JJ Abrams has made some incredible television (in addition to a fantastic reboot of the Star Trek movies), even if those series don’t always have strong endings (I’m looking at you, Lost). And Revolution could be the latest in his string of great shows. Of course, watching this show requires me to get over my dislike of post-apocalyptic shows and books, a dislike that may be based in part on the fact that sci fi references to apocalypses often refer to all the lawyers being killed. (On the plus side, io9 just had an encouraging piece on nine predicted disasters that never came to pass…thank goodness.)
Below are my initial impressions of the show and where it could go.
First, JJ clearly has a thing for attractive, young female leads with long, brown hair. Charlie is no exception. While I appreciate her use of a crossbow (and the possible nod to Hunger Games), I’m reserving judgment on whether she’s going to be closer to a Kate (so close but her potential was never realized) or a Sydney (only slightly less cool than Spy Mom and Spy Dad). [Side complaint: Jennifer Garner was so awesome as a bad-ass secret agent. Why does she only play saccharine-sweet characters now?]
Second, Miles is really good at killing people, but apparently a poor judge of character (given his previous connection to the mysterious General Monroe).
Third, watching Grace use a computer (while possessing an inhaler) was certainly intriguing. It was very reminiscent of Lost, but if this foreshadows another dive into the muddled mix of science versus religion with no good answers, I am not sticking around for another cop-out ending. Plus, if she’s part of a some super-secret group who can still use computers, is she really dumb enough to so easily get caught in a lie? Or did she want Danny to be recaptured?
Fourth, and finally, are there any lawyers left? This first episode obviously set up a world in which much of what we take for granted in today’s world is gone and everyone is living a life more familiar to Laura Ingalls Wilder than most Americans living today. But there were lawyers in Laura’s day – and for many centuries before that. Criminal rights, property rights, the resolution of many disputes among adults and businesses…these are all reasons why lawyers are needed, with or without electricity.
Of course, lawyers need a stable system in which to operate and the impression I got from most of the episode was that there was very little government structure left. But by the end of the episode it was clear that the mysterious General Monroe clearly controlled a large organization and, bad or good, he could still use the assistance of lawyers. Plus, Miles made reference to other republics, which implies that there were still ruling structures in place.
Revolution is obviously a mystery. What caused the blackout? Why was there a blackout? Why can Grace (and mysterious “others“) still use electricity and access computers? But part of the attraction is also imagining what would happen if we all instantly regressed a hundred years, give or take a decade. Would we still keep some of the principles that have always been so important to this country – the ideas behind the constition; the belief that we are a nation of laws, not of men? And, if there were still laws, would we recognize them? We’re only one episode in, so I’m sure the questions will continue to build, but I’m interested to see how they answer some of these questions (especially about how the societies are governed). And they’d better not wait too long to give us some answers!