Revolution, the new series from the executive producer of the award winning Lost series, JJ Abrams, hits televisions in the UK as it aired as Sky1 and Sky1 HD’s new Friday primetime show at 9pm.
Seeing massive success in America, totalling 13.3m viewers, it has become Warner Bros most successful scripted series in over 3 years. The adventure thriller created by Eric Kripke is set in a dystopian future Earth, the show revolves around the idea that one day all the lights go out.
But not just light bulbs: computers, cars, batteries – the entire idea of electricity ceases to exist, overnight. Nobody seems to know how or why, but the first two episodes aired Friday March 29 have set us comfortably in to the world of the unknown.
The initial ‘lights off’ moment has a real goosebump feeling to it, despite being very brief it would have been nicer watch the world descend in to chaos. We start watching Ben Matherson (Tim Guinee) and his wife Rachael (Elizabeth Mitchell) comforting their daughter and baby son.
We watch cars roll to a halt, planes drop out the sky and the lights of the world flicker out of life. Radios and TV’s stop working and phones go dead. A short voiceover takes us 15 years in to the future: governments have failed and organised militia have taken over, however the cinematic-like plot leaves you wondering if there is room to expand for multiple seasons on the small screen.
Society is left in a pre-industrial state where swords are archery are the weapons of choice and horses become the favoured mode of transport (what happened to bicycles?) and people live in smaller rural villages as cities become dangerous and overcrowded.
Matherson’s daughter is now grown up as we’re introduced to Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) who sets off on a journey to find her long-lost uncle Miles (Billy Burke) after her father is killed and her now grownup little brother, Danny (Graham Rogers) is kidnapped by local militia Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito).
We’re left wondering why the Monroe Militia are so interested in Ben and Danny, however by the end of the second episode we discover Ben’s silver pendant (one of 12) has the magical properties to restore localised power as it was before ‘the blackout’.
It’s easy for people to find faults in Revolution’s crazy beginning but it’s easy to note that the idea behind it isn’t particularly exciting or new. The two key questions limiting the series’ lifespan are “Who turned the power off?” and “Why?”
Billy Burke’s wild sword fighting scene as Uncle Miles in Episode Two creates a good piece of drama to an otherwise fairly boring script. The character flashbacks (resembling a Lost-inspired style of screenplay) widen the narrative for future endeavours but the characters will need to improve if Revolution is going to continue its success.
The programme resembles what you would get if Lost, The Hunger Games and BBC’s Survivors were squashed in to one show, it has a lot of potential – but something has me fearing it will end up like Survivors – in the bottom of an archive draw.
2 stars ★★✰✰✰