Pop Culture

Do I Want To Be a Part Of This REVOLUTION?


I deal with TV shows the same way I deal with friends: I don’t have many, and the ones I have get my undying loyalty. I thought Revolution might be a new addition to my life because J.J. Abrams produced it. While I couldn’t get into Lost–I don’t like a large cast on TV any more than I do in my own life, apparently–I adored Alias, and spent the past summer binging on Fringe.

The first few minutes of the pilot of Revolution shows the power shutting off all around the world, which is pretty cool-looking the way big disasters often are. We meet a family: a mom, dad, a girl named Charlie, and a boy named Danny. Fast-forward to the kids as young adults; mom is dead. Taking in this opening, plus the efficient if somewhat heavy-handed exposition, I think, Huh, this kind of reminds me of the pilot of Supernatural. Right then, Eric Kripke’s name flashes on the screen as the creator, and I get really excited.

Although we’re told millions of people died after the blackout, I’m still a little freaked out at how everyone is fishing, bow hunting, subsistence farming, folk-medicine-brewing, and riding horses like a boss. Only the former Google exec looks at all rough around the edges. Why does Charlie have such a cute jacket? Why does she look like she could be in a shampoo commercial?

After her dad gets shot dead by a militia guy, Danny gets abducted by his troop. Charlie, her dad’s girlfriend Maggie, and Aaron the Google guy go on a quest to find Charlie’s uncle so he can help find Danny. I learn that Charlie is brave, tough, loyal, earnest, and honestly, kind of a drag. Her “you’re not my mom” exchange with Maggie is just as boring as you would expect.

Maggie, who is British for some reason, has a good scene in which she foils attackers and would-be rapists by getting them to drink poisoned hooch. If there’s one thing I like to see, it’s a rapey dudes sputtering and dropping dead.

Our three adventurers here are white, and non-white actors have some of the supporting roles in the episode as the meanypants militia guy (Giancarlo Esposito), the a former doctor who plays Good Samaritan to Danny, and Nate, a militia kid who seems destined for more screen time as Charlie’s love interest.

Here’s Grace, the former doctor. Did I mention she has a computer she’s able to power up? What’s up with that, huh?

My geek heart compels me to give Revolution one more chance. Grace intrigues me, and maybe Charlie will grow on me, I think. After all, although I liked Olivia Dunham pretty well from the first, it took several episodes of Fringe to reveal that she was quite messed up in interesting ways.

In the beginning of the second episode we have another flashback to a wee Charlie being told to look out for her younger brother, bolstering her status as a thoroughly humorless Dean Winchester. I forgot to mention that our crew did find Charlie’s uncle Miles.

The militia tramples justice and freedom and such.The uncle leaves to go find a lady named Nora, who’s “good at blowing stuff up.” In the middle of the night, Charlie takes off after him, and Nate follows her but Charlie is tricksy and foils him. She catches up with her uncle and, in a painfully stilted scene, professes how she’s responsible for her brother.

Aaron has a magic pendant and he tells Maggie how he’s supposed to find Grace and give it to her. Can we just lose Charlie and Danny altogether and get to Grace?

Charlie and her uncle find Nora, played by the drop-dead gorgeous Danielle Alonso. Clearly after the blackout, some survival-of-the-hottest principle went into effect. The uncle busts her free from a chain gang, which she does not appreciate because she got arrested on purpose so she could steal a rifle from a guard. It seems like there might be easier ways to do this, but OK. Charlie, who balked at her uncle killing an enemy in the beginning, is willing to shoot people to help free the prisoners, and this goes pretty well.

Finally we get to Grace, and so do some bad guys. It’s a very short scene and disappointing. We learn that Charlie’s mom is still alive. Usually I love it when a character thinks someone is dead and she’s really not. It’s one of my favorite stories! Sadly, in this episode, I didn’t even care.

Every scene in Revolution carries the same deadening seriousness. They cover a lot of ground quickly, and maybe that’s part of the reason that the characters are so flat. The show is called Revolution because it’s going to tell a story about a resistance movement against the militias. In order to care about that, I have to care about the people first, and it’s just not happening for me.

I tried, Eric and J.J. I really did. Hey, I’ve got some good show ideas for you, though! Call me!

By Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

10 replies on “Do I Want To Be a Part Of This REVOLUTION?”

I’m still watching this, mostly because I adore Billy  Burke but also because I’d like to know what the hell is going on.  I never watched Lost, though, so I have nothing to compare it with.

Charlie is beyond irritating but I like Maggie, especially after her explanation of the iPhone she still has. That little scene hurt my mother’s heart.

And, Billy Burke. Win!

I’m really sad that it’s not been good so far.  The whole premise is one of my favorites-modern human types having to survive without the technology we’ve been raised with.  I’m really fascinated by post-apocalyptic stories, stories of wilderness survival, etc.  What I really want from this show that I’m not getting is the immediate aftermath.  How do we get from the initial blackout to fifteen years later?  This is the concept that fascinates me, and I don’t think I have the patience to sit through the rest of the 15-years-later dreck that has made up the majority of the first two episodes.  I’ll probably give episode three a chance, but…my hopes are pretty much dashed at this point.

Charlie seems far to ingenuous and naive to exist in this supposed future world ruled by a cruel despot and his merciless militia.  I do not believe her, and I don’t really care about her or her brother or her uncle.  The google guy and dead dad’s girlfriend, I’m a little more interested in.  Grace, too.  But it’s not going to be enough interest to get me through another episode as lackluster as the first two.

Ugh! I know! I actually *just* finished watching the second episode on Hulu a little while ago. The characters are flat, the dialogue is dull as dishwater and utterly insipid, and the storylines are so old, contrived, and hokey (oh noes! Danny’s got asthma in a post-inhaler world!)… I not only take issue with most of Charlie’s lines, but various other character’s responses to her. (“Because we’re family!” – yeah, who you’ve never met, has no involvement in anything about you, and who you’re continually endangering more and more in downright idiotic ways. AND YET! Everyone goes along with it.) Just: ugh.

It seemed like it could have been a good premise for a show, but after two episodes I kept wondering why the hell I was still watching it when I seem to sneer at every single character/line/scene in it.

I was surprised at how soon they revealed the Mom was alive. I figured they’d string that out for a while longer.

Maggie the medicine woman is the only character I like so far — that poison whiskey remains my favorite scene out of the first two episodes.

I haven’t been able to get past the glaring newness of so many things. Like the fashionable boots. Or the well tailored leather jacket. Or last night, when I couldn’t stop staring at Aaron’s glasses and wondering how he kept them from getting scratched for twenty years.

Also, where are the motorcycles? If I’ve learned anything from watching movies, it’s that post apocalyptic wastelands always have motorcycles.

I assume if cars were struck down, so were the motorcycles (even though there are totally ones with no-electric starts). Personally, I would have a tricked out bicycle.

Also: the newness and cleanliness of everyone’s clothing! I can’t keep a pair of jeans intact for more than a couple years and I work outside only half of the year. How have so many pants and shirts lasted fifteen??

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