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Review: Revolution "Pilot"
I can't explain how excited I was over the concept of this series, especially seeing how it is being developed by two of my favorite show runners. Revolution is created by Eric Kripke, who was the creative genius behind my favorite show Supernatural. It is also produced by JJ Abrams who helped create Lost. The show's pilot was also directed by director/actor Jon Faverau so it has some serious talent behind the scenes. Aside from the talent behind the camera, the show carries a very interesting premise of the world losing electricity with it possibly never coming back. It seems as if that some of Kripke's signature themes will still be intact with this series. Yes, it has a giant epic kind of scope in the background but it is deeply rooted in the theme of family. The show will also likely feature plenty of flashbacks, similarly to Lost. It is hard to judge the show thus far off of one episode, but with such terrific talent behind the camera I would frankly be stunned if it doesn't do well.
The plot is an interesting and ambitious plot for a television series. It starts off fast as we see Ben Matheson (Tim Guinee) comes home in a panic telling his wife, Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell), that she must pack up the essentials as it is happening. The two head into a panic as they try to round up what they can. Ben heads to his laptop and downloads files to his pendant. The computer begins to act up and eventually loses power but he is able to retrieve all of the files on to the pendant. Ben calls his brother Miles (Billy Burke) and explains to him that the electricity is about to go out and it will never come back on. Ben tries to tell him more but cannot as the electricity goes out. He heads aside outside on his deck to see the entire city lose power and airplanes fall from the sky. Miles is stranded on the road as every single car on the road loses electricity and he is left wondering what happened. The story then fast forwards fifteen years into the future when civilizations have fallen, governments have fallen everything we know and find comfort in today had been lost. Ben had set up a camp of sorts for people to live peacefully. His children, Charlie (Tracy Spirikados) and Danny (Graham Rogers), are hunting for food off in the nearby woods. Charlie, however, has a innate desire to see more of the world which gets her and Danny into trouble as he begins to have an asthma attack when they search an abandoned bus. Ben gives Charlie a speech about how she needs to stay close to stay safe, and keep the others safe. Which she marks up to her father being unable to trust others, but he has his reasons.
The campsite is visited by a group of men by horseback revealing that they belong to the Monroe Militia. Their leader, Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito), arrives looking for Miles Matheson and Ben Matheson. Ben before talking to Tom gives his pendant to Aaron (Zak Orth), explaining to him that he must keep it safe as he can no longer. Ben speaks with Tom and agrees to go with him, but before he leaves his son arrives holding a crossbow fixated on one of the Militia men. This leads to a sticky situation that gets Ben shot and killed. Charlie comes running to find that her father is bleeding out and dying but also Danny had been taken hostage. Ben explains to his daughter that she has to go to Chicago and find her uncle Miles. When her grief subsides, she decides to go after Miles and with him they would go in search of Danny. She plans to go alone but Maggie (Anna Lise Philips) joins her, despite the shaky ground between the two. Maggie was in a relationship of sorts with Ben since building the campsite. Also joining the group was Aaron as he continued to carry Ben's pendant. On the road to Chicago, Charlie crosses path with a strange man that she seems to grow a mutual attraction to named Nate (J.D. Pardo). Maggie explains to her that she cannot be so trusting of people. Upon reaching Chicago the group finds a bar and inside the bartender happens to be Miles. He refuses to talk to anyone but his actual family member, Charlie. She explains to him everything that had transpired but he says he would be unable to help as Ben did not get the chance to give him whatever crucial information that Monroe seems to want so desperately. He also explains that Monroe will go to extreme lengths for this information as it will likely give him electricity, which he could convert into tanks and weapons that would allow him to become the biggest power in the land. He refuses to help Charlie, but after a visit from the Militia, he changes his mind when Charlie and company helps him fend off the attack.
The premise alone holds plenty of potential, add in that it already has a terrific pedigree thanks to Kripke, Abrams and Faverau. However, the pilot itself felt a bit rushed. Albeit the show will feature flashbacks it was hard to jump from the electricity going out in one instant to the next where Ben had developed a nice development for his loved ones to live peacefully. I understand the reasoning behind jumping fifteen years into the future for the sake of the story, but I expect them to show flashbacks in a similar manner from the film "I Am Legend". I expect Charlie and to think back to when the electricity went out and in doing so it will slowly reveal what happened in those fifteen years. The bigger issue is the theme of family. It is a familiar theme for Kripke as Supernatural was such a success because of the chemistry between the two actors. With Charlie constantly asking Miles for his helping and saying "Because we are family." it comes off a bit forced.Especially with the acting ability of Spiridakos, that being said, I also expect her to get better as she settles into her part. The show will certainly benefit from having two solid actors in Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito. Burke fits perfectly in the role of Miles, the anti-hero with the military background and drinking issues. Esposito of course is familiar in the role of a calculating villain which is very similar to his role as Gus from Breaking Bad. All in all, the show was shot very well and had plenty of impressive visuals. On the flip side, pilots can be tough. In a pilot, you can expect the acting to be a little suspect and the story to be a little rough. The pilot did really well in keep the audience interested, now they have to keep it up.