My weekly TV column is up at Torontoist.
Don Cherry is obviously the product of breeding between peacocks and flamingos.
There’s been one episode. The pilot. That’s all we have to judge it. And the person running it isn’t actually Abrams but Eric Kripke, who made Supernatural which is at the very least entertaining.
I mean, the show could still turn into The Event Part 2: Alcatraz Boogaloo. But it could also be decent. Jesus people.
There’s been one episode. The pilot. That’s all we have to judge it.
That’s all *you* have to judge it. (He said, a bit smugly.)
Well, isn’t a pilot supposed to be a good representation of a show? A big part of it is showing people why they should watch. If it can’t do that, then it’s a failure, at least as a pilot. Though, some show can improve after a while, I’d say that it’s pretty rare, imho.
From what I’ve heard, Jonathan and Probst are buddy-buddy these days, but I don’t hold that against J-Penn. He got taken out of Fans Vs. Favorites after he got shredded in a poorly-designed course, and I’m good with having him back. I reckon his best moment was winning an account, giving Probst the money, then throwing in a $20 tip.
The best part of this season? No Colton Cumbie. Bringing back injured players might be considered a gigantic “FUCK YOU” to Colton, and I’m okay with it. I do know that Survivor is the place where promise goes to die . . . in contrast to The Challenge, which debuts “Battle Of The Seasons” the same night at 90 minutes. That show is where hope goes to die.
I try not to think about the event.
It will only cause distress.
I think I found an error in your article. Here:
What we’re saying is that this is a bad television show and NBC and executive producer J.J. Abrams should feel bad, and NBC needs to stop trying to capture the Lost lightning in a bottle because that show debuted eight years ago and ended two and a half years ago later, so maybe it’s time to try something else.
I hope you don’t mind that I’ve fixed it for you.
Pilots can sometimes be a bit shaky, and it can take a few episodes for a show to hit its “groove”… but you can usually tell if there’s any hope of that.
Everyone seemed to hate the pilot of Maria Bello’s Prime Suspect, but I thought it had promise and I stuck with it, and then I thought the show got seriously really good.
Revolution pilot seemed so-so to me, I could see it improving, but I could also see it spiralling into major suckitude. Guess I know what MGK would tell me to expect.
But… y’know… apocalypseness!
Maybe it has a chance to get better, maybe not … but the premise is *still* appallingly bad. It’s only slightly less improbable than the Sun being eaten by a giant space bear.
And any fule know that Giant Space Bears only eat… ASTRO SALMON (and nuts and berries).
The problem with the show is that it starts with a deeply stupid premise and goes downhill from there.
Alright MGK, nor tell us how you REALLY feel.
i actually quite like the premise of ‘revolution’. and btw, guns still work because they dont rely on electricity. only electricity stopped working.
but yeah, the pilot sucks donkey balls, and the execution is so fundamentally flawed, i dont see this improving. the focus is all wrong, with very little follow-through on the premise, or focus on character- or world-building; instead we get yet another tired ass conspiracy-mystery. plus, the actress sucks.
Point of Information: If guns still work, internal combustion engines should still work.
Drinking Game Idea: Everytime Katniss (whatever…it’s Katniss) says “because we’re family,” you have to take a shot.
Counterpoint: Most cars have these things called “batteries” and “alternators” that deliver power via electricity to things called “sparkplugs,” which trigger the controlled explosions required for a combustion system. No electrical power = no internal combustion.
I’m sure there are exceptions, but that’s true for the majority of modern internal combustion.
By contrast, guns need a flint and steel (or variation thereof). No electricity required.
kingderella: Don’t blame him for not understanding guns; he’s Canadian.
I’ve never watched Parks and Recreation (SHAME) but given the glowing recommendations I keep seeing I’m planning on changing that.
