Wednesday, October 3, 2012

You Say You Want a Revolution...

Back in the summer when I first saw the previews for NBC's new series Revolution, I have to admit that it looked dead terrible. From the lighting, to the sword fights, everything about it felt wrong. In the end though, I decided J.J. Abrams had earned at least a shot, though my expectations were really, really low. Three episodes in however, I have to say I'm enjoying it. Mostly because of the obvious Star Wars connections.

The show has done a good job managing intrigue. There's a lot more going on than I'd expected, but that's more the fault of duds like Tera Nova and the painfully slow pacing that sometimes ruins Fallen Skies. So far on Revolution, things seem to be happening really quickly. I think they've been able to do that because the world they've created already feels vast and there's a lot they can explore. Sure, it suffers from a good amount of forced dialogue, most of it delivered poorly. And the narrative structure is lifted almost completely from Lost with its pairing off of characters and the use of flashback to set-up dramatic scenes. But there's also a lot to love about. The action scenes are done well and the world is appropriately brutal without being too depressing.

For me, the most entertaining part are the Star Wars allusions that run throughout the show. There's a Han Solo, a Princess Leia, a girl version of Luke, an Empire, a Rebellion, and there was even a Catina scene. The relationship dynamics mirror those of the Star Wars characters, as do their personality traits. On top of that universe, they've layered a dystopian "Fall of America" theme. Enter the The Hunger Games allusions. One could almost believe the younger cast members were auditioned for Hunger Games look-a-likes. There's also a lot of story elements borrowed from the late great Jericho show. The amazing thing is that it all kind of works and that's what makes the show fun.

There is clearly a ton of story potential that could keep this going and improving. If the characters and writers can get everything clicking, this could become as good as Firefly. More than likely it will end up another concept show that couldn't deliver like The Cape, or Terra Nova. But for now, I'm remaining hopeful...besides, it's nice to have Han Solo back fighting the Empire.

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