To kick off the fall TV season, I thought I’d take a look at one new series, a couple returning favorites and what I’m most looking forward to watching next week.
“Revolution” (10 p.m. Monday, NBC) was one of two shows I was most looking forward to watching. (The other is “Last Resort,” premiering next Thursday.) It was created by Eric Kripke, the guy who also brought us the CW’s “Supernatural.” The pilot episode of “Revolution” began with the night of a big blackout: One brother (Ben, played by Tim Guinee) calls to warn another (Miles, played by Billy Burke) that the power is about to go out and never come back on again. Sure enough, it does. But it’s not just the lights: Cars stall on the freeway and planes fall from the sky.
Flash-forward 15 years. Cities are flooded and overgrown, cars are being used as planters, the weapons of choice are bows and swords (unless you’re a bad guy), and farming communities are threatened by militias. Early on, one such encounter goes very bad, and Ben’s daughter, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), hits the road to seek help from Uncle Miles in Chicago. Miles hasn’t been in the picture for years, but Charlie has been told he can help, and that he is really good at killing. (As you can imagine, this proves true pretty quickly.)
Because J.J. Abrams (“Lost”) is the executive producer, of course there is the occasional flashback. But, at least in the pilot, the flashbacks are brief, and serve only to illuminate the action, like at the end when we find out who the head baddie is, or when Charlie is reminded of gorging on melting ice cream the night of the Big Blackout.
“Revolution” faces a few hurdles: First, unlike a sitcom, it requires a commitment from its viewers – while an epic drama like “Lost” occasionally succeeds, far more, like “FlashForward” and “The Event,” fizzle. Another challenge: Viewers must suspend disbelief. I’m not talking about the big-picture stuff. I’m totally willing to buy into this alternate universe, and Miles’ almost superhuman fighting skills. But it’s the little things that got me. Example: In a rural area, Charlie’s brother, Danny, has an asthma attack … and the one person he stumbles upon had a son who had asthma, too. And she just happens to have a working inhaler 15 years after they stopped making medicine. And she may have known his father.
Is it worth watching anyway? Absolutely. As “Supernatural” fans know, one of Kripke’s strengths is dramatizing relationships. If Charlie, Miles and their friends/family can develop a relationship half as compelling as the one between brothers Sam and Dean on “Supernatural,” I’ll keep watching. Another thing that bodes well: “Revolution” did really well in the ratings, so it may be sticking around a while.
It’s rumored that Christina Aguilera may leave NBC’s “The Voice” after this season, the show’s third. But for now, she and fellow judges CeeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have been holding blind auditions for the past couple of weeks. When is the show on? It might be better to ask when it isn’t… There have been seven hours so far: the week it premiered, it was on three nights a week, including a two-hour episode. Last week, it was on two. If you want to check it out, this week, it’s on 8-10 p.m. Monday, with the blind auditions being stretched to 12 hours this season. I was afraid it might suffer with the overexposure. Still, I watched “X Factor” for the first time this week, and the highly publicized Demi Lovato-Britney Spears judging team wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the bromance between Shelton and Levine. “The Voice” will also be adding a new feature, allowing coaches to steal contestants from one another. Even if it clogs up my DVR for a while, I plan on watching every episode.
Another favorite that returned this week: “The Office” (9 p.m. Thursday, NBC). This season will be the comedy’s last. Mindy Kaling has already left to star in the upcoming “The Mindy Project,” and expect other changes this season as well. More importantly, there may be a chance to see more of Angela’s well-dressed cats. (Comstock in his denim pants wasn’t the only cat comically attired feline this week — on “Glee,” Brittany’s overweight cat, Lord Tubbington, sported a leather jacket and sunglasses… and inspired one of Brittany’s best lines: “I’m not speaking to you, I know you joined a gang.”)
What I’ll be watching:
I kinda telegraphed it above, didn’t I? I can’t wait to see “Last Resort” (8 p.m. Thursday, ABC) starring Andre Braugher as the captain of a doomed submarine. It faces the same challenges as “Revolution”: Can it sustain its high-concept premise, and will viewers make a commitment to another layered drama? But I am willing to give it a couple of weeks. As for returning shows, there are a few that I’m most looking forward to next week: “Castle” (10 p.m. Monday, ABC); “Modern Family” (9 p.m., Wednesday) and two new episodes of “New Girl” (8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday).