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The Shadow18 Sep 2012 9:14 a.m. PST

For those who aren't aware of it, the new TV series "Revolution" was launched last night. The show is about civilization's reaction to a total loss of electricity throughout the entire world. Not even batteries work! The opening scene shows "Ben Matheson" rushing into his home and telling his wife to fill every container with water. He gives the impression that some sort of apocalypse is about to take place. Then the scene switches to the man's brother, "Miles Matheson" out on a highway as all electric power ceases! Cars stop on the road and their headlights go out, the city nearby totally blacks out and airplanes start to fall from the sky! Then the scene switches to show the planet earth from a distance as all of the lights in the world go out!

The next scene jumps 15 years into the future. A small town is shown as having become a communitiy that exists as it would have in the 18th century. People farming crops by hand, herding goats and using unpowered tools. The main characters are introduced, including "Charlie Matheson" (short for Charlotte) looking like she just stepped out of "The Hunger Games", bow and all!

Next a local warlord, "Captain Tom Neville", rides into the scene with his unit of tough looking men all well armed, riding horses and dressed in black. They are obviously the bad guys looking for Ben Matheson, who they suspect knows why all of the electricity disappeared and possibly might know the way to restore it. They are also looking for Ben's brother Miles, who has been described as a person who "knows how to kill people". We know that Miles was in the military, probably "Special Ops".

When Ben refuses to go with them, his teenaged son Dan tries to protect him with a crossbow. Then it all hits the fan. A battle errupts between the townspeople and the warlord's men, and take my word for it, it is *very* violent for network TV, and after a pretty good sized massacre Ben is killed and his son Dan taken captive in his place.

Charley and two other characters set out to find Ben's brother Miles to help rescue Dan, but when they find him in Chicago he is reluctant to help until the warlord's men threaten to hurt Charlie. What follows is a huge fight, very reminiscent of the battle between "The Bride" and the "Crazy 88" in "Kill Bill", as Miles stabs and hacks his way through what looks to be about 20 of the warlord's men using only a sword!

I'll stop here and tell you what I thought of the program.

The sets, many of them CGI, are effective at showing the city of Chicago and it's suburbs decayed into buildings overgrown with rampant vegetation. The warlord leader is a good actor and effectively villainous. Miles is a standout kick butt hero type. The supporting characters vary from just OK to very good. I particularly liked "Maggie" who plays a very clever and self sufficient "doctor" for the village.

Unfortunately, i'm not that enthused about the main character "Charley". She's certainly cute, but she isn't a strong actress and I found her performance to be uneven. Switching from strong heroine to typical teenager from time to time. I hope to see less of her and more of Miles and Maggie.

In general, the pace is fast and the show is absolutely the most violent that I have ever seen on network TV. I'm not kidding about that. If I hadn't seen the show myself I wouldn't have believed it. When Maggie thwarts a rape attempt by offering the men poisoned whisky and the men start spitting up blood I knew that I wasn't in Kansas anymore. (-:

Check it out. There are plenty of post-apoc scenario and costume ideas too!

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 9:24 a.m. PST

Do they even bother to explain how that could happen?
Does gunpowder work, but electricity does not?
If gunpowder doesn't work, then, what chemical reactions do?

seriously, if all electricity cesed to function, than all life should snufff out too.

Please do not insult science fiction by calling nonsense like this "science fiction". It is hand-waving TV fantasy.

Oddball18 Sep 2012 9:29 a.m. PST

Good review. I felt the same way about the main character "Charlie". I liked how firearms had reverted muskets mostly, but if you still had a semi-auto, you were a kin to a god in a firefight.

The pretty boy who has a good and bad side has gotten on my nerves already and what is up with the sickly brother who's lungs lock up everytime he has a cloud of dust near him. I had asthma as a kid, but he can't seem to make it through a day without an attack.

With no modern meds, how has he lived so long?

CPBelt18 Sep 2012 9:29 a.m. PST

Yeah, I thought why don't batteries work? What's up with that? Hydro doesn't work? Sounds a bit silly.

