On The Bandwagon: “Revolution”


Today heralds the return of On The Bandwagon, staff writer Marissa Morales’ breakdown of all the television you should really be watching by now. This week: NBC’s breakout hit Revolution.

NBC and I have a complicated relationship. They desperately want me to love them and relish all they have to offer. I, on the other hand, feel that they want to destroy everything I love so that I am finally pushed to the brink and just want to destroy myself. That being said, while they are quietly destroying the things I love, they are also (quite loudly) releasing a couple gems.

One of these “gems” is Revolution. Revolution has its faults, I will grant you, but all in all it is a fantastic show, especially if you’re into the whole dystopian, JJ Abrams what-the-hell-am-I-watching thing. It’s also quite fun if you want to see the dystopian version of Chicago, specifically Wrigley Field. The first few episodes are based in Chicago, including shout outs to Lou Malnati’s and the Chicago Theatre. Holla!

Revolution is about what would happen if all the power went out and you didn’t know why, so now the only way to get anywhere is on foot, or I suppose if you know how to ride a horse. Government is an interesting thing; as the viewer, we see Monroe’s Republic and know Monroe (David Lyons). Though during a scene in a later episode it is revealed there are many “Republics” with many leaders, it appears that Monroe is top dog.

As with any dystopian cautionary tale, there is a group of rebels who use the excuse of patriotism in order to fight Monroe. These rebels have contraband guns and are picking off Monroe’s men one by one.  Also, I should mention that Monroe only allows his men to use and own guns. Citizens are not allowed, and the offense is death. (Most offenses are death. This is dystopia, after all!)

Now that you know the world the show is set in, it’s time to get to know our ragtag group of characters. I suppose now is as good a time as any to say that the problems I have with the show tend to center around the cast. On the one hand, you have a very solid, amazing group of actors, and on the other, you have some less experienced actors who tend to over-sell. The show also needs to have its writers understand that and work on the dialogue. But seriously, the plot more than makes up for these shortcomings. Now, where was I? Oh right, the heart of the show, the characters.

We follow Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), a young girl who has distant memories of the power going out. She lives with her father (Tim Guinee), brother (Graham Rogers) and a blonde-haired woman who is definitely not her mother (Elizabeth Mitchell) from the first scene. In the first episode, Charlie and her father get into a fight and she wanders off to throw a fit, or excuse me, “clear her head.” While she does this, members of Monroe’s Republic show up to take her father off, and we are also told that her mother set off and was never seen again, killed by said members of the Republic. Understandably, Charlie’s father is hesitant to just run off with them.

Charlie’s brother Danny, not wanting to lose his father, pulls a crossbow on Captain Neville and his men. Ah, yes, Captain Neville is played by none other than Giancarlo Esposito (!!!!), so you know, props to Danny. The scene ends in death, and Danny gets taken away. When Charlie comes back, she discovers what has happened, and sets out to find her Uncle Miles. Her Uncle Miles is played brilliantly by Billy Burke, who knew Bella’s dad could be such an action star! (Yeah I went there, come at me bro).

From this point on, I don’t want to give too much away, mainly because there’s still a lot that I don’t fully understand. Again, JJ Abrams is involved in this show, so the best advice I can while watching is to pay attention to everything that gets said, and TRUST NO ONE. I made that mistake, and I shouldn’t have done it. I should not have done it. Also, be wary that this is a show that has no problem killing off characters. None at all. It has a brilliant way of giving you a character’s story, making your heart bleed and then BOOM, DEAD. Prepare thyself.

The show is about six episodes in, so now is the perfect time to start watching. If you’re anything like me and have a massive hard-on for dystopian stories, this is a fantastic show. In simpler terms this is The Hunger Games meets Lost. This is a show that definitely has plans to go to a lot of weird places. It’s already halfway there. It’s something to see NBC take a stab at a market like this, when it’s spent such a long time attempting to cash in on comedy. But let’s be honest, NBC is the new FOX, where only the strong numbers survive. But that’s another column for another time.

For now I’ll just say: Get to know Revolution, so you can say you knew it when.

  • VegasBob

    Have to say this is a surprisingly good show. I didn’t expect much but it has caught my interest and become a must DVR. Nice review, btw. Had me nodding in agreement with a smile on my face.

  • JJGoode

    I’ve fallen for Revolution over the past few episodes. I’ve
    always been a fan of sci-fi and dystopian concepts, but I wasn’t sure what to
    think after the pilot. I caught last week’s episode on my Hopper, and Neville’s
    back story really brings the show up a few notches. A few friends that work
    with me at DISH think that the show has plenty of potential, as long as Abrams doesn’t
    deploy too many mysteries too soon—I got lost with LOST. At least I’ll be able
    to watch the more complex scenes over again if I need to; I’m saving the entire
    season to my Hopper. It’s nice to have a DVR with a lot of memory during this
    time of year.

  • Keith M

    Am I the only one who thinks the prominence the Lou Malnati’s sign could be a clue in the show? Sounds eerily similar to “Illuminati” doesn’t it?