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Revolution

One sign that your new fall show just may be running into a few, say, credibility problems is when a number of people beg me by email, Twitter and text message to snark the show.

Never one to fail to provide partial customer service on this blog, I did indeed finally sit down to go through it. Slowly. (My attention kept wandering, and honestly, in this case it is not my fault.) And I must say that apart from the generally eh acting, the overabundance of exposition, the predictable plot "twists", the constant and kinda disturbing bunnies, and mindboggling indifference to ordinary things like, say, not entirely at random, "physics," "biology," and "alcohol production," it –

Eh. No. The show did manage to pull itself together, sorta, in the last two minutes, but everything prior to that was worthy of some serious snark.



Pilot

We OPEN on a child staring at a BUGS BUNNY cartoon, as if ALREADY AWARE that this will be the LAST GREAT MOMENT of the entire show, and a woman talking on the phone to her mother. Suddenly, as if to BREAK the lack of tension, BEN breaks in with – gasp – bottled water.

Ben: FILL THE TUB! We DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME!

Wife: Ok, granted, nothing's been scintillating so far, leading to the risk that we may LOSE VIEWERS, but surely we don't have to be THIS overwrought just a few minutes in. Then again – it's happening, isn't it?

Show: Rather than ANSWER that emotional and somewhat interesting question, let us cut away to a car and a conversation about HOW to pick up women while AVOIDING speeding tickets.

Suddenly, the CELL PHONES SHUT OFF. This is SO DIRE that EVERYONE STARTS TO PANIC, largely because, naturally, the cell phones have cut off right in the middle of DOWNLOADING DIRTY PICTURES. (Seriously this happened.) This is followed by ominous FLICKERING LIGHTS, DIFFICULTIES WITH THE PLUMBING, A SURPRISINGLY SUCCESSFUL DOWNLOAD THAT SHRIEKS UPCOMING PLOT POINT and BUGS BUNNY DYING WITH HIS FACE PLASTERED TO THE SCREEN. (Seriously this also happened.)

Child: Daddy? I think BUGS BUNNY IS DEAD.

In a fairly NEAT if FAKED effect all of the cars STOP on the highway before their HEADLIGHTS SHUT OFF ONE BY ONE. Transformers blow up. Lights die. People scream. Planes SPIRAL DOWN FROM THE SKY.

Juliet from Lost: Yay, crashed planes. And curling smoke. This always goes well.

All of the lights in the Western Hemisphere ALL THE WAY down to Argentina DIE OFF, but not in the Eastern Hemisphere, because, dude.

15 YEARS LATER, because, you know, why show the interesting bits?
Teacher: So, since we lost electricity, life pretty much sucks. We can't even use these NON ELECTRICAL swings. And if you stayed in the city you DIED since as we all know NO ONE EVER lived in cities BEFORE ELECTRICITY. Nor did they have ROADS or AGRICULTURE or GOVERNMENT none of which now works in our POST ELECTRICAL WORLD!

Kids: So, wait. Although we could be HUNTING things and GETTING FOOD, we are instead LISTENING TO TEDIOUS EXPOSITION for the sake of the audience who ALREADY KNEW THIS?

Teacher: Physics WENT INSANE! And NOBODY KNOWS WHY!

Camera SHIFTS to the one person WHO DOES KNOW WHY before any of the kids can ask what kind of teacher claims that NATURAL FORCES IN THE UNIVERSE can have MENTAL ILLNESSES. Camera CONTINUES to shift, showing us the LOVELY AGRARIAN CULTURE that has SPRUNG UP in the suburbs and abandoned streets and abandoned cars. Snarker INTERRUPTS to point out that this is NOT EXACTLY HOW AGRARIAN VILLAGES WORK and the entire pilot might have been BETTER SERVED if the writers had GONE TO SOME FARMS or even WATCHED MEDIEVAL FILMS, inaccurate though most of those are. Juliet is planting things in a car that has RUSTED SUSPICIOUSLY QUICKLY, especially since the RUST PROCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ELECTRICITY. Also suspicious: how a car THIS RUSTED is STILL HOLDING UP ALL OF THE WEIGHT OF THE SOIL THEY PUT INTO THE CAR, and why the hell NO ONE JUST PULLED/PUSHED THE CAR AWAY so the GROUND BENEATH IT could be used for some nice asparagus, in a small scene that shows just HOW LITTLE THOUGHT went into ANY OF THIS.