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 9:38 a.m. PST

I'd have to say that from what I have seen, I believe that there might be some sort of orbiting devices that are broadcasting interference that shuts down electircal devices. It would explain why there are people who have these "lockets" with a button that you push, that somehow shuts down this interference in a small area, which is how a lady at the end of the show was able to send a message to someone else via some sort of computer or radio.

Toy Gamer Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 9:39 a.m. PST

The guy acting as the village teacher said something to the effect of "Physics went all out of wack and nothing works the way it should". Pretty much just hand waving to cover the holes until more of it gets better explained later on (if ever).
I thought some one said something about guns not working either, which makes the gun used by the bad guy something special. Or maybe I just misunderstood.

JRacel Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 9:45 a.m. PST

My issue is with how decayed some things were, like entire parking lots covered already in grass. Sorry, but that was a little fast for 15 years.

I also see so many plot holes that there are more holes than plot. I'll have to see how the next few episodes go to decide if this is worth watching.

45thdiv18 Sep 2012 9:57 a.m. PST

I would rather watch this than another reality show

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 9:58 a.m. PST

The decay rate looked ok per the Withouy People shows that were on. My guess a stranglet did it withe the amulet gizmo that can locally negate the effect-strangelets are perfect for throwing science and logic overboard.

I saw nothing else innovative, just same old tv crappola.

Dan Beattie Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:05 a.m. PST

John OFM -

Look up Electromagnetic Pulse. It can be triggered by an high-altitude nuclear burst or even a sun-burst. Every major nation in the world, and some terrorists, know about it, and are preparing for it. The have been hearings in the U.S. Congress about it.

I haven't started to watch Revolution (I'm much more interested in the 1775 Revolution) because it is essentially a soap-opera. But EMP weapons are far from fantasy. It is possible that the Israelis will use one against Iran soon.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:08 a.m. PST

Dan, can EMP wipe out bateries?

Syr Otto Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

I had the opposite thought about the decay… to much looked too new. Amusement park with bright colored paint with some weeds growing. The same with the RV. Compare that to my 15 year old car and the paint looked wrong. Also clothes, shoes, crossbows, arrows, all in good repair?

Also one obvious question… Why'd they wait 15 years to go looking for Ben?

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

I think this is a rip off of a Sci-Fi book series where all modern tech goes off line even guns nothing works except sword, bows and arrows. Not my bag man.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Sep 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

well, I was enthused… initially seeing the promos.

My impression is there is some sort of "damping field" that kills any sort of electricity. The lockets "counter act" or create a bubble where electricity can work?

They actually let out a lot of info in the first episode (lockets, militia leader was the best friend of Charlotte's uncle, there are many lockets, a conspiracy surrounding the lockets…. Etc…)

My main interest was the tech background, but now after watching it feels a little like Hunger Games meets Lost…

I feel my interest will wane soon.

and yes, the clothes are a little too perfectly clean… that was pretty lame considering it would be a lot easier to provide dirty clothing than destroyed cities to film in.

Guns do work….

McKinstry Fezian18 Sep 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

I agree Irish. S.M. Stirling is probably chatting up a lawyer or two. This is a near straight 'Sunrise Lands' ripoff without the depth.

Also, I believe this has J.J.Abrams fingerprints on it so as with 'Lost', magic/mystic wierdness will cover all holes.

Legion 418 Sep 2012 10:13 a.m. PST

Reminds me of a number Apocalyptic type series, Jericho, The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, etc., etc … Won't be on my watch list …

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:14 a.m. PST

Seemed too wonky. EMPs can take out a lot, but mechanical generators and plain old copper wire would work just fine after. And no batteries? An EMP that stops chemistry? Again, then why do guns still work?

Sorry too silly for me….

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Sep 2012 10:21 a.m. PST

It is not just an EMP….

It is active and blocking electricity!

