Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Revolution is improving – but still has some work to do

NBC’s biggest hit of the season so far – the high concept ‘Revolution’ -- aired its mid-season finale this week and I can’t help but be thankful that the show continues to improve from outing to outing.

‘Revolution’ was one of the few shows I was excited about when it debuted this fall – and I was a left a little cold by its debut. I was surprised by my disappointment. This show was developed by Eric Kripke (‘Supernatural’) and JJ Abrams (‘Lost’) – I couldn’t see how they could go so wrong.

Still, I like high-concept shows, so I tuned in again the next week – and the episode was better.

So I turned in the next week – and the episode was better.

I’m not going to pretend that ‘Revolution’ is perfect – because it does have a few issues.

The first is, I’m not sure how the science behind the blackout actually stands up. I mean, sure it killed all the power at the time, but what’s to stop someone from harnessing electricity – or wind power or solar power – and starting over from scratch?

Also, like everyone else, I was not a fan of the show’s central character – Queen Charlie of the Pout – when the show first started. She was whiny and self-absorbed, and she had very little rooting power. At least they slowly seem to be making her more likable -- and less likely to quiver her bottom lip to get her own way every five minutes.

Thankfully, the show had Billy Burke in that first episode and I find him infinitely watchable in just about everything – except the putrid ‘Twilight’ series.

A few episodes in, it was revealed that Elizabeth Mitchell’s Rachel Matheson was actually alive. I don’t think this surprised anyone. Mitchell is too strong of an actress to be used only in flashback scenes. Still, she was kept separated from the main action – and drama – of the show and was largely a waste the whole first half of the season.

All that changed this week, when Burke’s Miles managed to free his nephew, Danny, and his sister-in-law Rachel from the clutches of the man that used to be his best friend – Sebastian Monroe – and who is now his arch nemesis.

Monday’s episode was pretty tight – and there was a lot of stuff to get through.

First Miles threatened Giancarlo Esposito’s Captain Neville with the death of his wife (a wasted Kim Raver) – if he didn’t free his friends. Esposito is always engrossing, and Neville is a richly drawn villain. I’m looking forward to learning more about his backstory.

Meanwhile, Charlie was reunited with the mother she thought was dead and the brother she desperately hoped was still alive. Graham Rogers (Danny) is the weakest acting link in the bunch – and he is really charisma-free. He’s got about as much screen presence as a couple of the actors from ‘Gossip Girl’ – which is to say, none.

I would also like to learn more about Miles’ past with both Rachel and Monroe – and given Rachel’s greeting to Miles was a great big smack across the face – I can’t wait to see how things play out between these two. Will Charlie still believe Miles can do no wrong when she finds out he was initially responsible for having her locked up? And just how trustworthy is Rachel?

My problems with the show revolve the science at its center – and the lack of historic context for the way people are living. Something just doesn’t “fit” in this scenario. I’m hoping that the show runners continue to work out the kinks, though, as things go on.

I think NBC might have a winner here. Burke and Mitchell look to have what should be explosive chemistry – and now that everyone isn’t focused on Danny constantly, maybe he’ll get a little character development (and a lot less annoying).

I think my favorite thing about ‘Revolution’ has been the slow way the show has bolstered the uncle and niece relationship between Charlie and Miles. He’s offered her some stability, and she’s offered him a reason to actually care. They've become the heart of the show.

Here’s hoping that, in the new year, ‘Revolution’ continues to grow -- and doesn't take any steps backs. The more they distance themselves from that weak pilot, the better.

What do you think? Is ‘Revolution’ better or worse than you thought it would be?


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