Revolution Review: An Epic Case of First-World Problems
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I couldn't live without my cell phone” (and isn’t that all of us?), NBC’s new adventure drama, Revolution, will play upon those very fears. Set 15 years after a mysterious global blackout, it takes place in a world without electricity — no running water, government infrastructure, or even — gasp! — the internet.
The story involves a young woman, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), whose father may or may not know the reasons behind (and the solution to) the blackout. She sets out to solve the mystery of what her father knew, and to confront General Monroe (David Lyons), the tyrannical leader who's hungry for power (in every sense of the word). Charlie’s Uncle Miles (Billy Burke) joins her journey, but he has a secret past with Monroe, which is revealed in careful flashbacks. Miles comes across as salty, unshaven, and hard-drinking, but also as surprisingly sexy — especially when he’s got a sword in his hand.
In fact, every character must carry (and brandish) a weapon or two because Revolution’s world is a dangerous one. There’s very little food, militias patrol from town to town, while rogue bandits raid, rape, and terrorize innocent people. It’s a frightening dystopia with its own sets of rules, laws and social order, yet it also seems like a relatively plausible scenario if the world were to lose all forms of electricity — chaos would likely ensue, followed by the armed struggle to survive.
Heroine Charlie was only five years old when the blackout happened, so survival is practically all she knows. Perhaps trying to cash in on The Hunger Games success and appeal, there’s a good amount of Katniss in Charlie — with her crossbow, fierce determination and rebellious spirit, she’s one side braid away from being a full-blown JLaw knock-off. Her younger, asthmatic brother Danny (Graham Rogers) also borrows some mannerisms and styling from Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta, with the squalid setting really driving home the obvious comparison.
Revolution also borrows from LOST, as there are conspiracies and an overall mythology to the show full of symbols, talismans, and mysterious collaborators. Executive producer JJ Abrams, who helmed LOST as well, has his flair all over Revolution — from the bedraggled band of survivors to the surprise reveal that closes out the pilot episode. Unlike Abrams’s other work, there’s a good amount of sword-fighting and swash-buckling (rather than gun-play), which puts a new, old-timey spin on the kind of action scenes we typically see on TV.
For fans of The Hunger Games, LOST, The Walking Dead, even Pirates of the Caribbean, there’s a lot here to love. If you’re looking for romance or family drama, Revolution has that, too, but it’s first and foremost a post-apocalyptic adventure that plays with the big, terrifying question: “What if it all turned off?”
We hope for now it all stays on — if for nothing else than so we can keep watching.
Revolution premieres Monday, September 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.