And as mentioned above… the acting, meh…

"Lost" but with less talented actors…

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:26 a.m. PST

I hope SM Stirling is at least getting some of the royalties

Dan Beattie Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:27 a.m. PST

An EMP can kill batteries if the EMP pulse field is strong enough.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:34 a.m. PST

As for SM Stirling, unless someone paid him from the kindness of their hearts, I doubt he's getting a penny. Ideas aren't copyrightable, and unless they perfectly mimicked his justification for a no-tech world (whatever he used) and followed his pattern for the culture and characters that arise, it's all pretty much fair game.

DeRuyter Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 10:41 a.m. PST

They might get more mileage out of the actress playing "Charlie" if they did have old and "ripped up" clothes! Her clothes are pretty tight fitting…hmm maybe she is the best reason to watch it! wink

richarDISNEY Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 10:50 a.m. PST

I love the idea.
Hate watching tv.
I will wait til its on disk.

jpattern218 Sep 2012 10:51 a.m. PST

I thought it was pretty bad.

Just one example of what I thought was a "look how clever we are!" detail: In the cul-de-sac village, sitting in one of the driveways is the rusted-out, engine-less shell of a car, being used as a sort of container garden.

Really? You really think the villagers would do that instead of just rolling the car 100 feet down the road and off into a ditch?

There were many things like that, where I could imagine the writers sitting around a table high-fiving each other on their cleverness.

Also, many biological processes are electrical in nature. Anything that "blocks electricity" would also block those processes. Too much handwavium for me.

A dumbed-down "Hunger Games" meets a dumbed-down "Lost" is a pretty good description.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 11:01 a.m. PST

I think the Walking Dead and Falling Skies which I really like is more plausible then this TV show.

jdpintex18 Sep 2012 11:16 a.m. PST

Fair amount of hand waving to (not) explain why the electricity went off. I can deal with that and other somewhat iffy aspects of the story. It's fiction after all.

Might be interesting if they develop it right. Not enthused but I'll give it a chance. There is much worse on TV these days.

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 11:56 a.m. PST

It is on late enough that my limited ability to think critically is greatly diminished. So I can enjoy it well enough as I node off to sleep.

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

If nothing else it was worth watching for the huge melee where one of the main characters takes out 20 odd militia guys.

Also, almost all of the milita in the town were armed with either flintlocks or crossbows. The also leader said that owning firearms was punishable by death.

doug redshirt18 Sep 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

Got better things to do then watch another crappy "scifi" show. I now believe there is not one working brain cell in the TV or movie business. I could write a better script then what I see anymore. It's sad when you go to the theater and you start rewriting the movie as it is playing to make it better.

Dynaman878918 Sep 2012 12:11 p.m. PST

> The also leader said that owning firearms was punishable by death.

Enforcing that without firearms on someone WITH firearms is a trick though.

Have not seen it yet, plan to get around to it someday – even though the premise sounds stupid.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 12:39 p.m. PST

Ok, so electricity doesn't work. Since nerve impulses are electrical. Well, end of storey.
I think I could do better than that! And that's just plain scarey!

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 12:41 p.m. PST

EMP can destroy circuitry, but would have no long term effect on things like hydropower. Simpler machinery like powersaws should be effectively immune to long lasting effects.
The long term issue would be the lingering damage to chips that are in virtually everything. Even then, equipment that is unpowered when the emp hits should be fine.

I would get too frustrated with the bad science to enjoy the show

Jerry Lucas18 Sep 2012 12:44 p.m. PST

Since the "soldiers" of the "Monroe Republic" have guns…enforce no firearms is not a problem on the remaining population…

but we need to stick to the real reasons the show stinks..batteries don't work and tall grass in the parking lots…

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

It beats "Honey Bo Bo" by a mile no matter how bad the science is. People were way too clean with too much up to date clothing. I like the doctor and the bad guy captain, otherwise the acting is bottom shelf.

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 12:55 p.m. PST

The doctor seems very cold blooded to me. I'm thinking that she is a lot more than she seems to be.

And as to things continuing not to work, I think that whatever is causing the electricity not to work is something that is continuosly blanketing the planet, it wasn't a one time thing like an EMP explosion.

