Top five TV picks of the week: Power to the underdogs

Check out the five shows that will keep couch potatoes glued to their screens over the coming week.

Survival isn't easy in the post-apocalyptic world of Revolution. Photo / Supplied
Survival isn't easy in the post-apocalyptic world of Revolution. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: Revolution

What would the world do if every electronic-powered device went out permanently? Would it be ultimate freedom or ultimate disaster?

That's exactly what producers JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) set out to explore in Revolution, Hollywood's latest attempt at a post-apocalyptic television epic following the likes of The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, and Jericho.

Abrams describes his version as "an epic romantic family quest" about a band of survivors in the American Midwest.

"When the power goes out the structure of society would shift enormously," Abrams says.

"The people who are in control are more likely to fall by the wayside and not know how to handle anything.

"The have-nots will know how to live in that world and will become the most powerful."

For the most part, Revolution avoids immediately explaining how or why the world went black or how people survived the initial fallout without lights, electricity and cellphones. But the opening episode, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) does show the immediate effects of the electrical doomsday, including planes falling from the sky and freeways cluttered with unmoving vehicles.

Fifteen years later, it seems that people are getting along in this new self-sufficient world in inventive ways.

They've turned their cars into herb planters, are growing crops, and - in shades of The Hunger Games - hunting with bows and arrows.

It's not all a post-electronic new Eden, though, as some have gathered into militias wanting to declare their own nationhood.

A violent encounter with one band of para-militaries forces young Charlie Matheson (Canadian newcomer Tracy Spiridakos) on a cross-country quest to Chicago to find her Uncle Miles to help rescue her younger brother, Danny.

Among the recognisable faces in the Revolution cast are Billy Burke (Twilight), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Aussie actor David Lyons (ER, Sea Patrol) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V).

The initial instalments of the 22-episode first series received generally positive reviews from US critics.

Said the New York Times: "Ambitious set-ups like this don't always hold up, but Revolution has the potential to be a more disciplined Lost - not necessarily more plausible but with any luck less preposterous and pretentious."

And quipped USA Today: "The less you think about Revolution the more apt you are to like it."

When: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9.30pm
Where: TV2
What: Surviving a world without wi-fi, and worse

Doco pick: Wildest India

The India the world sees most of features jam-packed commuter trains with people riding on the roof and hanging out of doorways, the sprawling slums of Delhi and Mumbai, or the glam of Bollywood films.

This new documentary series focuses on India's wildlife, the country's many secret locations, and the contrast of vibrant colours against beautifully barren landscapes. In the first episode, the secrets of the Thar Desert - a vast and inhospitable area covering 200,000sq km - are uncovered.

The combination of heat, brutal winds and drought has earned it the tag "the region of death", but in fact it has become the most crowded desert in the world.

When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: TV One
What: A walk on India's wild side Finale pick

Finale pick: Doctor Who

It's not really the end of the seventh season of Doctor Who - there's still a Christmas special to come and another eight episodes due in the New Year.

But tonight's fifth episode, titled The Angels Take Manhattan, is one of those pivotal Who moments with a farewell to the Timelord's most recent sidekicks, Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Karen Gillan, who has played Pond for two years, has warned fans to expect tears as she and her on-screen hubby, Rory (Arthur Darvill), finally depart.

The episode is set in New York where the statues have come to life. It also marks another return of River Song (Alex Kingston), a character who, as fans know, was conceived on board the Tardis by Amy and Rory.

When: Thursday, 8.35pm
Where: Prime
What: Farewell companions

Crime pick: Dexter

It's the seventh and penultimate season for Dexter, the vigilante serial killer whose many work-life balance issues have finally come to a head with his detective sister, Deb, catching him in the act at the cliffhanger end of season six.

The fact that Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) now knows what her brother (Michael C. Hall) does in his time away from the office - killing the killers that Miami Metro Homicide have failed to catch - should give this season a different dynamic as she wrestles with what exposing the truth about her brother will do to her career and to the entire police department. Meanwhile, Dexter is still following his instincts, which soon has him on the trail of a notorious Ukrainian mob guy.

When: Wednesday, 8.30pm
Where: Soho
What: What happens now that his sister knows?

Crime pick: Wallander

This is the third three-part series of the BBC adaptation of Henning Mankell's troubled Swedish detective stories starring Kenneth Branagh.

The three new Wallanders begin with An Event in Autumn, in which young Polish prostitutes are the target of a serial killer.

The episode opens with the detective finding comfort from Vanja Andersson (Saskia Reeves), the former lover of one of the murder victims in series two tale The Fifth Woman.

The two other adaptations in the series are The Dogs of Riga, which was partly filmed in Latvia, and Before the Frost, which centres on Wallander's relationship with his policewoman daughter, Linda.

When: Mondays, 8.30pm
Where: UKTV
What: Branagh's third season as Swedish detective

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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