TV review: Revolution's obvious lack of power

By Rebecca Barry Hill

15 comments
The laboured script saps the energy from Revolution. Photo / AP
The laboured script saps the energy from Revolution. Photo / AP

Part of the fun of science fiction is the chance to peek into the future. You know, the flash version with flying cars, retina scanners and talking vacuum cleaners.

JJ Abrams' black-out blockbuster, Revolution (Wednesdays, 9.30pm, TV2), does away with all of that cool technology. Good for the Facebook-haters. Not so good if you hate the dark.

The Alias and Lost creator - along with Supernatural creator/writer Eric Kripke and director Jon Favreau - has been wondering what would happen if all the power in the world went out. An outage affecting everything vaguely electronic.

That means lights, clearly, but also cars and planes which, naturally, hurtle askew from the sky. (For the nervous flyers among us, couldn't it have glided gently into land?)

Strangely, no brain synapses went haywire in the making of the show - other than the viewers' - but according to one theory on the internet, the stuff that crapped out during the Big Event was anything that threw a spark.

Did Revolution throw a spark? Unfortunately not in the pilot, much of which felt like a boring video game. If the power went out midway through watching it, I don't think I would've cared.

A schoolteacher provided much of the early exposition, that clumsy device used to impart the back story: after the likes of Google was rendered useless, the world became a primitive place, albeit one riddled with rival factions and no central governing body.

This simple way of life depends more on your ability to survive than your wi-fi connection. We met one of the ensemble, the crossbow-wielding Charlie Matheson (not to be confused with Homeland's Carrie Mathison or The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdine) whose ridiculously good hair is remarkable considering ironing tongs are obsolete.

Charlie went off on her first mission after the death of her dad, who looked young enough to be her boyfriend, and her brother was taken by militants (their leader played by the expertly villainous Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad).

All the formulaic TV journey boxes were ticked as Charlie and her stepmother and wimpy teacher friend went off to find her Uncle Miles, who apparently knows something about this black-out. She may also be on the verge of a romance with Nate, a member of the militia.

It should be a humdinger of a show but Revolution feels staid and pedestrian - so far anyway, and pilots are never easy as they have to cram so much in.

At least in Lost though, the characters were directly caught up in the mystery. If they didn't figure out where they were or what they were doing there, they could die, or at the least, have to hang out with Jack for the rest of their lives. In Revolution, while it's by no means utopia, life on Earth after the power fails doesn't look all that terrible. Okay, apart from the nasties with guns, at least you can grow herbs out of a car bonnet.

Maybe things will get better in the future but so far, the slow, deliberate script saps the show of electricity.

Charlie: "So what do we do now?"

Miles: "What do we do now, about what?"

"About Danny. How are we going to get Danny back?"

"I'm sorry. I didn't say I was going with you."

"What?"

Blah blah blah, at which point Miles refuses to come.

"You are going to help me get him back."

"Why's that?"

"Because we're family."

"Family?"

And so on. Evidence, perhaps, that the revolution should not have been televised.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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