tek's rating: ¾

Revolution, NBC
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Caution: spoilers!

I guess I could have filed this show under "science fiction," or "mysterious," but "action/adventure" seems to be what it's mostly about.

Created by Eric Kripke (who previously created Supernatural), and executive produced by J.J. Abrams (who's done tons of stuff, including Lost, to which this show is bound to draw comparisons, due to its mysterious nature and occasional flashbacks). The show apparently starts sometime around the present (2012), but most of the action will take place 15 years in the future. Early in the pilot episode, all electrical devices in the world simply stop working, and supposedly they're never going to work again. However, there's a man named Ben Matheson who obviously knew it was about to happen. His wife, Rachel (played by Elizabeth Mitchell, of "Lost" and V), also apparently knew something. At the time of the blackout, they had two young children: a little girl named Charlie, and her younger brother, Danny (who has asthma, and I guess more serious health issues). So... in the future, I think Danny is in his late teens, and Charlie must be in her early 20s. The Mathesons originally lived in Chicago, but now they're part of a small community living somewhere outside the city. Rachel apparently died at some point in the last 15 years. Since then, Ben has become involved with a doctor named Maggie. Another important member of the community is Ben's friend Aaron Pittman, a former multi-millionaire Google executive who's now a teacher.

It seems none of the world's familiar governments survived the blackout, but there are local warlords, each with their own militias. The Mathesons' community is within the Monroe Republic, led by General Sebastian Monroe. (The capital is Philadelphia.) A group of Monroe's soldiers, led by Captain Tom Neville, show up looking for Ben. Monroe wants them to bring Ben to him for some reason, as well as Ben's brother, Miles. There's an altercation in which Ben is killed, so the militia takes Danny, instead. With his dying breath, Ben tells Charlie to look for her uncle Miles in Chicago. She heads off, accompanied by Maggie and Aaron. (Earlier, Ben had given Aaron a pendant, which we'd seen him using just before the blackout; it seems to be a flash drive or something.) Before long they're joined by a young man named Nate. However, soon after they meet Miles, it turns out that Nate was actually part of the militia, and betrays them. (Which gives Miles an opportunity to show us what a major badass fighter he is.) Anyway, Charlie wanted Miles to help them look for and rescue Danny. He refused at first, but eventually agrees. Miles also explains that Monroe thought Ben knew what had happened to the world's power, and possibly how to restore it. Which would let Monroe dominate all the other warlords. And Monroe thought Ben had shared his secret with Miles (which apparently he hadn't).

Um... anyway, there's a woman named Grace Beaumont, who also has a pendant like the one Ben gave Aaron, and it allows her to activate electrical devices. We also learn that at the time of the blackout, Miles had been a Marine sergeant, as had "General" Monroe, who had been a friend of his. And it turns out that for probably ten years or so, Miles had been the head of Monroe's militia, before he decided his friend had lost it. Anyway, throughout the first half of season one, lots of stuff happens, but the main focus is Charlie, Aaron, and Miles trying to rescue Danny. (Maggie dies fairly early on.) And they're joined by a woman named Nora Clayton, an old friend of Miles's who is currently part of an organization of rebels who want to restore the United States. Oh, and we soon learn that Rachel is actually alive, and has been Monroe's prisoner for some time. And "Nate" is actually Jason Neville, Tom's son. (Tom is soon promoted to major.) Though Jason's relationship with his father quickly deteriorates, partly because Tom is such an ass, and partly because Jason develops feelings for Charlie. So he'll eventually join the rebels. By the end of the first half of season one, Monroe acquires an amplifier that, you know, amplifies the power of the pendants (of which he acquires at least a couple; I can never remember how many pendants there are or who has them). So, he has power, which gives him a distinct advantage over his enemies. He can power tanks and helicopters and whatnot. Meanwhile, Rachel is finally reunited with Charlie and the others... but then Danny gets killed.

In the second half of the season, Kelly Foster, the president of Georgia Federation, gives Miles an important position in her own military, and he and the rebels help fight Monroe. But due to circumstances I don't want to explain, Tom Neville was forced to leave the Monroe Republic, and joined Georgia's military. Which is an uncomfortable situation for pretty much everyone, since everyone hates him. Especially Jason. Meanwhile, Rachel becomes determined to head across country to a Tower, where the power could be turned back on for everyone, which would mean Monroe no longer had an advantage. (The Tower is in the former Colorado, which is now a part of the Plains Nation.) But there's a man named Randall Flynn, from the former U.S. Department of Defense, who had been a part of the project Ben and Rachel Matheson had been involved in. Oh yes, we learn why the power went out, but I don't want to get into that. Anyway, Flynn begins working with Monroe, whom he tells about the Tower. So both sides now want to reach it. Also, Nora ends up dying. By the end of the season, the power finally gets turned back on, but it turns out Flynn had a secret mission of his own, which sets up a major game-changer for season two. So I look forward to finding out what happens from here on out.

