Revolution (NBC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
A preview of NBC’s new TV series ‘Revolution’ appeared online Tuesday the 4th of September. Starring amongst others are Billy Burke (‘Twilight’), Tracy Spiridakos (‘Majority Rules!’), David Lyons (‘Sea Patrol’), Graham Rogers and Giancarlo Esposito (‘Once Upon a Time’). ‘Revolution’ tells the story of a world without electricity, and those who try to restore the electricity so they can use it to take control of the world. ‘Revolution’ will air Mondays at 10/9c on NBC, starting September 17th.
The series begins with a man, Ben (Tim Guinee, ‘The Good Wife’), coming home in a frenzy, calling his brother Miles (Burke) and telling him “It's all going to turn off and never turn back on again”. Mere seconds later, right after Ben has managed to download some files to a very futuristic looking USB-stick, all electrical appliances blackout. TVs die, cars stop working, lights fade out and planes crash down from the skies. Somehow, everything electrical has stopped working. For seemingly no reason at all.
Fifteen years later, Ben and his two children, Charlie (Spiridakos) and Danny (Rogers), are living in a small town. Ben’s wife has died and he has a new love in his life. Life is primitive, but people seem content enough. Who wouldn’t be? What’s not to like about growing vegetables under the hood of your car?
The quiet life is disturbed however, when a group of men from the ‘militia’ enter the town. They have come for Ben and his brother Miles. Ben tells them he doesn’t know where Miles is, and that he’s not planning on coming with them. What the men don’t know is that Ben gave his futuristic USB stick to his friend Aaron so the militia can’t take it. Captain Tom Neville (Esposito), Captain of the militia, threatens to hurt Ben’s children however, so Ben gives in. Danny has other plans though. He pulls out a crossbow and points it at Neville, telling him to let his father go. A struggle follows, and Ben gets shot, as well as a lot of other townspeople and militiamen. The militia captures Danny and takes off, leaving Ben to die.
Charlie, who wasn’t in the town when the militia came, hears the shots and comes running back, only to find her dying father. He tells her that they have taken Danny, and that she needs to find her uncle Miles in Chicago. He can help her get Danny back. Charlie packs up her things and together with her stepmother and Ben’s friend Aaron she starts her journey for Chicago.
On the way, they meet a young man called Nate (J.D. Pardo, ‘90210’). When they spend the night in a plane, a group of robbers comes along and they try to rape Charlie, but Nate saves her. After this, he accompanies them to Chicago.
They find Miles in an improvised bar in Chicago. Charlie explains to him what has happened, but Miles refuses to help her. He tells her that Danny is being used as bait to lure him out. When Charlie asks him why the militia wants him, Miles simply says that their leader, Monroe (Lyons), probably thinks Ben has told him about why the power went out. Monroe is trying to get the power back, it seems, so he can take control of the state and perhaps even the country. Charlie gives Miles an emotional speech on how she's lost everyone and he has to help her because he's family, but Miles simply says: “I don't even know you.”
When Charlie goes back to her company, mad and disappointed, Nate confronts Miles. Miles then reveals Nate’s M-mark, showing that he is actually a member of Monroe’s militia. Miles sends Charlie and her friends away and waits for the inevitable; the militia showing up to take him. What follows is an epic fighting scene in which Miles shows his ninja fighting skills by taking out a dozen men on his own, also revealing his nerves of steel (who would just calmly walk away when they're being shot at?).
Charlie and company decided not to listen to Miles when he sent them away, and help him by taking out a few men as well. Nate shows that he may be a liar, but he also likes Charlie enough to save her from his allies before he flees. This gives the pretty obvious suggestion that there will be some sort of complicated romance between them somewhere in the future. In the aftermath, Miles decides he might as well go with Charlie, seeing as how he can't stay where he is now, because the militia knows about his location. A flashback reveals that Miles knew Monroe before the blackout and was perhaps his friend, or at least his colleague.
In the meantime, Danny hasn’t been the passive prisoner the militia would have liked him to be. In fact, he loosened his cuffs, hit a guard on the head and ran for a nearby farm only to collapse from an asthma attack. You’d think someone who gets asthma attacks from breathing in dust would know better than to run into a field of blooming flowers and crops… The owner of the farm, a woman with a shotgun and a healthy dose of suspicion, gives him an inhaler and lets him sleep.
Neville and his men show up at the farm however, and even though the woman starts out lying for Danny, she quickly realizes this is a futile attempt and lets the men in. They take Danny and leave. The woman goes to her attic and shows that she as well has a weird futuristic USB stick, and electricity. She converses with someone through a computer about the militia being there but not finding ‘it’, which I can only assume would be the USB stick. The episode ends with the unknown person on the other end of the connection asking how they will continue from hereon out.
In this series you don’t just get the point of view from those seeking the kidnapped person, but also the point of view from the kidnapped person himself. It’s a nice addition to the story, and gives for some more clarity on the situation. It is evident that the writers wanted drama to be ever present in this series, and although they have accomplished that, Ben’s deaths may have been a bit too much. It's somewhat early in the show for such an emotional death; I don't really feel connected to the main characters enough to care. Which is a shame, because it could have been a real tearjerker if they had just taken some time to let us get to know and love Ben.
Contrary to what I thought when I saw the trailer, they have in fact done a good job with describing the blackout. Although I still do not know how and why the electricity went out, and I’m guessing that’ll at least take a full season, I’m not annoyed by inconsistencies so far. All in all this is a nice spin on the ‘post-apocalyptic society’ genre. For now, I like how they focus more on the struggle of a young girl trying to get her brother back than they do on the black out. Leaving the black out a side story, at least for the time being, will probably extend the lifespan of this series, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this series.
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