have their invented world make sense)- but if you’re time isn’t that valuable by all means, enjoy your show.

    • Dalek says:

      You should just not watch anything Whimsical. You’re that high-school jerk nobody wants to be seen with, but on the net. They didn’t address the ‘humans have electric impulses flowing through them’ issue because the device which is stopping or draining electricity isn’t designed to suck out or stop human electrical impulses.

      • Whimsical says:

        Then they needed to say that for the pilot to be any good. They didn’t, so it wasn’t.

        And besides, unless you’re conencted with the show, you’re just guessing. Not good enough. Its lazy writing to make the fans do the writers work of explaning things. You may be satisfied with lazy writing. I’m not.

  2. The pilot was alright, not as good as I was hoping but there were some interesting moments in it. The computer at the end was very Fringe-typewriter/Dharma initiative though..

  3. A.Rae says:

    Meh… I did like how clean (and pressed) everyone’s clothes were… And would you really be taking the time to accessorize with jewelry (Grace) if you live alone in a cabin in the woods? Come on, grunge it up a little. That kind of detail pulls me right back out of a show like this…

    • spider3tattoo says:

      This. I also rolled my eyes at the beautiful, straight, bright white teeth on these actors after 15 years of no dentistry. The hair cuts, shiny hair, clean clothes, clean everything, especially since they were working/walking in loose dirt and forest. People died from starvation, and yet one of the main characters was overweight, with no muscle tone. If in the fact they had to chop trees for wood and hand plow the ground, etc. would he not be slimmer and more toned? And that’s just some of the people issues, the tech flaws bothered me too, not none so glaring as those teeth on the young lady in the lead. Nope.

  4. Gigi says:

    I watched JERICHO and LOVED it so I decided to give this show a try. I liked it. I don’t think the characters were as good as Johnston, Jake and Hawkins, but I will keep on watching as long as it stays as good as tonight’s episode was. A solid B for sure.

  5. lame says:

    I liked it, and I’ll continue to watch on hulu the following day, Castle comes first.

  6. onlyakb says:

    ow well, it was not an amazing pilot, it was ok, got me curious enough to want to watch the next episode, but not like “OMG I need the next episode”, more like “okay, it has a bit of Fringe, Lost, Angel all around” , personally I liked the old hotel set, the swords and crossbows , I’ve been kinda missing it!! let’s see what they did for the next couple of weeks!!
    The actress that plays Charlie will have to get over the obvious comparisons with Jen Lawrence because of Katniss, but I have the strange feeling that the show was trying ,just maybe to target the audience of The Hunger Games!!
    ow well!! good luck to the show!!

  7. D says:

    It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t amazing. It was just kind of so-so. The only part of the show that I thought was excellent was the Burke sword action. It was well shot, fun and adventurous. Other than that, Charlie kind of fell flat, Nate was a predictable “twist” and comes off almost as a cliche at this point and the twist that Monroe was Miles’ “friend” in the car didn’t catch me off guard at all. It seemed predictable by the end of the show that this “mysterious” Monroe would be someone with close association to the main characters. Esposito will forever have my respect so I’ve got nothing negative to say about him. All in all, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen but I’m doubtful it’s good enough to keep me watching for a full season. For now I’ll stick with it and hope that it picks up. My only problem is I don’t see how this is a concept that has much longevity without dragging us through the mud for a season or two of nothing. Save brother, unravel the blackout mystery….then what? Doesn’t feel like a concept that could last multiple seasons and if this show gets the axe it won’t be too surprising. Best of luck to it though.

  8. dan says:

    This was just about subpar. I don’t understand the need for a time jump in the first episode or why they killed Tim Guinee’s character so soon or why they have Elizabeth Mitchell playing someone who has already died. Guinee, Mitchell, Esposito, Lyons & Burke as leads and the new faces as support would have made for a solid cast. The blackout conspiracy is weak and completely unnecessary but I guess standard for this alternate/post-apocalyptic/disaster network drama. I did like the Gen. Monroe twist. So with that single shining moment and my overwhelming need to punish myself mediocre shows from JJ Abrams and NBC, I’ll keep watching.

  9. John says:

    HEY! I lost 70+ hours of shows when a summer storm fried my TiVo. Way to soon for that sort of joke, WAY too soon.


  10. Chris says:

    I wanna like this, but can’t get past the idea that things with gas and batteries stopped working. Just because they say it happened in the exposition narration does not make it suddenly believable…it just makes no logical sense!!

    • tp says:

      It’s not supposed to make logical sense. Like it was said physics has gone completely crazy. I’m guessing/hoping it will be explained more in upcoming episodes.

