Revolution – first season commentary

Who else has been watching Revolution? It’s the new post-apoc show on NBC, and it is awesome!

I’ll admit, I had my doubts during the first few episodes; it was a little cheesy and melodramatic, and it seemed like their pseudo-science would leave plot-holes to rival the fifth season of Doctor Who. However, the second half of season one puts all fears to rest and brilliantly networks the mysterious plotlines and the science behind the fiction. So if you don’t mind being patient and can enjoy the beginning for its visual appeal and effective suspense (while suspending some of your own disbelief), you may come to love it as I have. By now, I’d call it the best in science fiction since the third season of Battlestar. You should go watch it and boost their ratings so it doesn’t go the way of Terra Nova!

***Below you’ll find some more particular notes that contain no spoilers exactly, but which might give you more information than you want going into a new show.***


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So for a little bit of background, J.J. Abrams’ series is set in a potential future for the United States fifteen years after a global blackout. Unlike most EMP scenarios, in Revolution, the power stays out and cannot be reactivated, because–for some unknown reason–the laws of physics surrounding electric current have failed. (This is very hard for some people to accept initially, and I too was initially annoyed with the concept initially, but bear with me here.) In the fifteen years between then and episode one, the country has been divided, and portions of it are run by militias, tyrants, or general primitive brutality. The first season follows a rescue/revenge/reunion plot centering around a young woman who is, until the start of the series, totally oblivious to all of the dark secrets retained by nearly every member of her family, all of whom hold some piece to the puzzle of why the power went out, whether they know it or not. In each episode, the viewers receive a little bit more insight on the characters’ backstories and the conditions of the world, segued between epic action sequences and occasionally heart-wrenching tragedies, and the characters fight against time and pretty extreme odds to survive to build a better tomorrow.

Advice: Try not to get too bogged down in the inconsistencies. It takes until episode twelve for them to start addressing the big ones, but–trust me–the eventual reveals are awesome enough that you will be glad you waited.

Strengths: The show is a visual marvel. The cinematography is not only really effective for the moods and sequences, but it is clearly done with care and quality that many big-screen action films can’t claim. (Keep in mind that this is my opinion and feel free to form your own.) The action sequences are very well done; the fight choreography is totally realistic and literally breath-taking on many occasions. The suspense is handled well, and the last-second victories and defeats are believable. All of the characters are three-dimensional (but some are obviously deeper than others). The social-anarchy science-fiction forum allows the show to address a lot of really intriguing questions about power, technology, and human nature at its best and worst. My personal favorite, the show is not predictable–I’ve seriously Oh-my-god-ed out loud and rewatched certain scenes in the last few episodes to make sure that [‘wow’ moment] actually happened!

Weaknesses: There are some annoyingly campy and overblown exchanges, but that’s part of the genre. The writing is not particularly compelling in the first few episodes; it’s not bad, but it’s kind of bleh. Billy Burke is a great stunt actor, and his intense staredown could probably make a bull shit itself, but I think he has trouble breaking away from the teenage soap opera attitude. When I looked him up and found out that he was in Twilight, I wasn’t particularly surprised. Tracy Spiridakos, who plays the lead, is a lot less engaging than I’d want her to be. Once again, she’s not bad, but it’s hard to tell if there’s any feeling behind her eyes. (That being said, David Lyons, Giancarlo Esposito, and Elizabeth Mitchell do an amazing job in this series and really break away from their previous roles.)

Advisory: This show is gritty and brutal (moreso in the later episodes), but apparently really graphic violence and gore does not make something TVMA unless you are showing Kill-Bill-caliber blood fountains or feature a nipple in the following scene… Anyway, I don’t recommend it for young or squeamish audiences.

#series #postapoc #tv #Revolition #NBC #scifi #TracySpiridakos #BillyBurke #critique

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