Charlie: Hi, I'm Charlie, the heroine of the show, which undoubtedly explains why, despite all of the DREADFUL DISASTERS that have overcome my family, I've still managed to keep myself WELL STOCKED with EXCELLENT SALON PRODUCTS. Go me. I dig up abandoned RV vehicles for fun.

Charlie STARES, caught by MEMORIES of ICE CREAM which she will NEVER TASTE AGAIN because as we ALL KNOW no one has been able to make ICE CREAM without electricity since at LEAST THE 19th CENTURY.

Danny, Charlie's brother: I'm HAVING AN ASTHMA ATTACK. Let's DEAL WITH THIS by RUNNING QUICKLY.

Ben: Time for a brutal father daughter conversation! This will also allow for plenty of EXPOSITION dumping, like, I'm sleeping with the blonde healer, Maggie, instead of Juliet from Lost (GET IT LOST FANS? GET IT?), who has VANISHED and is GONE only not for long since she's kinda the name person of the show, bandits are EVERYWHERE killing random blonde women, and you think I've overprotective!

Charlie: Fortunately enough, despite my HURT FEELINGS, I can go and STAND BY A BIG ABANDONED BUNNY.

Show: It might be best if we just don't talk about our rabbit obsession here.

Charlie: I shall instead sniffle over my Return of the Jedi lunch box in a remarkably unrusted Ferris Wheel.

Ferris Wheel: I was suddenly inspired to look myself up on Wikipedia, and do you know, I originally ran on steam, not electricity? And yet here I stand, unused, next to a large abandoned bunny.

Chicago Cubs: We're just on screen here because Cubs fans are used to constant disappointment, everything going wrong, and a desire to kill goats – ok, one goat – right?

Giancarlo Esposito: Because I have inexplicably failed to fire my agent, who keeps doing cruel, cruel things to me, I shall now ride into this settlement with a horse, fortunately interrupting some terribly dull dialogue about mint. Try not to speculate about just how bad things must have gotten on Once Upon a Time to drive me to doing this. Awesomely, despite the GENERAL DISMALNESS of everyone else's clothing, I have scored one AWESOME leather trenchcoat.

Ben and Boring Guy argue about the flash drive, although since computers and electricity DON'T WORK and we have a COOL PERSON in leather to watch, it's NOT CLEAR WHY.

Giancarlo Esposito: I'm here on behalf of the Monroe Republic, which has set itself up AWFULLY QUICKLY given that just TEN MINUTES AGO we were told that ALL GOVERNMENTS HAD COLLAPSED. That right there, plus my STILL AWESOME CLOAK, and this STRANGE TATTOO, and that we are the only BUNNY FREE PEOPLE so far, should TELL YOU SOMETHING, although unfortunately the show wants this to be TELLING YOU THAT WE ARE THE BAD GUYS. I'm arresting you Ben, although oddly not for wasting ice cream, failing to make a freaking ice cream maker, or leaving disturbing bunnies around. And now, time for more THREATENING DIALOGUE.

Danny, the asthmatic kid: For no particular reason, I shall decide that this is the most appropriate time to RESIST AUTHORITY.

Other settlers: Not that anyone could have PREDICTED THIS, but things are GOING TO TURN VIOLENT. Also, we have UNAUTHORIZED RIFLES. Which you'd think, given ALL THE PROBLEMS the show has been pointing out already what with bandits and chaos and the need to hunt for food and so on, not to MENTION the American love affair with guns, wouldn't be unauthorized, but let's skip past that point and on to the inevitable and tragic death!

Giant abandoned bunny: And naturally I shall insert myself into this sad and violent death scene – wait, did I say naturally?

Me: Seriously what is the deal with the bunnies on this show?

Camera thankfully ABANDONS the giant bunny to return to the SCENE of VIOLENCE where BEN has been shot and CHAOS IS BREAKING LOOSE. Giancarlo, deciding both that he doesn't have time for this and that all the blood might ruin his coat, casually SHOOTS some people to STOP the violence. Remarkably THIS WORKS.

Charlie RUNS RUNS RUNS as the MUSIC SWELLS and asthmatic DANNY is dragged away which would be a lot sadder if this weren't MOSTLY HIS FAULT. Ben DIES as everyone STANDS AROUND kinda uselessly but not before telling Charlie to go and find the GOOD LOOKING LEAD of the show.

Me: I take it back. This death scene needs more bunnies.

Charlie: I'm off to go rescue Danny.

Maggie: I'm coming along.

Charlie: Don't want you.

Maggie: I don't think you understand. I'm not doing this for you. Or, for that matter, for the audience, or for any coherency in the plot or character development. I'm doing this so I can stay in the main cast.

