NBC ran an extended preview of its new show Revolution last night during the Olympics. (I’ve posted it after the jump, but I would love it if you would keep reading this pre-amble first. You don’t have to! I’m just stating my preference!) The show was created by JJ Abrams, obvs, and the premise seems to be that there was some cataclysmic world event that destroyed electricity and shunted human kind back into the dark ages. Now it is 15 years later and things have gotten real Mad Max but also real that History channel documentary about what New York would look like if all the humans disappeared and the plants started riding the subways (which itself was based on that book). Sure! Also, I guess someone has a magic locket that turns the electricity back on, and they use it to hack into Lost island’s intranet. Just in case you were worried that you were going to watch a sci-fi show about a post-Apocalyptic nightmare world without power, there might be some power! And a fight for the power! And apparently a blog about the power! All of this is totally promising and fun, except that I feel like we’ve been down this road before. And before. And before. Burn me once, shame on me. Burn me every season, shame on JJ Abrams.

I like the idea of big budget, fantastical, high concept adventure shows! The problem is that they are almost always a disappointment. Even if you take the last “successful” one, which I’m going to say was Lost, the ratings declined year over year and people remain INFURIATED by the series finale. (Personally, I was OK with it, but I can see their point.) And that’s the best one! Since then we have had any number of attempts to recreate that lackluster magic, each more disappointing than the last. There was The Event, which had a decent premiere episode full of disappearing airplanes and tropical getaways and alien conspiracies and presidents under siege, but by episode two it was already like, eh, nah. There was The River, which, don’t even get me started on The River. “We need to put the baby bones in the ghost’s tummy or else we’ll never find my lost daddy in ragdoll forest!” Alcatraz had some time travel or something in it, I think, but there’s no way to know, because not a single human being ever saw Alcatraz. And, of course, Terra Nova. Haha. Terra Nova! Jurassic Park + Lost + New Jack City – Ray Bradbury divided by Spaceballs. OH WELL, THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS.

But so you see a promo for a show like Revolution and you’re like, oh great, here we go again, am I about to get burned? And the answer is yes. We are all going to get burned so hard. That’s what we do best.

Comments (34)
  1. The Revolution will not be televised – Gil Scott-Heron

    For long – Me

  2. I’m no scientist, but I am FAIRLY CERTAIN that this isn’t how electricity works.

    • Yeah. From watching the promos, it seems like there’s some sort of event that causes electricity to cease to exist? That’s not a thing. Even if Sauron got the 9, the 7, the 3, and the 1 all together in the same place and tried to blink it out of existence, there would still be electricity.

    • I’m no geologist or cartographer, but there is not a single geographical thing within walking/hiking distance of Chicago that would cause a waterfall like that to happen. Maybe southern Illinois or Indiana or even the Kettle Moraine, but not that big of a waterfall. No way. And why is the Chicago Theater sign now over the Chicago river???


      • So what you’re saying is you have aneurysms every time you watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

      • I figured it was because the locks stopped working and the lake flooded the city. They should have thought of that before they reversed the flow of the river! On the plus side, if the flood extended to Lakeview, I could take a water taxi to work, but from the looks of Wrigley, that’s sadly not the case.

    • I’m certain this show is gonna be dumb but I’m also intrigued by it. The question is whether it will be interesting enough to make me ignore how dumb it is.

      • That was literally why I watched all of Alcatraz. I guess I was the only one. :(

        • I liked it too! I was pretty bummed when it got canceled. But everything’s trying to be the next Lost which is dumb because it was pretty expensive to make, I think.

          • H+ looks really promising. And it starts streaming tomorrow. And Bryan Singer helped create it. And so did Brian from Hep Alien!! (Actually I know for a fact H+ will be great.)

        • I watched it. It was the one show of this type that probably could have stuck with the “write each episode as its own entity while still have a serial type theme”. Fringe tried that, but “The Pattern” just sort of morphed into the alternate universe thing.

    • I really am confused y this too. So would my crank flashlight not even work in this scenario? Even Gilligan’s Island could get some electricity from Gilligan pedaling a bike every now and then when they needed it.

  3. Gus Fring is going to burn us.

  4. the only revolution I will be a fan of starts with “Prince &….”

  5. The hyperlink text for the book you mentioned read’ The World Without Alan Weisman’, and I thought, jeepers, we can’t let anything happen to this guy. We’d be hosed.

  6. The Lost recaps were probably my favorite parts of these interweb zone environs. More favorite than the WMOAT even. I liked how Gabe kind of cared about the show even though he made fun of it for a living. I myself liked the final season but was only on board for the recaps . The problem with these type of shows is that there is no clear end. If you’re going to make stories with magic and such they must follow some kind of constant rules or I lose interest. I’m not trying to diss fantasy and Sci-Fai One of my favorite TV shows of all time is The Twilight Zone because even though it has some arbitrary twist, the end is quick and usually there’s a point.
    Anyways, that last ramble had no point but have you guys seen Silent Light? Pretty rad movie if you don’t mind the slow pace.

