Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on September 5, 2012

Revolution is a new post-apocalyptic show premiering on NBC on 9/17, which is available in advance on Hulu. Oddly, the quality of the online version is terrible, there are interlace artifacts like crazy. Despite Jon Favreau directing it and JJ Abrams executive producing, the pilot is not that good. It seems like the real star of the pilot is the special effects shots of notable landmarks half destroyed or overgrown with vegetation. They are some nice shots, but beyond that I found the pilot to be kind of slow and unimpressive. But because I am a sucker for science fiction-y stuff, I am going to give it a few more episodes. There is a tiny bit of mythology thrown in to the pilot that seems like it could go somewhere interesting.

The cast for the pilot is pretty varied. Giancarlo Esposito is great, Juliet from Lost and Vala’s husband from SG-1 are fine, but their kinda hot daughter seems iffy. This That Guy did some opening narration that I actually thought was Greg Grunberg at first, but he’s obviously someone else, and I kinda like him. Other than Esposito, he’s the only character that stood out to me as reasonably interesting. The rapist lawyer from The Closer is fine as an actor, but his character is a super generic military badass antihero type (hilariously, they actually use the phrase “good at killing” to describe him). Though on the plus side, he’s a Sergeant. Most of the time, they make the military character a Colonel or something to make them seem important, but I think Colonels tend to sit at desks. I assume someone who’s some kind of superior ass-kicker would be in some sort of special forces thing, but still an enlisted rank, or maybe a low-level officer.

Minor spoilers from here on.

Part of the problem might be the combination of a big cast, a jump forward in time, and a clunky voiceover to transition through the time jump. Not only do they have to introduce the main characters for the series, they have to introduce some who die off but are important going forward nonetheless. But I feel like a big failing of the show is that it doesn’t really give me an idea of what I’m going to see when I tune in to an episode. It’ll be in a no-electricy apocalypse, but where? They abandoned the village at the beginning and it’d be unsafe to return, and they seem to be leaving Chicago at the end. Is this going to be a group version of the classic 80s format which TV Tropes has named Adventure Towns where they wander from place to place, meeting a new cast of characters every week who have some sort of problem that needs solving (as in MacGyver or Knight Rider or The Incredible Hulk)? Is it going to be purely serialized and the mess with Monroe and all that consumes the entire story? I have no idea. So that’s not really inspiring confidence. I’ll probably go 2 more episodes unless they manage to pull me in.

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