Revolution “Pilot” Review

With crime procedurals basically ruling primetime TV, I’m willing to try any new show that is willing to break the mold. Unfortunately, it seems that most networks (I’m looking at you Fox!) don’t put any faith in their new, fresh ideas and most of them get canceled before they can get their footing. So when Revolution came along, I was more than willing to give it a shot.

After watching the pilot, I can happily say, if NBC lets it, Revolution has tremendous potential at being the next big show out there.

The show takes place in a world, due to mysterious circumstances, where all power in the world goes out. Cars, phones, lights, and even planes stop working wherever they are. The first few minutes give us a look at what happens when the ‘Blackout’ occurs; and it truly is chilling. Seeing planes falling from the sky is shocking and the special effects are done very well, really selling the imagery.

The amazing visuals really help sell the show

Fast forward 15 years to a small town where we meet our heroine Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos). Now I won’t spoil anything, but if you’ve seen the trailer, then you basically know how the whole pilot plays out. So due to certain circumstances, Charlie is forced to leave her town with a doctor and former millionaire to track down her uncle Miles (Billy Burke) in Chicago.

The creators (Erik Kripke, J.J. Abrams, and Jon Favreau) of the show have repeatedly said that they want this show to be more of an adventure than intense post-apocalypse shows such as The Walking Dead and Falling Skies. With that said, the pilot didn’t shy away from violence or suspense in the least. Although there isn’t much blood, the fight scenes were intense and gritty, especially an epic sword fight at the end that I hope sets the tone for the rest of the show.

If this is meant to be an adventure story, it’s going to one heck of an adventure.

The show is filled with family themes, so you might be asking if it falls under the category of ‘family TV’. Well, the answer is yes and no. As stated above, there is a fair amount of violence that ranges from exciting sword fights reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, to a man gunning down several townspeople without a second thought.

The most violent scene in the pilot, however, is a rather short scene where our heroes are taken hostage by bandits. (SPOILERS AHEAD!!) This scene is actually rather frightening as one of the bandits tries to assault Charlie before being impaled with an arrow, while his associates spit up blood due to tainted liquor. So while it’s not explicit in any way, proceed with caution if you have little ones or are easily frightened.

As much as I enjoyed the pilot episode, I do have a few problems with it. For one, the characters, as likable as they are, aren’t anything we haven’t seen before, with a few exceptions, (Giancarlo Esposito as chilling villain Captain Neville is one). Now I know it’s just a pilot, so there’s plenty of time for these characters to grow and become their own. But still, I wouldn’t have minded if the characters were a little more original.

Captain Neville is one of the standouts in the show.

As the main protagonist, Charlie is a strong heroine who’s both cunning and clever.  Spiridakos plays her well, and she is really easy to root for. Now, it’s hard not to see similarities between Charlie and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games with her crossbow and attitude. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does sort of cast a shadow over Charlie as a character that I hope to see her get out of.

Joining Charlie is Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips), a resourceful doctor who is both interesting and smart, and Aaron (Zak Orth) as former Google executive. Aaron has some funny lines that fall a little flat, but once again, there’s plenty of time for him to grow.

And Billy Burke as Charlie’s uncle Miles is a character I’m instantly drawn to. Being a Marine before the blackout, Miles proves that he is smart and dangerous when need be. And his nonchalant attitude and almost sarcastic sense of humor is entertaining and makes us wonder how much he really is capable of.

The biggest character I have doubts about is JD Pardo’s Nate. I sense his character is there to keep suspense in the air as we don’t really know where his allegiances lie, but he seems to merely be a love interest for Charlie, and not a very interesting one either.

With so much talent involved in this show, I have little doubt that Revolution will become a great show. I just hope it gets enough viewers to make it last, because as of now, this show deserves it.

Revolution airs on Monday, September 17th at 10pm on NBC. But the pilot is available on Hulu now. I highly recommend you give it a try.  If anything, so we don’t get anymore procedurals.

8.0

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