Aaron: And I'll just tag along for the same reason.

Bond: I shall now break from my usual shaken not stirred to hand someone a Heineken in hopes of finally supporting this show through ad revenue. Please don't hate me.

Giancarlo: To further get the audience on my side, I shall hit Danny.

Audience: YAY!

Charlie and the gang: Time for more exposition around the campfire!

Nate: Hi. I'm Nate. I have a fire.

Charlie and the gang ARRIVE at O'Hare.

Charlie: Since the show has not EMPHASIZED our DESOLATION ENOUGH, we shall waste time looking at the ABANDONED PLACES instead of looking for Danny.

Me: Why hasn't someone jumped on those planes for scrap metal?

Aaron: And now, for our obligatory Google product placement! Google makes you rich enough to buy your own plane until all the electricity goes off and the plane drops from the sky which makes this a rather sad product placement, now that we think about it. Let me throw in one for Charmin Toilet Paper instead. Charmin: MORE VALUABLE THAN 80 MILLION DOLLARS.

Danny: Although I've just been told that I am a very valuable prisoner, I'm so poorly guarded that I'm able to escape from my cart even after making a lot of noise.

Bandits: Hi. We're just here for a random attempted rape scene. Also, booze, because, booze? ABSOLUTELY only available thanks to the widespread advancement of electricity in the United States, and now with the absence of electricity, SERIOUSLY VALUABLE!

Show:....and we've just lost all semblance of credibility here, haven't we?

Audience: If it helps, that really happened back with the Ferris Wheel. Or even earlier.

Maggie and Nate SAVE everyone from the bandits in the hopes of convincing Charlie that she is DEAD WRONG ABOUT everything.

Maggie: Although Nate just helped SAVE YOU FROM RAPE, don't trust him. In fact, don't trust anybody. Although I have this lovely accent, so I'm probably fine.

Danny: I shall now have an asthma attack just A FEW overly dramatic feet away from a house where I would be safe! Well except for all of the pollen that would get in especially because no air conditioning.

Thanks to some surprisingly decent GREEN SCREEN EFFECTS, Charlie and co ARRIVE in Chicago, where, gulp, WRIGLEY FIELD IS IN NEAR RUINS, proving the importance of GOAT SACRIFICE. Water is EVERYWHERE in the streets and people have to walk ON the L instead of riding it. Belying their FRIENDLY IMAGE various Midwesterners are FIGHTING. Charlie and Co WALK into a hotel LOOKING FOR MILES.

Maggie: Hi, we're looking for Miles. Not discreetly or anything.

Miles, tending the bar: I'm so not Miles.

Audience: Wow. What were the odds that the very first person the group would talk to in Chicago would be Miles?

Show: Did you really want more exposition?

Miles: Ok, Charlie, come with me.

Nate: I need to get masculine and defensive now, especially since we haven't had any violence for several minutes.

Miles: Er, she's my niece.

Meanwhile, Danny WAKES UP to find a GUN and an ASTHMA INHALER aimed at him. This is boring so we shall skip it.

Show: I dunno. I sense another exposition scene here.

Miles: Time for me to leap in with some exposition. Monroe wants the electricity back not, as you would think, so he can catch up on his Bluray collection, but so he can power up tanks and steamroll over all the other republics of the country and destroy them since, um, that would be easier than using the nuclear weapons he'd also gain access to with the electricity restoration plan. Meanwhile, having given you this senseless information, I shall abandon you to the obvious trap of rescuing your brother since I'm in theory keeping a low profile here.

Charlie: I shall now try to give a touching speech about family.

Nate: And since that landed dead in the water, I shall now reveal myself as EVIL.

Chicago Mob: Incidentally, where ARE we? It's not like Hollywood representations of Chicago to leave us out.

Giancarlo: Clearly, we have not had enough exposition in the 30 minutes so far. Me, I was an insurance adjuster. Ok, enough exposition. Let me arrest Danny.

Miles: I have seemingly abandoned this hotel, only to leave HUGE FLAMING TORCHES everywhere. I am either lousy at hiding or I really don't like this place and want to see it burn. Oh, wait. Hi Nate.

Although Miles is armed ONLY WITH A SWORD, and the 20 or so bad guys HAVE GUNS and CROSSBOWS, Miles easily TAKES THEM DOWN because like ALL BAD GUYS they have TERRIBLE AIM and can't remember that STANDING ON SLIPPERY MARBLE STAIRS during a SWORD FIGHT is rarely wise unless you are Errol Flynn which they are not.

Charlie: Wait! The camera has been OFF me for like three minutes! Let me shoot someone.

