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Monday, 25 of March of 2019

Audition Review: Revolution – “Pilot”

Nick and I have become oddly addicted to these cross-talks (they’re less labor-intensive than full reviews), so expect more of these (but we promise to continue full reviews).

Below, we’ll discuss Revolution in terms of hopes, dreams, stupid teenagers, and why Giancarlo Esposito basically does no wrong. We’re both hopeful for it, and want it do well, but the pilot doesn’t instill confidence. -NK

Noel: It was like both Kripke and Abrams worst impulses together in 44 minutes

Nick: My eyes rolled back so far in my head every time Charlie talked or did anything. She was a lot more helpless than I thought she’d be. If she didn’t actually start the expedition (as opposed to tagging along) I’d say she was the new Kate Austen.

Noel: It was a weird mix of “I want to be tough and awesome” and “I’ve lived a surprisingly sheltered life despite the end of the world as it was known.”

Nick: Which can make for an interesting character. And an annoying one.

Noel: I think there’s potential for Charlie, but it’s also really rushed. (At the same time, I’m not sure I would’ve handled a 2-hour pilot.) But I think we can agree that Danny, Charlie’s brother, is probably too dumb to live.

Nick: The worst. He’s like the Jason Stackhouse of this show in that he just bumbles into bad situations he’s not prepared to deal with but, somehow, he keeps surviving on wits he shouldn’t have.

Noel: I mean, what kid with asthma decides, “Hey. I’m really thirsty. LET ME TAKE SOME GULPS OF WATER FROM THIS UNCOVERED BARREL.” Electricity is what stopped working, Danny, not pollen.

Nick: Ha! Right?!

Can we also talk about the teacher? How bad did they want Greg Grunberg for that role?

Noel: I don’t know what to do with Aaron. I feel like he’s there to balance out that that Maggie and, to a lesser extent, Charlie, are supposedly fairly good at this sort of thing (surviving), but that the series needed a “nerd,” so hey, let’s make him a fat, funny, ex-Google exec! On the flip side, I really do like Zak Orth, but, yes, the role does feel a bit Grunbergian.

Nick: I’m curious as to why he’s not in it. What’s he doing? Wallowing in the sorrow that Love Bites didn’t make it?

Noel: Even though I pretty well guessed that Billy Burke’s (and Burke’s really good in this, but he’s also got the second meatiest part so far) buddy in the flashbacks was going to be the Monroe, but a bit of me was holding out for an evil Grunberg. So maybe he’s being saved for something else, but I have a feeling (and a hope) that this ends up being more Kripke’s show than Abrams’s.

Nick: How amazing would an evil Grunberg be?

Noel: I think they tried that in Heroes at some point.

Nick: Heroes was too much of a mess to do that right. And, one episode in, I hope Revolution isn’t going to be a mess. I honestly don’t want another Flash-Forward.

Noel: I don’t think that’s very likely.

I hope that it ends up being more of a Kripke show than an Abrams show. While I said that the pilot feels like both of their worst impulses — death of a significant other motivating the main character into their call to action, ham-fisted talk of family, and mysterious MacGuffins — the whole road show is what Kripke did for five years on Supernatural, and it worked really well once he got a firmer grip on that material. So I’m hoping that, after this pilot, Kripke finds his Supernatural style again, and the exchanges between this new family find a less stereotypical rhythm.

Nick: Good point. They hopefully smooth out the conversation of themes (“Did you hear what I said? FAMILY!”) and it gets snappier.

Noel: Was there stuff about the pilot you did like?

Nick: Esposito’s character. There was the tendency there to make him an archetypical henchman with a basic motivation (going home). But Esposito brought a vulnerability (and now trademark creepiness) to a formula role. I dug it.

Noel: Agreed. I think there’s a bit more to him than “going home.” I mean, while I hate little speeches like “I was an insurance adjuster. I figured if people were lying.” was a bit on the nose, but there’s a sense of pragmatism to the character that I really like. I don’t know that he’s a firm believer in THE CAPE’S Monroe’s vision (whatever that vision may be).

Nick: That’s something I wish we had more on. Monroe. Why is he different than everyone else? Why didn’t Uncle Drunken Samurai become a warlord?

Noel: I think Miles mentions having been involved for a while, but got out at some point (hence his hiding in a really cool building that no one seems to disputes his ownership of because he’s a badass).

Nick: He is a badass. They spent some time developing an “American-style” of swordfighting. Worth it?

Noel: It was very cool, but I do not expect it to re-surface for a while. That whole sequence is very good, but had to be very time consuming to film. You can take that time on a pilot, but week-to-week? No way.

Nick: Maybe just boss battles.

Noel: So are you intrigued abut Revolution? I must admit that I want it do well because I want a good, overtly sci-fi show on broadcast TV, but this pilot doesn’t instill confidence. The whole computer thing REALLY irked me for reasons that I cannot articulate (the mother is so not dead) beyond the fact that the mystery of why the power went out doesn’t concern me. It may interest me, but it doesn’t concern me.

Nick: I agree. I want it to do well, too. The pilot was a little shaky, for sure, but, like we always say, pilots are hard, particularly for a show of this magnitude where you have to build characters, plot, and ALSO a fantastical setting. The computer thing irked me, too, particularly since the modem lines would mean that those little brass widgets have to be on all the time at switches across the area (at least). She connected pretty fast.

Oh, and the mother is DEFINITELY not dead. (1) You don’t cast Elizabeth Mitchell in a role for ten minutes and (2) no body, no grave = alive until I see otherwise.

Noel: ZOMBIE ELIZABETH MITCHELL!

So you want to check back in with Revolution in a few episodes, see what’s going on?

Nick: It’s a date. With family. FAMILY.


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