Season two picks up six months later, but of course there will still be flashbacks. The power had only been on for a few minutes, during which time Flynn launched nuclear missiles that destroyed Philadelphia and Atlanta. Then the power went out again, possibly permanently. Now, people calling themselves "Patriots" work on re-establishing the United States of America, and with the Monroe Republic and Georgia Federation in disarray, it's easy for them to take over the east coast. Flynn had been working for them, but they claim Monroe and Foster were responsible for the missiles. Tom and Jason were in a Savannah refugee camp looking for Tom's wife, though it doesn't seem like they'll find her. But when Tom hears the claims of the Patriots, he makes it his new mission to take them down. Meanwhile, Charlie's on her own somewhere in the Plains Nation, I guess, but finds out that Monroe is nearby. So she wants to kill him. Meanwhile, Rachel, Miles, and Aaron have been staying in Willoughby, Texas. They brought Rachel there to stay with her father, Gene Porter, because she apparently had a nervous breakdown, after her involvement in the events that led to the destruction of Philadelpha and Atlanta. And Aaron is now involved with a woman named Cynthia. So he's happy, but he's also concerned that weird things have been happening since the Tower. Meanwhile, Rachel is doing better, so Miles is planning on leaving. But then it turns out some war clan is about to invade town, so he stays. And Aaron gets killed, but then comes back to life. And that's just in the season premiere.

And... lots of other stuff happens throughout the season. The war clan attacks were actually instigated by the Patriots, so that their own military could come in and "save" Willoughby. From then on, the Patriots controlled the town, under the leadership of a soldier named Edward Truman. (His position is tenuous, though, as his superiors are rarely pleased with the job he's doing.) Miles, Rachel, and Charlie try to stop the Patriots' plans, because the Patriots aren't the good guys they claim to be. Gene was forced to work for them at first, but he eventually joins his daughter and her friends in opposing them. They will also eventually be joined by Monroe, who mainly wants to defeat the Patriots so he can get his Republic back. Unfortunately, most of the townsfolk of Willoughby continue to trust the Patriots, who paint Miles and the others as terrorists. Meanwhile, the Patriots back east capture Jason and send him to a brainwashing camp, to turn him into a soldier they can control completely. (There are numerous such camps, turning lots of young people into blindly obedient soldiers, and they eventually start doing the same thing in Willoughby.) Oh, and last season, Monroe had learned that a woman he'd been involved with years ago had a son he never knew about. This season, he meets his son, a young man named Connor. After initially being enemies, they eventually become allies. And I guess Connor and Charlie kind of have a thing for each other. And the Patriots form an alliance with Texas, which they plan to trick into starting a war with California, which would weaken both countries and make it easy for the Patriots to take over, themselves.

And Aaron eventually learns that the nanites which were responsible for the blackout have gained sentience and godlike powers. Yes they did. (Sigh. I avoided explaining last season's revelation, but I guess now I have to.) Um... so this government project run by Randall Flynn, in which Rachel and Ben had been involved, had actually used some kind of program or algorithm or whatever, that had been devised by Aaron, his wife Priscilla, and a friend of theirs. Of course, they had no idea the government used their work this way (or at all). But we learn more about that this season. (We saw Priscilla a few times last season, but she's more important this season, and I think it's only now that we learn she was actually a colleague of Aaron's.) Anyway, the nanites (or just "nano") now think of them as their parents, so they claim to "love" them, though they still don't understand much about humanity. The nano want to learn about people, and when they do, they naturally come to the conclusion that people are generally pretty terrible. (I can't really argue with that.) So they come up with a plan to alter everyone's minds, basically make people docile drones. Of course Aaron and Priscilla want to stop them, but it's kind of hard to fight god, you know? Anyway... by the end of the season, the good guys manage to prove to the Texas Rangers that the Patriots are bad guys, so there'll be a war, just not the one the Patriots were hoping for. (Miles says they'd probably defeat the Patriots by the end of the summer, which I assume means the war could just happen while the show was on hiatus between seasons two and three.) But after Aaron and Priscilla (with some help from Rachel) put a stop to the nano's immediate plans, it's revealed that the nano's larger plan is just beginning, and they'll be the major enemy in season three. Which actually looked to me like it might be more interesting than the first two seasons. Alas, the show was cancelled after season two, so we won't get to see what happens next.

Well, I've left out countless plot details and various semi-important characters, throughout the series. As for my overall impression of the show... it didn't sustain my interest at as high a level as I might have hoped, but I liked it well enough to keep watching. (I would have been happy enough for it to end after two seasons, if it hadn't ended on such an interesting cliffhanger.) The show had a reasonably good premise, and there's always room for more details of the post-blackout world to be explored. We've seen very little besides the Monroe Republic and a bit of Georgia and later Texas, but there are other nations within what used to be the United States. And we've seen nothing of the world beyond the former U.S., so I'd like to see what's been going on in other countries for the last fifteen years. Um... anyway, the action has always been reasonably good. The drama's okay. There's not a great deal of humor, though the show's not humorless. The characters are just okay. And... yeah, I guess that's all I can say.


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