‘Revolution’ Preview: It’s What Happens When the Lights Go Out

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What would happen if the entire world were to lose power? NBC’s new post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, tackles that very question.

Taking place 15 years after a blackout, which knocked out everything from planes to iPhones, the story centers on Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) as she enlists her uncle Miles (Billy Burke, Twilight’s Charlie Swan) to help find her brother after her Dad is killed by the militia which governs the now defunct country. Along the way to Chicago to find her uncle, Charlie meets Nate (JD Pardo) who isn’t who he says he is.

Why was her dad murdered? Flashbacks show us Charlie’s dad, Ben (Tim Guinee), might have had some insight as to why the lights went out, as he was downloading files to a flash drive and telling his wife to get water moments before the world went dark.

So what’s the lowdown on Revolution?

Who’s who: Besides Spiridakos and Burke, Revolution also stars Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) as Captain Neville of the militia. Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) and Aaron (Zak Orth) join Charlie on her adventure to follow her father’s request. Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost plays Rachel Matheson, Charlie’s deceased mother who will appear in flashbacks. Maria Howell plays Grace who appears to know more about the blackout than we think.

Buzz: J.J. Abrams (Lost, Felicity, Fringe). Jon Favreau (Iron Man). Erik Kripke (Supernatural). Revolution’s buzz has to do with its creators. With these three well-known storytellers at the helm, how could you not at least give the show a chance? Favreau also directed the pilot giving it a movie-like quality.

Workin’ it: We were left wanting more as the credits rolled in this pilot, which is always a plus with big concept shows. Just enough plot to keep us intrigued (Did Charlie’s father really know why the power shut off?!?!) and even a couple of twists at the end of the hour; it was enjoyable to watch. Burke was incredible in his role and the brightest part of the pilot. The fight scenes were also fantastically shot.

Not so much: There was some great acting within this first hour of Revolution, but we’d like to care more about the characters in this family. Though we’ll say we do love the focus of a family within the grander mystery of the why and how of the blackout. We’re sure subsequent episodes will provide us with some much-needed backstory. Some of the dramatic scenes took a turn for the hokey as well.

Celebuzz meter (1-10): 8. There’s great people behind and on this show, which makes us think it will/can fill the gigantic shoes it’s trying to step into. However, we’ve seen one too many mystery shows, which have taken on grand concepts and failed. That leaves us a little wary and not wanting to get attached. (We miss you Flash Forward!). Here’s hoping Revolution can take the groove from the pilot and keep us wanting more while satisfying us with some answers along the way.

Revolution premieres Monday, Sept. 17 at 10PM on NBC — but if you can’t wait that long, you can screen the full pilot episode at NBC.com.