TV Series Review
If the world's power was suddenly shut off by way of some giant breaker box in the sky, we'd all be bummed.
Take, for instance, this review. You would not be able to simply flip on your laptop or phone or whatever and pull these words up from the ether like you used to. Nor would I be able to use a computer to write them. First, I'd have to type the thing out on some sort of rusty manual typewriter (because, trust me, you don't want to try to read my handwriting), find an ancient hand-crank printing press in order to make a few million copies (humor me here) and then I'd have to walk to all of your houses and personally give you a copy.
Then, once you were done reading, you'd holler after me (as I trudge wearily to the next house) and say, "Hey! TVs don't even work anymore! What am I supposed to do with this!?"
So we can all be glad we don't live in the world of NBC's Revolution.
The setup for yet another freaky serial drama is pretty simple. The power's out, lots of people are dead and now the survivors must reboot civilization. And while Season 1 is largely about the power itself (What happened? Why? Can we get it back on?), Season 2 ventures deeper into the armed feuds and all-out wars that are the fall-out. And it's not a very pretty picture of what "civilization" will look like without electricity.
The world—or at least the part of it we can see here, the United States—has splintered into fiefdoms, and most of the countryside is filled with marauding militias or vengeful bandits. A cataclysmic nuclear attack on two splinter nations has winnowed the battlefield a bit, but there are still plenty of groups vying for power—most importantly, perhaps, the Patriots, a group that claims to represent the last remnants of the U.S. government. But there's doubt about its legitimacy and serious concerns about its methods, which are both barbarous and duplicitous.
This "simpler" world makes for a pretty convoluted ongoing plot. So much so that if I gave you a full rendition of what everybody's doing in this ensemble drama, it'd be a recitation so full of meanwhiles and therefores that I'd still be writing it next week … right about the time it was all outdated. Little remains constant other than the core characters: Charlie, a pretty teen girl who gets tougher and more calloused with each episode; Miles, her battle-hardened uncle; Rachel, Charlie's enigmatic mother; Tom Neville, a one-time accountant who's become one of the toughest hombres anywhere in this brave new world; and, of course, Sebastian Monroe himself—a one-time warlord who seems either on a road to redemption or damnation (depending on the episode).
The brainchild of Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams (the latter the mind behind Lost, Fringe and Alias), Revolution has both a daunting pedigree (even Iron Man's Jon Favreau has shown up in the credits) and high storytelling aspirations—turning itself into a broadcast-TV version of AMC's The Walking Dead (without all the zombies). This isn't a throwaway piece of sci-fi escapism. This power-outage drama is predicated on powerful themes: family and country, grace and truth, what should be done and what must be done. Civilization may be half dead, but moral ambiguity is alive and well, the world of Revolution perpetually poised on a knife's edge, with deep, bloody wounds lacerating its face as it threatens to teeter into Lord of the Flies territory. The show also nods, at times, to more current events, suggesting, perhaps, that our own society differs from this post-apocalyptic one by just a few degrees.
As mentioned, though, the series can turn quite violent for an NBC program, with folks getting graphically cut down by way of blade, crossbow bolt or bullet. We see sprays of blood and gaping wounds; we often hear that squishy wet sound of a knife skewering flesh. Language can be harsh too. And sexual scenes, innuendo and tawdry talk can surface.
There have been times in Revolution's run where the power has come on, briefly or partially. But despite this, and despite some of the profitable messages in play, its world to be growing ever darker.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Billy Burke as Miles Matheson; Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson; Giancarlo Esposito as Tom Neville; Zak Orth as Aaron Pittman; David Lyons as Sebastian 'Bass' Monroe; JD Pardo as Jason Neville; Elizabeth Mitchell as Rachel Matheson; Graham Rogers as Danny; Maria Howell as Grace; Daniella Alonso as Nora; Shane Callahan as Jimmy
Paul Asay Paul Asay