I’m kinda tired of the bleak post-apocalyptic wastelands that frame so many movies and games and TV shows. If there’s going to be a cataclysmic world-ending event, must everything be leveled? Must everything be completely hopeless? Well, after Revolution’s cataclysmic, world-ending event, people didn’t nuke each other off the face of the planet, they devolved into fiefdoms lined with vicious bandits and encroached on by the militiamen of new primitive nations. It’s a fantastic recipe for a crazy new Big Network sci-fi drama.
Charlie Matheson races home and informs his family that ‘It’s Happening’ and after a phone call to his brother on the highway, soon everything electronic starts to die. Cell phones and cars fizzle out and planes stop all forward momentum and fall belly down, right into ground. Straight down. Yes, somehow planes lose all of their physics-based properties when they lose power. And levees immediately break and flood low-lying lands. And everything rots quickly. But Revolution doesn’t linger on the ‘why’s because it spends its time living in this lavish new universe its built. It’s far more Fallout than Fallout 3. It’s far more Rage than The Book of Eli. There’s color and life here and that’s an important element working in Revolution’s favor.
Fifteen years after The Event, Charlie is sought by General Monroe, through the cool and charismatic Captain Neville, and killed. He charges his daughter and some hang-alongs to venture toward Chicago to find his brother, Miles, who turns out to be some kind of badass, while giving his nerdy friend (and ex-Googler) a mystical USB key that also works as some kind of power source. The episode’s biggest problem is that it’s simply not long enough. While a show like Terra Nova made a completely interesting concept mundane through its pilot, Revolution carves out an interesting niche. It spends little time presenting its villain or doing much beyond building its world, but I don’t think that works against Revolution. Why? Because I can’t wait to see more.
J.J. Abrams’ record isn’t spotless, and neither is that of the pilot’s director, Jon Favreau, but Revolution is hopefully going to stay around a while.