      • Chris says:

        See I’m sorry… I feel like TV shows are dumbed down and we’re just supposed to make some leap because they tell us to.

        • John says:

          Why do you think its called ‘science fiction’! If you wanted complete/theoretical science reality, stick to Discovery! It isn’t dumbed down, as much as it doesn’t give exposition to all the rules of the new world in the first episode itself!

  11. nick1372 says:

    A. It’s good, but it needs just a little more oomph.

  12. darien says:

    I couldn’t enjoy it that much. I didn’t appreciate the rushed pace of it all. They didn’t develop the characters enough for the dads death to be meaningful, hell the daughter seemed to get over it just fine. They skipped over the rather interesting premise with a15 year jump. All the bow and arrows and swords (really?swords?) Was just too unconvincing. All the actors have immaculate hair and make up. The immediate complete negation of the government due to a black out etc. Plus the soundtrack and camera style was cheesy I just couldn’t take it seriously.

  13. Kent says:

    Very disappointed in this show, but then, the premise didn’t really have me on pins and needles to begin with. I figured with the pedigrees of Abrams and Kripke, we were in for something more original. Instead, it just seemed like they got together and came up with a ‘Hunger Games meets The Walking Dead minus zombies’ storyline.
    What really had me yelling at the screen was the stupid idea that Eposito would just leave Charlie’s dad to die on the ground instead of taking him, along with his son, especially after his speech about how he’ traveled the filthy earth, left his wife and his bed, etc. to find him’. Of course, I realize that would have meant he couldn’t have given Charlie his deathbed speech to set up her assignment to find his brother, but it still just seemed a bit contrived to me.
    On the positive side, the casting is good (except for the British stepmum – not a fan). I’m hoping they bring back Elizabeth Mitchell sooner rather than later, or else I’m pulling the plug on this one.

    • Dalek says:

      Enough with the immediate aftermath of an apocalypse scenario! Atleast Revolution doesn’t look like its rehashing the same old things! Its actually showing us the future, after all the tragic stuff and rebuilding has been done to a certain degree. I’m excited for that!

  14. teatime says:

    I enjoyed it. I am encouraged. A lot of great series need a few weeks for all the characters to gel. That is what this felt like to me. Like it has good bones.
    I see comments that the post-apocalyptic theme is not new and some of the specifics are similar to previous shows. That is fine. It is a genre.

  15. gazza says:

    heh, I think most people are missing the brillance of this show, clearly it has been designed to support a “spot the plot flaw” drinking game.

    I think the technical plot flaws have been covered pretty well, lets talk about how most of the characters on the show are idiots…lets start with dear old dad who clearly knew the blackout was coming (and since he didn’t need to spell out what he was talking about for his wife, must have known reasonable well in advance) but didn’t seem overly prepared as he was downloading his magic amulet program at the last possible sec and was concerned with filling the sinks with water.

    Also he seemed to know people were after him but kept using his real name…and when the militia showed up and said “hey, do you know the guy we are looking for” he went “yip, that would be me”….idiot.

    and our three travellers, despite making a big deal out of how dangerous it was out there (and one being paranoid enough to carry poisoned brandy), decide to all go to sleep in a old plane at once…without setting up a watch system to warn of approaching threats….idiots.

    Then the uncle that has successfully hidden himself for years from his old mate turned warlord exposes his identity in front of an entire bar full of people…simply because some people drop family names….because Monroe would never think to send people out armed with some false information (and yes, he would know what Miles brother and neice’s names were…they were old friends after all). Idiot.

  16. Jeff Pollard says:

    Stupid Show,

    My first question from week one is why does not anyone have Steam Engines?

    Say the Electrical Magnetic effect of turning a Magnet through a wire is somehow disabled, which is run by STEAM ENGINES in 99% of all Electricity Production upon the Earth, all Oil, Coal, Gas, Nuclear Power Plants ARE STEAM ENGINES,

    Would not Actual Steam Engines themselves be brought to the task of being an Engine?

    Heck, we just set a Nuclear Steam Engine down upon the surface of Mars.

    No Steam Engines.

    Not a single Electrical part in a Steam Engine, although 99% of all electrical energy is produced by steam in as I said Gas, Coal, Oil, Nuclear, and many Solar Power plants,

    Even a Nuclear Power Plant on Mars in the latest rover is a STEAM ENGINE.

    The Nuclear heats the water to Steam which turns a turbine which creates Electricity.

    Or without Electricity creates POWER,

    as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron arms and turning
    the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon and to weave the
    most delicate lace.

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