When I saw the coming attractions for the new NBC series Revolution, I knew it was something I wanted to watch. Packed with all the elements of survivalism and geopolitical dynamics in a dystopian world and a generous amount of swashbuckling and stabbing, Revolution is sure to please.

Currently the first season of Revolution has been in hiatus since Thanksgiving, with the show scheduled to resume sometime in March. As has happened time and time again to many a great show, network executives either frequently change the show’s time slot, air episodes out of the intended order of the storyline, give it a mid-season four-month hiatus, or find some other ways to ensure it loses its audience. A slow, disappointing network-induced death a la Firefly, The Event, Terra Nova and Jericho.

But I digress.

If you’re not familiar with Revolution, here’s the synopsis: epic global electromagnetic pulse, except nothing electric ever functions again. Modern conveniences are a thing of the past as the 21st Century world is suddenly set back 200 years. The U.S. government and political subdivisions thereof collapse, militia take over. Fifteen years after the power goes out, the United States now looks like this:

revolution-map
The show begins in Illinois, now a part of the Monroe Republic, named after its founder and dictator, General Sebastian Monroe. The show’s protagonist, Charlie, is not only a hot chick with a boy’s name, but also the daughter of the scientist who may be one of the few people on earth who knew why the power went out 15 years ago, and more importantly, might know how to restore it.

The Monroe Militia comes to her village-fort looking to arrest her dad and bring him to General Monroe, in Philadelphia, the nation’s capitol. Charlie’s brother Danny intervenes, refusing to let the militia take their dad, fighting ensues and dad is shot dead. The militia take Danny in an attempt not leave empty-handed and Charlie begins a journey to rescue her little brother. She is joined, despite her protests, with her next-door neighbor, her stepmother and a few other people she picks up along the way as she marches towards Chicago to find her uncle Miles, who she believes will help her in her quest.

As the journey progresses, we learn more and more about the state of affairs in the new North America with each episode. Bullets are in short supply, and the Monroe Republic is so pro-gun control, any civilian caught with a firearm is sentenced to death (on the spot), so pretty much everyone who wants to kick ass carries a sword, knife or crossbow.

There is some degree of freedom in the MR; all narcotics appear to be legal, as one episode takes place on a poppy plantation. General Monroe is obsessed with defeating the neighboring nation-states and controlling the entire continent. To achieve this lofty goal, he has been searching for a way to restore power in order to fire up a bunch of choppers and assault vehicles to crush his rivals, including a rebel militia determined to restore the United States.

The irony of seeking power by obtaining power is not lost on me. The use of the double-entendre to describe  power in the sense of exerting force over others and to describe electricity and fuel is common in every episode, as soldiers, innocent civilians, our protagonists, bandits, mercenaries and other assorted thugs conflict, collaborate and connive in this strange world where fundamental physics as we knew it has checked out. And speaking of power, yes, (spoiler alert) power is restored to a tiny extent, and once the power source is discovered, the scramble to possess it makes the show even more compelling.

Throughout each episode, viewers are also treated to flashback sequences in which it is revealed as to how North America changed so drastically over a decade and a half. It also examines each character’s life…before, during and immediately after the blackout. I am a big fan of “what if” narratives and alternate history fiction, so Revolution is definitely worth waiting until its eminent return on March 25th.

2 Responses to “Review: Revolution”

  1. Ron Helwig says:

    I’ve been enjoying it too (not only for the hotness of Charlie and Nora), but a willingness to suspend disbelief is required. From what I understand of physics, the primary element (that of the world-wide EMP shutting down all electronics semi-permanently while allowing localized resurrection) is total BS; but hey, its decent story writing and a moderately compelling tale. The action is good, if sometimes unrealistic, and the plot moves at a nice pace. I’ll keep watching until/unless they jump the shark (and I did see the original shark jumping when that first aired).

  2. I'm Not The Only One says:

    Yes, one does need to accept the ridiculous idea that a world-wide EMP could have shut down the world’s electric technology. Although, that is our collective assumption of what happened in the story line. What really happened has not yet been fully explained, but as some electricity has been restored in the latest episodes, it appears that what may have happened was not actually an EMP, but something that perhaps stifles electrons in the atmosphere or acts as some sort of barrier, except that effect had been magnified on a global scale. Those pendants seem to break down that barrier and allow that electrons to flow freely, at least within the immediate area of the pendant, which also seems to act like a wireless battery.

    But then again, I probably know less about physics than you do.

    As a fellow Free Stater, I was a bit disappointed that New Hampshire fell within the clutches of the Monroe Republic. I also found the map quite interesting, particularly the existence of the “wasteland” and that these new nations also encompass what we know as territory belonging to Mexico and Canada. I do like the fact that the Monroe Republic saw creating any kind of fiat currency as being a total waste of time, and that people in that world (at least in the Monroe Republic) do not recognize the legitimacy of any fiat currency. Instead, precious metals are traded as well as an extensive barter society has sprung up. (quarterly taxes are paid in crops, for those not familiar with the show). Shire Silver would do well in the world of Revolution.

    I am curious to know more about the other republics, and from the first episode I was very eager to see a map of the newly formed nation-states. I am also curious as to what the rest of the world looks like politically, in hopes that somewhere, the people of a particular area may have opted for no government at all, resisting any incoming tyrant. Perhaps that is what the “wasteland” is, implying that no government has been able to take it over.

    When exactly did they jump the shark?

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