What's in the whiskey, bitch?!
September 19, 2012 9:03 pmLindsay Krämer
Revolution, is a drama/action series about the aftermath of the world's electricity supply suddenly cutting out (Sabotaged? Overburdened to the point of breaking? We're not sure, but Ben Matheson was).
The show opens with a phone conversation between brothers Ben and Niles Matheson. Ben is warning Miles that “it's going to happen” and Niles seems not to believe him. Niles is driving along in Florida when his car and his phone cut out. Dead in his tracks, Niles steps out onto the highway and sees that all the cars are at a complete stop. Every single one of them, stopped with a perfect, safe following distance between each car. I have a strong feeling it wouldn't turn out that way here in New Jersey, but anyhoo, we cut back to Ben and he's rushing into his house where his wife and kids are freaking out. He has a device that looks like a tiny USB drive, which we're told is incredibly important. Nothing more, just that it's important.
Fast-forward 15 years and we find the Matheson family living in a tribe-like society, fearing the local warlord, Monroe. Mom (Elizabeth Mitchell) has since died and Dad's married an English woman. When Monroe's cronies come to town demanding their taxes, Ben and company put up a fight. They lose. His son, Danny (Graham Rogers) is kidnapped and Ben is mortally wounded, leaving his daughter Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) in charge of the device that's likely the key to turning the power back on. He dies cradled in her hands, staying alive just long enough to choke out instructions for her. No longer, no shorter. Just long enough to tell her to get to Chicago to find Niles.
So Charlie sets out with her stepmom and father's friend Aaron (Zak Orth) to go to Chicago and find her uncle. A few somewhat cheesy action sequences occur. They team up with Nate Walker (J.D. Pardo) and eventually make it to Chicago, where Niles is a bartender. There's a lot of drinking going down in this show, enough to make you assume everybody's been hoarding liquor since the blackout, or perhaps had nothing better to do than sit around and drink, but there's definitely a liquor motif. During their journey to Chicago, our heroes get jumped by some Monroe bandits. Nora, Charlie's stepmother, has a small bottle of whiskey, which one of the guys steals. He and the other thug drink it, then begin to spontaneously bleed from their mouths. I'm not sure why. They just do. And he shouts, “What's in the whiskey, bitch?!” which turned out to be the best line of the episode.
Which leads me to one of my biggest complaints, the dialogue. It's cliché to the point of tasting like chicken. Very, very bland chicken with some equally bland cheese melted on it. Without any kind of depth, the characters are difficult to identify with and ultimately, root for. I knew Charlie lost her parents and had to save her brother, and I was well-aware that she needed to get to her uncle and possibly holds the key to solving the crisis that had plunged society into a nomadic, wood-burning, alcohol-infused nightmare, but I just couldn't bring myself to truly care. And that's the biggest problem with this series early on: it doesn't do enough to make you care. The special effects are awesome, yes, but the characters and their plight? You want to be invested, it's a cool concept, but they're just too flat to get into. I know, it's only the pilot, maybe next week's episode will be more compelling. I hope so. I think this show definitely has promise, but the first episode was kind of poorly executed. Lots of action, not much story. It ends up with Charlie and the group uniting with Niles, he decides he wants to just drink himself to death on the last bottle of single-malt scotch, but after a surprise attack from Monroe, they realize it's not safe and head off. To where? We find out next week. Before the episode's close, however, we find that Danny escaped from his captors and was taken in by a woman who has the same device Ben gave to Charlie.
The strongest points of Revolution? The concept. It comments on our reliance on technology and how society as we know it would crumble without it and the action scenes. Yes, they're a bit on the cheesy side. But if you like 'em, Revolution's got 'em.
The weakest points are the dialogue and the characters spewing it. These just didn't hold up to the plot, which turns out to be disappointing. You need strong characters to support any good story. Unfortunately, these guys aren't up to the challenge. Not the actors, but the characters themselves. I got the feeling the actors don't have much to work with. I'll give them a chance next week though because like I said, it was only the pilot.
And for some reason, most of the paved roads are gone. Despite not being driven on, at least with cars, for the past fifteen years. Don't ask me to answer that one for you, either.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10