New TV Show: Revolution — Phoning It In

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By: Citizen Scribe

I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic cinema. “Cinema” here includes “made-for-TV” and is represented by such favorites as Mad Max, Waterworld, The Postman, I Am Legend, Earth Abides (please make the movie), The Stand, Hunger Games, and so on.

I will pretty much engage on at least the first few episodes of anything that fits the genre, like Jeremiah, Jericho, Falling Skies, and stuff like that.

And now also Revolution.

We watched the premier last night. About fifteen minutes in, I found myself hollering at the TV. The inconsistencies and failed plausibilities are just epic.

Slate has their own complaint, of course.

My own list of gripes didn’t even include the hair.

Bad science. The wave front for an EMP — or anything that produces that same effect — does not travel at sub-sonic speeds, even if the “electric dominoes” effect does look cool. The cars lined up on the highway would not “blink out” one at a time. Planes falling out of the sky would a) not fall with their freaking lights still flashing (I mean, REALLY?), b) not fall straight down while vaguely spinning like an auto-rotating ‘copter. Cell phones would not “flicker” out of service. Oh, and just to be mean, asthma inhalers would not still be pressurized after fifteen frigging years.

Clothing. It’s been fifteen frigging years with no electric power and people are still wearing synthetic fabrics that look like they’ve just come off the rack?

Weapons. Okay, yeah, knives, swords, bows & arrows, black powder muskets, stuff like that. But a mini-crossbow for close engagement? You couldn’t do a nice short recurve? The lead bad guy carries a Desert Eagle? You couldn’t give him something with dirt-common ammunition? Had to pick something that shoots a round (.50 AE) which — after fifteen frigging years — is going to be hen’s-teeth-scarce? Why not something in a 1911? Hell, a Beretta even?

Character character. Yes, the character of the characters. It’s been fifteen frigging years of off-grid living, and your two adult children still behave like emo-kids?

Plausibility lapses. It’s been fifteen frigging years and somehow the dude the with magic digital talisman has never formulated a fall-back plan, has never briefed his kids on the importance of preserving this thing, hands it over to a used-to-be Google geek without any kind of orientation (although the gratuitous geekness will surely figure in this narrative later), and can’t manage to keep his adult son (see emo-kids above) from losing it and precipitating the (plot-enabling) catastrophe that launches the odyssey.

And the “teaser” scene at the end (lifted from Jericho) pretty much guarantees that they will spend much narrative coin “explaining” the global failure of electricity (“physics just went nuts”), and how electric power is really still there but is “suppressed” by some mad-scientist “field” which is abridged somehow by the “magic digital talisman” (alternatively, the talisman “emits” electricity, which would be even worse). And, of course, the “event” (evidently human caused) which killed electricity will also have to “expositioned” in dialog later on, providing lots of filler for plot padding.

The show has potential, and there’s plenty of room for the writers to repair things, but lately I get the sense that “writers” are just phoning it in. My wife and I identified at least three other shows from which they ripped off plot-enabling devices and we see very little that’s actually new.

That said, we’re probably gonna watch the next couple of episodes anyway.

Because it’s better than whatever’s on the news.

~~ CS

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