    • I know I should proofread my comments but I can’t. There’s no time to explain the reason, just come with me to the other side of the island.

  7. Juliette’s nose keeps merging with the rest of her face.

  8. Christ, I already don’t care. The world went back to the dark ages, and now… what? We have to shoot things? Somebody is maybe evil? People will be walking around? What the hell am I even supposed to care about here? The only interesting thing in the story has already happened.

  9. I think they played a teaser trailer during the Opening Ceremony and IT WAS SLOW AND DULL AND MOVE ON ALREADY, just like all those shows Gabe strikethrough’d in the headline.

    Obviously no show is going to top Lost, at least not for another 25 years. Lost was essentially a rip-off of the Watchmen graphic novel in its storytelling and The Prisoner in its setting and framework. Both came out roughly FOREVER AGO, but JJ Abrams and co were smart (or just lucky) to’ve waited to create this show when they did because it worked.

    These networks need to just hold onto their butts until we’ve elected our first furry into the oval office. And, in the meantime, make compelling dramas like basically everything on HBO. We need dramas, not sci-fi, because we are all too smart to be interested in any of these ideas for sci-fi/fantasy/mystery shows.

    I unfortunately watched several Alcatraz and The River episodes and was so utterly disappointed with it. There was no intrigue. And you know why?! It’s because I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome Lost was and its narrative structure and its intrigue and had me wanting to never stop watching episodes until it finished, even if the ending was sort of… I won’t go there.

  10. From JJ Abrams*

    *Guys, listen, LOST was a one-time special thing and this new thing is not going to match your fondness for it and it probably isn’t even going to be as enjoyable as my Star Trek reboot, but probably it will be sort of OK and tedious and definitely a lot better if we get a second season. And if you don’t want to watch it, no big deal — I have like 7 billion other projects in the works.

  11. I saw an ad for this, and an ad for poor-man’s Bourne-zombie (I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention) tv show The Arrow and just thought:
    “I get it. Because some people like The Hunger Games.”
    And then I watched some more Olympic soccer, because I have priorities and taste.

  12. Of course, it’s a bunch of white people getting threatened by a black guy and a Latino. How not-very-racist-at-all.

  13. I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but NBC has another show that’s sort of wacky and actually enjoyable. They film it in my town, and I’m a big fan. A bunch of people that used to work on Angel are behind it and they use the real fairy tales in all their gruesome original intent to do an offbeat crime procedural.

    It’s called Grimm and you can start watching the second season of it on Monday, August 13th at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central).

    I highly recommend it!!

    • I was gonna make a joke in my Alcatraz response up there about “well at least we still have Grimm, amirite” but this is way better…
      Seriously guys, Grimm is a pretty great show. Watch it!

    • Grimm is pretty okay but I wonder if I only like it because I recognize all the places they film. My friend hates it because they’re always blocking off streets near where she works downtown. This was a fascinating story and to apologize I recommend BBC drama series. All of them. Hunted looks like it’ll be great!

      • I like it because the real* fairy tale stories were horrifying. HORRIFYING. And at the end of the day they were always some kind of a lesson to teach kids to stay the hell out of the woods — regardless of how awful their lives were. And most of the murders seem to parallel this rather well, which is the #1 reason I don’t go jogging alone in Forest Park in the middle of the night. Plus Pilates Wolf is so great and the story lines have totally gotten better after they knew they could do more arcs — and they started bringing in guest stars I adore. And I love the goofy Portland inside jokes where the good guys all live in NE and the bad guys all live in the Pearl or weird suburb enclaves of SE/SW, death by flashmob, Hansel and Gretel as heroin addict kids living under the Burnside bridge, etc. If it messed up my commute all the time, I think I’d be less enthused (but I work from home so that would mean they were filming in my house and I’d get some rad location $$$).

        *I took German in high school and we read pre-Grimm versions of these stories and the vocab word I used every day was totenschlagen = to beat to death. The Grimm Brothers cleaned up these stories A LOT and they’re still pretty rough. Plus it’s cool that they’re using folklore from around the world and not just stuff the Grimms compiled.

  14. http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/01/17/alcatraz-ratings/ GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT. People watched Alcatraz and it should’ve been renewed. It was a really underrated series, imho. But people def watched.

  15. What about FlashForward? Don’t leave that off the list of “the next LOST!” failed shows.

  16. Heroes… that was another wanna be “Lost” show that i stuck too for 4 damn seasons through every dumb plot twist and suddenly Claire is a lesbian. I think about Heroes and i want to set myself on fire because i really had to hang in there praying that it’d get better. so now i stay away from sci-fi shows until they’ve had at least one season and someone recommends it.

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