Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TV 2012: Revolution

Sorry I'm a little behind on reviewing pilots due to traveling last week, but I'll hopefully be catching up over the next couple of days. 

Quick summary to start things off: this show takes place 15 years after the entire world loses power. Somehow physics stops working properly. No electricity, batteries, nothing. The country is now ruled by militias and one of them has come for the Dad (I never know anyone's name in pilots!) because they believe he knows how to bring back the power. He's killed, his Son is taken, and his daughter, Charlie, goes looking for her Uncle with her Step-mom and Google guy to save the Son.

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I actually really enjoyed this show. After "Lost" debuted, so many shows tried to duplicate its success and they all failed for one reason: they didn't know how to walk the line between questions and answers. I call it "The X-Files Dilemma". For a show like this to work, there needs to be a framework, a big over-arcing storyline, in which everything takes place, but most episodes need to focus on things within this structure. And then, every once and a while, answer some of the major questions of the show. In "X-Files", it was the presence of aliens and how the government was covering it up. One or two episodes each season really focused on it, but the rest of the episodes were one-off stories that developed the characters. In "Lost" (at least the first couple of seasons), the framework was the mysterious island and what it actually was, but individual episodes focused on just trying to survive after a plane crash.

From the pilot, a lot was established for this framework. We know that some people still have power, but keep it very hidden. We know that there is a dystopian militia ruled by the former friend of the Uncle, who I refer to as ER guy because I only recognized him as the playboy Australian doctor on "ER". However, given the wasteland that the country has become, there is a lot of play for singular stories of things and people they encounter, allowing the framework to stretch and grow before they ruin it by creating more mysteries.

The key to a show like this is all about the timing. You need to give enough answers to keep people hooked, but at the same time, you need to develop the mystery, or the plot, to keep people hooked. The reason I mention developing the plot is because I don't see how they can keep the mystery unsolved for more than three seasons without really creating a mess. That was the problem with "Lost". They refused to answer questions and it just became so confusing and convoluted that no answer made any sort of sense anymore. It was also the problem with "Heroes" where they answers too many things too soon and then had to come up with secondary plots that sucked. My ideal vision for this show would be for the world to somehow have power restored in three to four seasons and the rest of the series would be about the fall-out form having power back. That would work for me.

Anyway, I'm starting to babble. I would give this show an A-. I doubt it'll stay an A- for long, but I am quite looking forward to it, for now.

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