POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
Monday night. It is and always will be a football night for me, and even more so as I was expecting a pretty good showdown between the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons at the most recent offering. Sadly to say, it didn’t even take to the usual halftime switcharoo as I couldn’t decide which was worse: the crappy play by both teams, or Jon Gruden’s constant bitching about replacement referees. I had no plans to tune into the premiere episode of NBC’s Revolution, but I couldn’t stand the alternative.
One truly does have to admire the tenacity of NBC. After several attempts at sci-fi/adventure the peacock network has dumped a ridiculous amount of money promoting this latest venture, and are quietly hoping they can strike television gold with something other than a plain vanilla Law and Order spinoff. Enter, Revolution, brought to us by most notably, J.J. Abrams (Lost) and the first episode was directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Cowboys vs. Aliens).
A post apocalyptic view of the world centering on one family in particular, Revolution takes place in the now powerless area around Chicago. Being I know just a bit about this neck of the woods, I was equally excited to see how just how the stomping grounds looked in the future. Wrigley Field was overrun with vegetation and falling apart, not a good sign, since that’s what it pretty much looks like on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery was decent enough, and it looked like every other post-apocalyptic setting viewers have seen before. That was also the problem. Upon arrival at the first commercial break, I could have sworn I’d tuned into 1997’s The Postman, which for some unknown reason, TNT has listed as “the new classics”.
Since the fall of all things powered, society has crumbled into small pockets and are much like fiefs of the middle ages, with warlords ruling the land. The main heroes of the story are the Matheson family, who of course, butt heads with the Monroe Militia, the evil rulers of the tale. Obviously, since executive producer Abrams is the driving force behind Lost, there are many similarities, but truly lack the special ingredients Lost had. Revolution‘s cast is clearly missing charisma and chemistry. This became quite evident when young Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) went to track down her uncle Miles (Billy Burke). The rag-tag band formed by the Mathesons and pals tries to recapture some of the magic and flow of Abrams’ previous gang, but unfortunately is just pure fizzle. I won’t even touch on the horrific fight scene where Miles battles around 15 of the militia in a ridiculous winner takes all sword fight.
Which brings me to my next massive problem…in a city where around 30 people a day are killed by guns, where have they all gone? Swords? Really? Sure, 15 years have passed since the “blackout”, but I’d think more than just a few land grabbers would hold all the firepower. This fact wasn’t lost on the Twitter crowd, and viewers tweeted mostly about how the characters were the cleanest cast of any tragic future setting. Google is gone, but showers are still in abundance, which is good news for the people at Herbal Essences. These and other questions may be addressed in future episodes, if the series makes it past the three that are ready to be aired.
Really, I expected more from Jon Favreau and after witnessing the first episode, I’m hoping maybe he was the problem. One thing is for certain…post apocalyptic entertainment has a fickle crowd, and I’m not sure this will be a welcomed addition. The landscape is littered with movies such as The Road and The Book of Eli, which also boast of nice scenery and little plot. NBC may learn sooner rather than later, however, that overgrowth, crossbows and unkempt subdivisions is not necessarily a series make.
I won’t say I told you so when the eventual march towards restoring the country’s power is driven by the need to update the main character’s Facebook status, which may just be the plot of episode three. Looks like it’s back to Monday Night Football, or maybe even a Charmed rerun at this point.