When it comes to Revolution, the new much-hyped NBC end-of-the-world series that debuted this week, there’s only so much belief to be suspended.
Like a few other such shows in recent years (think, “Falling Skies, ” but with a weaker cast and no aliens), something really, really bad has happened, followed by small bands of survivors trying to cope. Couple that with the usual good vs. evil dynamics of human nature, militias, peace-loving people, scavengers, bad apples, intellectuals, and plenty of kids, and there’s the formula. Stephen King wrote the book for it, literally, in ‘The Stand’ but that didn’t translate well into the small screen, so now we have shows like “Revolution.”
In the first episode, there’s double-crossing, a hint of romance, some sorrow, moderate chase scenes and an interesting view of Wrigley Field covered in something nastier than ivy. But what’s missing is plenty – some characters who seem moderately sympathetic and a plot that might make some level of scientific sense. Guaranteed that however the mystery blackout that shook the entire world is explained, it won’t make any sense. Yes, all the lights went out and everything stopped working, but why would non-electric appliances fail too? Wouldn’t things powered by water or heat or batteries still work? Just one of the many, many distractions that will probably keep many viewers from caring about this series too much. I was so preoccupied by the questions about the blackout – and then how 15 years later, everyone seemed to be doing remarkably well (think ‘Amish paradise’ but with old VWs serving as vegetable gardens), that the show itself got lost.
The pattern with some of these shows is for them to quickly get better over the first few issues, like Flash Forward did, or they quickly get axed. Too soon to tell which kind of Revolution this will be.