Written by Robert J. Baden, Fanboy Comics Contributor
Thursday, 01 November 2012 04:29
New on the Tube is a series devoted to reviewing relatively new television shows and determining how they may (or may not) appeal to their intended audiences, where the shows are going, and what can be done to make them better.
A global blackout has caused all electronics to stop working, including the smallest of devices, such as batteries, without explanation. Fifteen years later, the survivors of a small family find themselves in the middle of a conflict with a local warlord, bent on finding out why all of the lights went out in Georgia (and other places). Both sides are racing to find out how the world changed, and a secret society seems to know the answers to questions that no one else had thought to ask. The show airs on Mondays at 10:00 p.m. (Eastern) on NBC.
Previously on Revolution: Covering Episodes #1 - #4
Soldiers from the Monroe Republic come searching for Ben Matheson and instigate a fight with the townspeople. Taking Ben's son, Danny, as a prize, the soldiers speed off toward Sebastian Monroe’s headquarters while Ben's daughter, Charlie, seeks out her uncle, Miles, to rescue Danny. Along the way, Charlie comes into contact with some thugs who want to take what they have for their own sake, only to end up being saved by a random stranger with a bow and arrow. They head to the remains of Chicago and find Miles, but the stranger betrays them to the Republic and brings in militiamen to arrest the Mathesons. Miles fights them off and gets a surprise assist from his niece, and they make way to the heart of the Monroe Republic to find Danny.
Along the way, Miles comes into contact with bounty hunters who are trying to bring him back to the Republic as a prize. He’s able to get away only to come into contact with them again while searching for a friend of his, someone he believes needs to be along for the confrontation with Monroe. Meanwhile, Danny sees firsthand the kind of reception various “citizens” of the Republic get from its military when they have “illegal” firearms. Back to Miles, he finds his companion in a prison work camp, hauling a military helicopter miles to the Monroe Republic. He and Charlie rescue his friend and take out the camp’s soldiers, grabbing a sniper rifle.
Charlie and Miles head to the Resistance to give them the sniper rifle, only to become embroiled in the conflict when soldiers attack their headquarters. During the battle, it is revealed that Miles used to be in charge of the Republic’s military, and he gives himself up to them in order to save the Rebels but is rescued soon after by Charlie. Later on, they meet up with a couple of friends from Charlie’s town, only to soon be attacked by feral dogs and a seemingly unstable man. One of the group is killed, leaving them without a medic on their travels.
Charlotte “Charlie” Matheson (Survivor): Charlie is the eldest surviving child of Ben Matheson and determined to find out why her father died. She’s an excellent hunter but not the best at hand-to-hand fighting.
Gen. Sebastian “Bass” Monroe (Monroe Republic President): Former marine and idealist who fills the void following the blackout. Sure that the Mathesons have an idea of how to reverse the blackout's effects and seeks to understand the situation.
Miles Matheson (Charlie’s Uncle): Miles is the brother of Ben and the supposed “savior” of the blackout, according to Monroe. He has a mysterious past that is only now becoming realized to those around him.
Aaron Pittman (Former Google Executive): A former computer nerd who was completely out of his element when the blackout happened. Willing to go to great lengths to try and find out a way to reverse the global effects.
Danny Matheson (Charlie’s Brother): The youngest surviving child of Ben and the pawn of Neville in the captain’s attempts. Frequently tries to get away from his captors but ends up seeing the Monroe Republic at the hands of its soldiers.
Capt. Tom Neville (Monroe Republic Soldier): Ambitious soldier who has the single purpose of taking Danny Matheson back to Sebastian Monroe. Neville is clever, calculating, and ruthless in his undertakings.
The show feels a lot like David Brin’s The Postman, made popular by the film adaption starring Kevin Costner. The similarities are startling, except for the fact that technology hadn’t completely disappeared in the book like it seems to have here. It makes it easy for me to see how certain situations are likely to play out, and given that I was a fan of the original concept, it draws me in more than other scenarios were likely to.
The idea of a secret society knowing the possible truth as to why everything went out is a draw, too, because, scientifically speaking, there shouldn’t be something that completely discharges all electrical powers worldwide. It really makes me want to find out just what happened, even to the point of putting up with the show’s downsides.
The concept of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society is not new in television (or movies), and it has been done to death quite a lot. Sure, the way this dystopian society functions is slightly different, but it is still relatively the same. The formula for how the show works is well known, and the determination of how it ends isn’t hard to find out; the only real difference is the minor details of how it is finishes.
I’ve also observed some details with Danny’s character that just don’t seem right; as someone who has a wife with asthma, I don’t believe that one should run while having an attack, as it would only exacerbate the condition. Sure, when your life is on the line, it may be something to do, but he wasn’t being chased or shot at during that specific moment. It just seemed as though it was taking away the sense of reality for me.
With all of the revelations concerning the past of Miles, Monroe, and the blackout, there are many mysteries to unravel in the show. I will admit that some of the unveiling I didn’t expect when it happened, so I’m hoping that there’s going to be a lot more that will take me by surprise. Will they ever be able to find the rest of the secret society? Why did Ben’s wife leave her family to be with Miles? And, what about the rest of the warlords outside of the Monroe Republic? Are we going to hear anything about that?