NBC’s newest genre series, Revolution, looks pretty interesting. The creative team behind it gives fans hope. The story does look interesting and when I watch the previews and read things about it, I start wondering if this show could be a much coveted replacement for fan-favorite 2006 TV series Jericho?
Revolution has the world wide disaster, the local militia, the cast of characters we could become attached to. If done right.
The synopsis goes like this:
“Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.“
Jericho itself was about a small Kansas town that survived a series of terrorist nuclear attacks on 23 cities that left the US in a state of disaster. Being cut off, they found they had to fend for themselves. They had to balance out the new dangers of surviving as they found the needed defend their needs such as food, fuel against the desperate plunderers, invaders and over time, even each-other.
It starred Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Ashley Scott and many more. Fans were desperately in love with this show. But the show barely got past a season before CBS cancelled it. A huge fan campaign lit up and CBS ran a second season, but it was run on a budget of mostly single-camera scenes. There seemed to be less support and the show faded.
A third “season” showed up in a comic book. At one point fans had a chance to show how much they loved it when The CW aired repeats of the series, but no one showed up and the show was left to fade. “Season 4″ of the series is due out in mid-August of 2012.
One of the showrunners, Jonathan E. Steinberg moved on and wrote for Human Target and the upcoming CW series, Beauty and the Beast.
As you see, both shows deal with a society changing disaster and when seeing the previews, the name Jericho just popped in my head. Both shows are about people up against fascinating new situations and forced to adapt. But with Jericho, the writing was a pleasure to experience… character arcs, challenging and evolving situations and the like. The viewers that did come along were fascinated and engaged.
The clues that NBC’s Revolution could very well be a successful post-apocalyptic type TV series (Along the lines of Jericho) is because of who the creative team is behind the series.
Exec producer Eric Kripke for one. He’s the brain storm behind Supernatural on TV and on the silver screen, 2005′s Boogeyman, and The Adjustment Bureau.
That other exec producer who tends to hit it out of the park more often then, not, is J. J. Abrams. Do I need to list his hit shows? Just in case you aren’t aware of some of his shows, 2001′s Alias, (Where we first saw a Slusho drink), ABC’s Lost, CBS’s Person Of Interest & Fringe.
(Which reminds me, KEEP your eyes peeled. Abrams squeezes in guest appearances of Slusho in many of his projects. Let’s see where it shows up here!)
On the silver screen Abrams hits include Armageddon (1998), Mission Impossible III, Star Trek (2009), Super 8, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Cloverfield, etc, etc..
And at least the pilot episode of Revolution is going to be directed by Jon Favreau. (I wish it would become more eps, but the man is busy, so I am pretty sure the series premiere of Revolution will hit it out of the park just because of Favreau! Yes, in Favreau I trust.)
Skipping his acting gigs, Favreau’s screen credit of note include Green Street Hooligans, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Iron Man & Iron Man 2.
Though Jon is only directing the pilot, I’m not too worried about who picks up the directorial helm, since we’ve learned that unlike the movies, the overall vision of a TV series lands in the hands of the producers more so than the director. And I have a strong faith in Kripke. (Yes, in Kripke I trust.)
The cast that will be guided in Revolution by the creative team will include Ken Arnold, Billy Burke, Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito, Tim Guinee, Elizabeth Mitchell and Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human, Rise of the Planet of the Apes).
Tracy plays the main character who wants out of the little, powerless town she lives in and dad says no. But the militia come along and change everything. Now we have a girl on a quest, with a crossbow. (Didn’t we just see that movie somewhere… girl with a bow and arrow…?) Burke plays a family member of hers who is some hot-skilled ninja-like swordsman… though what I’ve seen in the promos of the fight scenes doesn’t have me jumping out of my seat yet.
Most of the cast does not move me, especially Spiridakos, from the previews I’ve seen.
But what I am hoping for is that Kripke, Abrams and the team make this more about the actual people and situations rather than any other glitz and glory. I hope they explore their stories rather than shove them down our throats in hastily constructed episode plots. Jericho pulled off a great story-line in its day, but people didn’t flock to it on the tube and it died a ratings death on CBS, despite CBS responding to and giving fans an additional and abbreviated season.
Yet now-a-days, people ARE flocking to shows about Meth dealers (Breaking Bad) and world-wide zombie infections (The Walking Dead), realizing that the writing behind a show, can pretty much trump the genre preconceptions of TV fans. And we’re proving again and again that we like dark dramatic situations that make us feel a touch better about our own lives.
Kripke has pulled off compelling story mixed with one-off eps with Supernatural over on The CW. Looking at the production team, it looks like Kripke brought along Philip Sgriccia, from Supernatural.
I can’t really say that Abrams is the man. All he seems to do is jump start a show and move on pretty fast to his next project. But he did launch a few good ones in his day. But the producers he leaves behind to work the show include
- Bryan Burk (Person of Interest, Fringe, & Lost);
- Dieter Ismagil (The Lying Game, Shameless, ER).
So my expectations are high because of the production staff, despite the preview teaser clips that have shown the same material over and over. The story potential is there. But will they be left to run with their ideas or will outside influences direct this project? I think if NBC leaves them alone and lets them run with it, it could be a good thing. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they do with this new world of despair, where they combine the abandoned world of The Walking Dead with The Hunger Games power character of a female archer.
If they can successfully mix these two ingredients and stay on their own track and not feel like they’re following in anyone’s footsteps, then TV fans should be the lucky recipients here. But that’s a pretty tall order. We’ll see.
Below is a 6-minute preview of Revolution. It’s mostly the same material we’ve seen time and time again with showrunner words injected between scenes. Yes, it’s the usual supportive fluff, but it puts things into perspective.
What do you guys think? Will the show work out? Succeed, flop or just be OK and fade in TV ratings hell and become just another genre memory?