September 19, 2012
Review: 'Revolution' Series Premier
After seeing the previews for the series premier of 'Revolution', a futuristic drama about what happens after some unknown force takes out everything electrical- or battery-powered on the planet, I was somewhat intrigued (plus it sort of falls into a speculative genre) so I decided to watch it when it premiered Monday night.
Early on, while we were getting the backstory, there were some hair-raising shots of airliners falling out of the sky, cars coming to a halt on the interstate and their lights going dark, and a scene from a satellite's perspective of the planet going dark as cities shut down. That whole idea is very thought-provoking, considering the way most people in our culture depend on electronics of one form or another for everything. What would happen if, for whatever mysterious reason, those devices suddenly stopped working?
Unfortunately, in spite of the intriguing premise, I have to say I was underwhelmed with the show as a whole, the main reason being its predictability.
The main character Charlotte (or 'Charlie') watches her father die while her brother is dragged off by the henchmen of whatever evil regime has clawed its way into power. Her dying father sends her on a quest to find her uncle, who can help get her brother back. So Charlie and her (almost)stepmother set off towards the ruins of Chicago, along with a geeky friend. What she doesn't know is that before his death, her father passed a device to said geeky friend and asked him to keep it safe - a device that could restore power to the world.
Along the way Charlie bumps into a stranger - a tall, dark, and handsome one - who later reappears out of nowhere just in time to save her and her companions from the marauders attacking them. Since they're in his debt, they allow him to travel with them. Charlie's almost-stepmother does use the incident with the marauders to prove herself smart and cool-headed, by the way, taking out half of the bad guys with poisoned whiskey before tall-dark-and-handsome ever shows up.
They make it to Chicago, which is now a trashed, crime-ridden wreck, and walk into what used to be a very high-end hotel. Charlie asks the man behind the bar if he might know someone named Miles Matheson. After a few minutes of cryptic denials on the barkeeper's part and a lot of tearful insistence on Charlie's, the man admits that he is Miles Matheson. Once that's revealed, tall-dark-and-handsome turns out to be working for the evil regime and runs off to inform them of Miles' whereabouts. Miles runs Charlie off, regime soldiers show up to arrest him, he single-handedly takes out at least fifteen people (in spite of all, I will give credit for some pretty good fight scenes), and what he misses, Charlie reappears to finish off for him. When one soldier gets Charlie cornered, tall-dark-and-handsome mysteriously appears again to save her life, then disappears again. Charlie doesn't tell anyone, though, and since Miles now owes her his life, he agrees to help her.
Meanwhile Charlie's captured brother has escaped, but collapsed in the woods from an asthma attack. He wakes up in the house of a woman who happens to have inhalers on hand from her deceased son's asthma. Soldiers show up and re-arrest him, the woman goes into a 'secret' room (barricaded by no less than three heavy-duty locks on the door - like that's not suspicious) and plugs in a device exactly like the one Charlie's father gave his friend. She plugs it in, the lights in the room come on, and she uses a computer to send a cryptic message to some unknown person somewhere. End of episode.
Usually I can enjoy a book or movie or show in spite of some predictability or lack of originality, but this one really failed to grab me. Everything was just way too easy. When they arrive in Chicago, the first person they meet in the first building they walk into happens to be the person they're looking for. The brother's escape from the soldiers was completely cliche. And there were way too many other elements that 'just happened' to fall into place just perfectly.
Another issue I had was with the wardrobe. Half the time I wasn't sure if the characters were supposed to look like they were wearing handmade clothes, or if they were dressing in rustic-style clothes 'just because'. And I'm pretty sure that the unmistakeably machine-manufactured clothes I saw many characters wearing wouldn't have survived fifteen years - at the very least, not in that kind of condition. And I'm sorry, I know the TV costume people have to make the main character girl look all rugged and sexy and woodsy and all that... but there is no way in the world that anyone with a brain would set off on a long trek wearing fitted leather pants. Just sayin'.
In all fairness, I should say that my brothers - both of whom are intelligent adults (more or less : P ) - both thought the plot was exciting and intriguing, and they're both dying to know what happens next. So if you see it, you may like it. Personally, I just found it cliche, unoriginal, and lacking that 'grab' factor.
Did you watch the Revolution premier? If so, what were your thoughts?