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Revolution Half-Season 1
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, @revolutionsf, © 2012

Format: TV
By:   Eric Kripke, JJ Abrams
Genre:   Post-apocalypse swordfight
Review Date:   November 27, 2012
RevSF Rating:   7/10 (What Is This?)

Revolution teaches us one thing: When electricity goes away, people will behave poorly.

The show is a success ratings-wise, and I never expected such a thing, based on the fate of previous recent NBC attempts such as The Event and The Cape. But now, The Cape has a job! David Lyons, who played the Cape, is Revolution's dastardly villain Monroe.

The first 10 episodes ended with a winter finale, which is code for weeks and weeks of reruns until after Christmas. So now's a good time to address the show so far.

Sidebar: After 11 years of typing "RevolutionSF," my fingers naturally type it every time I type "Revolution." There, they just did it again, but I fixed it. When this show does a spinoff, if they set it in San Francisco, we eagerly expect a large money offer for our URL.

The show is a Western. Each episode contains a quest, and everybody runs, fights, bleeds, and broods, not necessarily in that order.

The show raises questions about society. Would the Old West return if electricity went off everywhere? Yes, it totally would, and everyone would look like they're in an Urban Outfitters catalog.

Through hand-waving dialogue, the show establishes that batteries also don't work. There are very few horses; the good guys walk everywhere. Maybe when all the food spoiled, everyone ate the horses. It's gross to think about, maybe, but look, horses can be jerks. They deserve it.

Very little of the show is spent on how society functions now, because that would be even more tiresome than everyone's flashbacks. Literally, more than once, the characters stop what they're doing and recollect, during the show.

The best news about this awful future: hair gel! The wonderful hair of Miles and Monroe is gleaming with gel, especially in their episode-10 fight scene. I don't know if someone is making hair gel some old-timey way with a butter churn, or if somebody hoarded all the Vidal Sassoon on power outage day one.

The show is more about the power outage than I expected. I was certain the show would copy Lost, which was more about what was on the island than getting off it. I expected the same here, that everyone would have new problems and electricity would just be this thing they used to have.

Instead, electricity is the goal for the whole show, probably because when the power went out, everyone was waiting on Words With Friends.

Electricity would fix everything, but only if the good guys get the magic necklaces. If bad guys get the power back up, the good guys fear that they'll use tanks and helicopters. Seriously, one of them says that. But no one has tanks or helicopters, so a vacuum cleaner would put them ahead in the arms race.

The bad guys are great at being eeee-vil. That is, until the flashbacks, which reveal why each bad person is evil and gives them added dimension. I do not need added dimension. I want evil people to be evil. Instead, after amping up the villainy of Monroe all 10 episodes, a flashback shows him as a poor, sobbing wreck. Now he's sad and less punchable.

The good guys are more reliable. All good guys do stupid things for the sake of goodness, but these folks do it awesomely: by walking into traps on purpose, bleeding profusely, and leaving the most nervous one in charge of the explosives.

I was nonplussed at first, but I'm invested now, because the bad guys are all about to cry at any minute, and the good guys are hilarious. In episode 10, they have a bad guy at sword-point -- then leave him in a closet with a desk against the door. I wonder if he'll get out. Maybe he'll have a vacuum cleaner.

Watch Miles whip his hair at NBC's Revolution site.

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