Binge – Reassessing NBC’s Post post-Apocalyptic ‘Revolution’

It’s lights out but is it light’s out?

I’m a mark for science fiction on TV.

Revolution aired for two seasons from 2012-2014 in that period just right before streaming really became everyone’s first stop to look for interesting television but was part of that post-Lost era where hour-long speculative fiction pitches seemed to find some air time.

In fact fans of Lost will recognize the familiar face of Elizabeth Mitchell in Revolution, a network-sheened near future science fiction drama that I wrote off during its original run but found quite enjoyable this time around.

The leap you have to take isn’t any of the fundamental concepts of the show and if it ever was I think The Walking Dead and its success has taught viewers to be open to a contemporary speculative fiction drama that takes place in some form of post-apocalypse leaving a setting that’s modern but low-tech, supplying us with characters and people whose loses we can relate to but placed in a fantastic circumstance in a world we still at least recognize.

Instead, the leap is kind of an uninteresting quest scenario used to initially explain the world, introduce us to players and map the world involving a kidnapped teenage boy and the forces who took him, are trying to get him back.

You may have an initial reaction like my own that could turn you off related to the aforementioned kidnapped boy who never seems worth any of the endeavors anyone is enduring to save him and that’s not going to change, he’s not, but I can report he becomes a more interesting macro-plot device later.

What Revolution does have going for it is that even though this is an ensemble cast you never have to wait too long to have either Giancarlo Esposito or the aforementioned Elizabeth Mitchell on-screen. Esposito tends to be good in everything he’s in and I feel like this is an undermentioned role of his.

He’s rarely uninteresting on-screen.

Revolution miles matheson major neville

The Mitchell you get is reminiscent of her Juliet from LOST in that she’s super capable, always seems able to go an extra level, and has that utterly unique steely face that seems to outlast the camera’s closeups, always a mask but one that somehow reveals multiple emotions.

I also find the science fiction element of the show, both what it is and the personal reasons why it was created, to be quite satisfying.

Make no mistake it’s not peak or prestige television. It’s not going to become your favorite show but it I think it is well above schlock or even good science fiction that often leans toward comedy or whimsy to laugh at itself with the audience, and is instead a quite firm drama that does take itself seriously.

That said it is also an action based show. There is a lot of fighting often featuring the exploits of an old guard that founded the Monroe Republic, one of the nation states that formed on the U.S. continent. There’s quite a bit of Billy Burke swashbuckle, which is alright because I think we could all use more swashbuckle in our lives.

I watched Revolution on Amazon Prime. It’s on the IMDB Channel they have that offers a bunch of shows I like that aren’t available to stream in other places (like Fringe for instance) for free w/ commercials. Commercials are typically anathema to me. I don’t have cable and this is the first time I’ve seen a commercial in maybe a decade but it was about as annoying as say Youtube ads on a longer video.

I could easily picture a world where Revolution couldn’t maintain someone’s interest coming out every week. Not every episode was event television and if you string a few of those together on a show that never became the water cooler show on TV it’s not hard to see viewers falling off.

Binging it though? Like I said we can all use some swashbuckle in our life, especially if it comes in the form of a lights out Post post-apocalypse.