A power failure of global proportions
REVIEW: Revolution, TV2, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9.30pm
The pilot of this post-apocalyptic adventure series was so overstuffed with possibilities there was surely something for everyone.
The show is set 15 years after a mysterious meltdown wiped out what appears to be all electric technology in the world.
Are you a 13-year-old fan of The Hunger Games? Then you'll love the kick-ass teenage girl Charlie, who rocks and is a mean shot with a crossbow.
A community gardening hippie activist? You'll enjoy the vision of a society that has had to return to its agrarian roots, where crops have taken the place of roads in the middle of subdivisions.
A gun-rights hunter or historian? Ponder the world where armed militias are in control, where it is a hanging offence for anyone else to own a firearm and the militia general runs a regiment that resembles a Civil War battalion, complete with hand-loaded muskets.
The premise and the opening were crackerjack. Charlie's dad Ben Matheson rushes home and announces, "we need more water. Fill the sinks and tubs".
From the reaction he gets, it is clear that some sort of emergency he has predicted is coming to pass. As toddler Charlie watches cartoons, the television screen freezes on a terrified looking Bugs Bunny and the montage of destruction includes stalled cars, fires and planes dropping out of the sky.
Cut to 15 years later and an evocative series of shots from cities across the United States paints the grim reality. Deer graze in the streets of San Francisco with the Golden Gate bridge rusting in the background.
Buried in such images and in the core of the show, is the question, where has all our technology got us?
Joining Charlie on a mission to find her Uncle Miles is teacher Aaron. When they find abandoned planes, he casually remarks he used to own one. Turns out he is a former Google executive. "$80 million in the bank and I'd trade it right now for a roll of [toilet paper]," he says.
The name Google is only familiar to Charlie as an historical artefact of a world she can only imagine from a series of postcards she collects as treasure.
Charlie's quest to find Uncle Miles includes a mysterious pendant that seems to be connected to the power failure. We soon learn it is not the only such pendant and that they seem to be the key to some sort of resistance network that has survived the meltdown.
Can the resistance overcome the militia and use their technology to restore the world or will the technology fall into the hands of the Monroe militias? Either way, Charlie and Miles seem to be key. We learn Miles was a Marine buddy of militia founder Seb Monroe. He says Monroe wanted Charlie's dad because he believes he knew why the lights went off, and perhaps how to restore them.
In the quick hour of Tuesday's pilot (the second hour screened the following night), Revolution dropped enough clues that it is clear we are going on a mind-bender of a mystery along with the survivalist swordplay.
As with similar series such as Lost (whose creator J J Abrams is the co-producer here), the worry is the show will be better at setting up mysteries than it is at answering them. It is a narrative puzzle: Can the writers keep the mystery convoluted enough to keep us in suspense without disappearing into the maddening undergrowth of bewilderment?
- © Fairfax NZ News