Tuesday, September 4, 2012

'Revolution' Advanced Review - 1.01 Pilot

        In the premiere episode of NBC's new drama Revolution, an unknown phenomenon permanently disables all advanced technology on the planet and fifteen years later, the Matheson family possess an item that could be the key to figuring out what happened and possibly reverse its effects.

        I didn't really find anything immediately wrong with the pilot episode of NBC's new drama, Revolution, but it just didn't excite me as much as I wanted it to.
        The show has a phenomenal cast with Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and The Twilight Saga's Billy Burke. I have high praise for all them and was hoping to be drawn in to one of the newcomers' character. However, I walked away from the pilot only really looking forward to seeing more from Esposito's Captain Neville and Burke's Miles Matheson. Mitchell is terribly underutilized in the show - only appearing in the brief flashbacks - which may be due to replacing Andrea Roth after the original pilot was filmed. However, she is only set to appear in those flashbacks so I have my concerns that the show won't completely use her as effectively as they could have. The rest of the cast either is to bland or just weren't given anything exciting to do. Elements of Tracy Spiridakos' character work but like Burke's character said near the end, other parts need to be toned down a little. I am also intrigued by the closing development with Maria Howell's character but I'm left wondering how she will be integrated with the rest of the cast - she worked really well opposite Esposito but by episode's end it seems she will be by herself for awhile.
        The show's premise is set up really early in the pilot - which is usually a good sign - but the rest of the episode at times suffers from some pacing issues and almost too much exposition for the characters. The pacing issues stem from the fact that in this episode there are three distinct "chapters" of story - none of which have exactly quite the perfect amount of time given to them. The flashbacks intrigue me very much but they are just too brief and too few of them. The show will continue to offer those moments in small doses but I'm unsure if I'll be able to sit through everything in order to get to those compelling scenes. The journey to Chicago was very awkwardly timed. It felt like the show wanted it covered half the pilot (and just that) to happen with those four characters develop. The journey had elements of intrigue but they were all watered down so the show could just get to the action in Chicago. The journey sequences either needed to be cut down or reworked so it could cover multiple episodes. The Chicago stuff - especially the fight sequence - is entertaining but due to the longevity of what came before it, it had to be abbreviated to fit the time constraints so those moments weren't as nuanced as those proceeding it.
        I really found grading this episode to be very difficult and more of a struggle than other shows that I cover. On one hand, I want to give it a 'C' because it has so much potential and a terrific cast that it just doesn't tap quite enough into. But I also came away thinking of possibly giving it a 'B-' because of how well-executed certain moments in the pilot were (especially the last act). In the end, I just decided to meet in the middle with the overall episode grade. Moving forward the show quickly needs to decide what it exactly wants to become on a week-to-week basis. If that core is strong, this series could grow into a very exciting thriller.

Revolution officially premieres on NBC on Monday, September 17 at 10/9c.

So what did everyone think of the pilot? Will you stick around for Episode 2? Share your thoughts in the comments.