And I am so sick of all of the reality TV crapola that I'd watch just about anything else, no matter how bad the "science" behind it might be.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 1:02 p.m. PST

I'll give it a couple of more goes. I'm not concerned about why electricity doesn't work anymore, however I am curious about why batteries don't work. There is obviously more going on than we know. I also thought the amusement park was too fresh looking and the clothing is too new and manufactured looking.

leidang18 Sep 2012 1:31 p.m. PST

My guess is that like Lost, Abrams hasn't actually decided what is going on yet. He'll just make up stuff and add plot twists as it goes along and things will get wierder and wierder and make little sense. That's his schtick, isn't it?

majormike69 Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 1:41 p.m. PST

sounds vaguely familiar

Todd Boyce Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 1:47 p.m. PST

The show is terrible.

A couple of actors here and there have decent skills but even good actors can't save a crappy script, and this pilot was a doosie.

There are so many instances where you say to yourself while watching "this doesn't make sense" and "people wouldn't do that in that situation" that any believability in the universe they set up is thrown right out the window.

Fine, electricity doesn't work. People don't become stupid because electricity stops working – or maybe that's a side effect.

Did whatever this effect do make it such that computer cases no longer exist? You have to bolt your computer components to a plywood table? And that operating systems of computers now make it look like it's 1983 with a cursor and monochromatic green monitor?

Why would anyone, in a land of limited resources, leave bottles of alcohol behind?

What kind of retarded crossbow is that anyway? It is incapable of having any significant draw strength.

Why is it that everyone talks like it's the wild west when they're in the outskirts of chicago?

Muskets? Really? In fifteen years we go from semi-autos to muskets?

I might as well stop here. It's too stupid of a show for me to even care anymore. Even Jericho with all its flaws was head and shoulders better than this Bleeped text.

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 1:56 p.m. PST


I don't know about the ones used in the show.



Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 2:01 p.m. PST

Just because we only saw one semi auto doesn't mean there aren't more. It did seem to me like anyone with any sort of musket building skills must have been very busy.

Angel Barracks Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 2:29 p.m. PST

TMP link

rby totally blacks out and airplanes start to fall from the sky!

If memory serves the planes that fall out of the sky at night can be seen as their lights are on, soooo errrm what electricity failure?

raylev318 Sep 2012 2:54 p.m. PST

The show will succeed or not depending on the characters and whether or not we like them.

As for the "science?" Any science fiction or fantasy show (or novel) requires the viewer/reader to willingly allow a certain amount of suspension of belief. As long as it doesn't go too far we're ok, and it has to be internally consistent.

jpattern218 Sep 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

If memory serves the planes that fall out of the sky at night can be seen as their lights are on, soooo errrm what electricity failure?
I noticed that, too. (Hard to miss, really.) I think it would have been creepier, not to mention truer to the story, to have the planes barely visible by moonlight – or even have one silhouetted against the moon as it fell.
As long as it doesn't go too far
Ah, well the,n we're already in "not OK" territory.

Keelhauled18 Sep 2012 3:32 p.m. PST

Did not watch it, but from what i did see from the previews shown, i cannot get around the inconsistancies shown to want to even watch. Would rather read a book such as One Second After, with a better storyline, than Revolution.

Personal logo Landorl Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2012 3:54 p.m. PST

There are so many stupid reality shows on tv that I am just happy that someone is trying something else..

I thought it was ok if you didn't think things through too much.

Todd Boyce Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 4:25 p.m. PST

Alright, I'll give a partial pass on the crossbow, they still removed the stirrup which I expect would make it extremely difficult to load…

Panzergruppe Inactive Member18 Sep 2012 4:28 p.m. PST

No electricity = no brain activity, sounds like it already has taken effect on the script writers.

Katzbalger18 Sep 2012 7:10 p.m. PST

Sounds like I didn't miss anything, then.


redmist112218 Sep 2012 7:50 p.m. PST

So is the part with Snake Plisken after Escape from L.A. when he hit the button to shut off all the electricity with an outspace EMP?

Mmmmmm…sounds fishy….will have to check it out.


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