Nate: I should kill you, Charlie, but I'm too mesmerized by the ongoing perfection of your hair products to do so.

Miles: You know, what makes this all worse, is we no longer have Roombas to clean up all the – wait. Where IS the blood?

Production crew: Were you not paying attention to those earlier Chicago shots? How much money do you think we have here, anyway?

Aaron: Well, now that we've all formed this happy family (for those few of you caring, Charlie, Maggie, Aaron and Miles, all off to go rescue Danny, though it's not clear why they should bother), time for me to take another look at this flashdrive and think of Google!

Miles: Time for a flashback where I reveal, to the complete lack of surprise of any person in the audience, that I once knew Monroe!

Monroe: See, you REALLY should have let me finish watching those dirty pictures.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
cardinalximinez
Oct. 19th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes.
They've got those hoppy legs and twitchy little noses...
mariness
Oct. 19th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
If in the final episode of this show they reveal that the Bunnies Did It I shall forgive everything.

As it is it's really creepy. The Bugs Bunny bit was unintentionally funny, and I get that they were kinda stuck with whatever was in the abandoned theme park they were using as a set, but combined with Bugs Bunny it was just bizarre.

Also, they are very obviously not walking anywhere around Illinois in several shots which is distracting.
malterre
Oct. 19th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
This is the third Revolution-mocking post I've read in about 1/2 hour. Glad I didn't bother. I thought the premise was idiotic and could have been thwarted with a few engineers and some solar panels.
mariness
Oct. 19th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
I admit that engineering and physics aren't my thing but I seem to recall doing the old 8th grade thing where you turn a potato into a little battery. I assume others can do this as well.

And if electricity has really completely died everywhere (which begs the question, what happened to lightning? Do they still have lightning? If not, what happens to all of the energy generated in storms?) then, you know, steam and gravity still work. The Romans managed central plumbing and heating without electricity. It can be done.
brni
Oct. 19th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)

"The bunnies are not what they seem." - D. Lynch

I love good post-apocalyptic stories. Alas, this one makes the electricity going to my TV fail. Which is okay, as I get more writing done.
mariness
Oct. 19th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
I'm all for good apocalyptic stories, but this one just has so many holes in it it was honestly difficult to know where to start.

Even then, I might be able to handwave the "physics doesn't work that way" -- I mostly manage that with Fringe and Eureka after all, who treat "science" as "whatever sounds vaguely cool or strange this to us this week." The difference is that Fringe has John Noble who is just over the top enough to sell the bad science, and Eureka is taking the silly approach. The amazing part is that for all of its silly science, Eureka is more plausible than this show. I can't believe I just typed "Eureka" and "plausible" in the same sentence.
wyldemusick
Oct. 19th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
My issue is pretty much this: if there's a damping field in place that's so effective that it prevents the transmission of electricity in any way -- and you've seen now that the USB keys somehow provide a localized counter to this -- including the use of generators, dynamos, wind farms, solar cells, and do on and so forth...why hasn't everything organic died?

It's like the lightning question. Living organisms use electricity. Why was that not shut off too?

I know, I know, I'm thinking too much about this when the answer is "Because it would be a boring show!" Not that this apparently matters.
wyldemusick
Oct. 19th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
Now for Arrow (which you might find more worthwhile) and Last Resort, which must be snarked if only for the Dichen Lachman storyline that pretty much comes out as the Hallmark Movie SAD SEAL IN PARADISE.
jeremytblack
Oct. 20th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Oh, you make me chuckle. :)
mariness
Oct. 20th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
:: grins :: Thanks.
kellirose1313
Oct. 20th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
When Tig started the first episode I actually said "I give it within the 1st half hour before someone's using violence and power to rape."

He's kinda liking it, but I can't watch episodes with him. I tend to go off on rants about steam engines and industrial age, or how every book about history must have also disappeared with the power.
mariness
Oct. 20th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
That's the thing. There's no reason why the planet just can't return to 1850/1860's level of technology -- or even Roman levels of technology, or both. You could still have indoor plumbing and trains and mass produced clothing and so on. The Romans managed a lot of that just using gravity.

I also find it annoying that the show essentially cheated us of the interesting bit -- watching the collapse and transformation of society. I mean, I do think that the simultaneous failure of all electronic devices -- say through an EMT device or something -- would cause chaos and excitement and stuff, but we didn't get to see any of that. And yes, I'm sure they can use flashbacks and whatever, but we've already seen the result so it lacks the "hey, are they going to survive the health mess/what sort of government will they be creating?" thing.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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