Reviews: Revolution

One of the best thrill rides around.

Ever since it was first announced, RVN has received more than a substantial Hatedom, with said anti-fen being particularly prone to criticizing its premise, its writing, its acting, etc. Here I present counter-points to those arguments:

  • Premise. Power goes out and can't turn back on, and how it affects the human race as a result. Excellent mind-food for sci-fi lovers. People say it is scientifically unfeasible, but then it's called science fiction for a reason.
  • Writing. When Eric Kripke writes things, they're actually good. It's not quite as good as, say, Last Resort, but by no means is it unwatchable dreck. All the characters are very well-characterized (my personal favorite being Aaron). The one flaw I will accept is the fact that some bright-spark writer insisted on pulling...something...way too early. Like, episode 4 early. (I won't spoil the surprise, but let's just say it would have been better to do this in the season finale.)
  • Acting. For some reason, belittling the acting skills of this show's stars (but especially young actors Tracy Spiridakos and Graham Rogers) is about as fashionable as hating on Nickelback. Even on this very wiki, the two Matheson siblings are consistently accused of Dull Surprise (which does happen, yes, but not as frequently as you would think), and Danny in particular is called "flat-lined" (or something similar.) Spiridakos and Rogers, while very understated, are far better actors than most people give them credit for. At least they aren't excessively hammy or narm-tastic like many actors on popular shows (I'm looking at you, cast of Mad Men!)

And besides, when the show is created by Eric Kripke and produced by Jon Favreau and JJ Abrams (plus the rest of the Bad Robot production posse), well, you really can't go wrong here.

RVN goes highly recommended, and as long as you remember to lose yourself in the action and conspiracy (while still paying attention to anything and everything), no doubt it'll become one of your favorites.

Aggressively Mediocre

Stuff like Revolution is the reason genre TV is in such a sorry state right now. Like George Steinbrenner's Yankees, the showrunners have gathered every hot genre actor from the past 5 years, expecting magic to happen. And yet those actors are relegated to background roles, or villains with vaguely-defined motivations. Meanwhile, the core cast was hired straight off the catwalk, as per usual for network TV. Already, this meant trouble. It meant that the network wasn't aiming for telling a story: just beautiful people throwing spats. This is a big problem with NBC's programming in general, but it was keenly felt here.

Enough has been written abut JJ Abrams already that I don't need to bang on about it. He's a skillful imitator, but inside beats the heart of a CEO. Kripke is something else again. He cannot stand up to the network or to Abrams, and consequently his resume is building up quite a collection of turkeys. Supernatural was like striking gold: you have a go-anywhere premise, no particular destination, and fanservice; you're set. Revolution and Heroes were conceived as big epics, and those types of stories are really suited for cable.

It's kind of lamentable. Didn't we do this twenty years ago? Everything on TV was suddenly styling itself to resemble Twin Peaks. Now, we're getting the last gasp of the Lost imitators. ..Well, it would be if JJ Abrams weren't bankrolling it. Don't fix what ain't broke, I guess. Anyway, enough psychoanalysis: After watching Revolution, I came away with a new appreciation for The Postman. Really. At least that movie had a decent first act. At least the premise didn't switch wildly. At least the acting was passable. At least I had a grasp on the characters and their motivations. At least there weren't any bullshit fake outs, red herrings, dangling plots threads, or soap melodrama. At least the villain didn't look like a Calvin Klein model. At least there was some suspense. At least the heroes weren't as despicable as the forces of evil. You get the idea.