Queen of the Couch: TV show, Revolution, has strong plotline

Lindsay Slocum

As a fateful J.J. Abrams devotee, I tuned in Monday night at 10 p.m. to watch his newest TV show, Revolution, in the hopes that it would indeed be the next Lost or Alias.  I hoped that J.J. Abrams had finally found the next great cult hit and I wanted to be able to say that I was there when it started.  But as the hour finished out, I knew that once again after trying Alcatraz and Person of Interest he had still produced a good show, but not a show that would go on to produce conspiracy theories and spawn online forums full of fans debating the finer points of the polt line.

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Revolution is written by Eric Kripke, rather than the usual J.J. Abrams writing team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and is the story of what happens when the power goes out and never comes back on. The pilot’s opening scene is powerful, showing the immediate effects of the power turning off in the Chicago suburbs, including a plane crash and cars stopping in the middle of the highway.  Unfortunately, the opening is the high point of the episode.  All the momentum that had been built up in the opening scene wasted away as the writers suddenly switched away to a pleasant farm town 15 years into the future.  While this allows for storylines to be developed in later episodes, too little time was spent on the immediate after affects causing the storyline to feel rushed.  The writers tried to fill in the gaps through narration, but a plain voice and simplistic lines detracted from the overall grand scale of the show.

The main character is a teenage girl named Charlie who has grown up in the blackout.  She has “Katniss Everdeen” archery skills and a similar “I will survive attitude.”  By the time the second commercial break aired she was firmly established as a tough girl, showcased by her resilience to the loss of her father and the kidnapping of her brother by a group of militia men.  These events set the storyline rolling.  The rest of the episode is spent following Charlie as she travels to Chicago, while revealing in bits and pieces that her family is more involved in the blackout than Charlie knows.

Newcomer Tracy Spiridakos, who portrays Charlie, falls short in the acting department.   Although the writing for her character is strong, avoiding cheesy lines that could have easily been put in, but her acting detracts from the character.  There are parts where she tries to hard and parts where it feels she doesn’t try hard enough.  She particularly fails in the emotionally charged scenes.

Revolution’s fate will be determined by the next episode.  If it continues to decline and fails to capitalize on the magnitude of an event like a worldwide blackout, interest in the show will decline, despite the lead in by The Voice.  However if the action picks up again and elements of complexity unfold, Revolution has the potential to be a blockbuster hit for NBC.