Oh god, I hate that the Rick Mercer Report and 22 Minutes are our topical shows. They’re both just the most boring sort of soft, inoffensive comedy, and the fact that they’re off for 5 months of the year is bush league as hell. You don’t see John Stewart and Stephen Colbert taking more than a couple of weeks off, do you? Because they’re professionals who actually seem to care about reporting and commenting on the news in an accessible way. The Rick Mercer Report in particular fills me with shame, it should have been the Canadian Daily Show, instead (bearing in mind I haven’t watched it in years) we got a show where Rick Mercer does the occasional sketch and a weekly road trip/ soft interview with a boring politician. HATE.
Secret Princes sounds amazing though. Unlikable rich asshats with titles and money that are holdovers from the feudal systems that haven’t been relevant for decades slumming in Atlanta for kicks? Sign me up, I hope one of them gets beaten up when his handlers accidentally have him go to the wrong part of town. That would please me immensely.
Like everyone else on the face of the Earth, I have no clue why Community got rid of Dan Harmon, but I sincerely hope the new guys don’t screw things up.
Was that a “That Mitchell and Webb Look” reference? High five.
So…let me see if I have this straight….Electricity, the generation of electricity, as a scientific principle, has stopped working? You take a car battery, put copper wires on the terminals, touch the ends together and…nothing? At Hoover Dam, the turbines spin and…nothing? From a computer virus?
That….That’s just epic, EPIC stupid.
@Kaisius: To be fair, I didn’t see anything in the pilot that implies it’s a computer virus that caused the polarity reversal in the neutron flow or whateverthefuck. It honestly COULD be space bears for all we know.
Everyone keeps making unflattering comparisons between Revolution and the Hunger Games (because the protagonist is a young woman who uses a bow, plus it’s all post-apocalypsy and stuff) but honestly it strikes me as a weak, watered down, unambitious version of S.M. Stirling’s “Dies The Fire” series. MonkeyWithTypewriter is right when he says that the problem with Revolution is it starts out with an incredibly stupid premise and then charts a course DOWNhill from there.
Was indeed, @SilverHammerMan.
And when you watch Parks, skip season 1. It’s a mediocre Office ripoff. Season 2 hits the ground good and keeps getting better.
Don’t human nerve signals rely on a mixture of chemicals and electricity?
I mean, electricity either works or it doesn’t.
Also Stirling Cycle engines work just fine with no electricity whatsoever: if any source of heat still exists (wood still burns, right?) then they’d work fine to power lorries and cars.
It’s a good thing there was no meaningful civilization before electricity. Steampunk World, go! Seriously, I would so want an old-school riverboat.
“i actually quite like the premise of ‘revolution’. and btw, guns still work because they dont rely on electricity. only electricity stopped working.”
Except that if you took away all electricity today, but the physics that make gunpowder go boom still worked? You’d still have a LOT of tech. You could adapt to internal combustion engines, steam power, etc. Hell, I’m pretty sure you’d have some maker geeks working on steam engines before planes stopped falling out of the sky.
There’s a book series that has something similar happen, called ‘Dies The Fire.’ In that series, all of it goes. Gunpowder, Steam, etc.. all of it goes away. Now.. I’m not saying the explanation for how it happens is any better (I lost interest in the series), but if you’re going to wipe away tech, you need to be consistent in terms of results. I get the feeling that they probably originally had guns not working, and got overridden by some network guy because guns are cool. Because seriously, being an amazing sword-fighter makes VERY little sense if I can still shoot you in the face with 1/1000 th of the training.
Luckily for the good guys, the bad guys are all storm troopers. So they’re accurate *once* at the very start of the show, and never again.
Has anyone stuck with the Dies the Fire series long enough to find out an explanation? I also gave up on it, but wondered if Stirling actually had some explanation that he wanted to address at some point, or not.
The thing that really bugs me is water and wind power. It’s SO SIMPLE. Both have been used for mills going back… oh hell, centuries. Gears can be carved out of wood. All of that should work and all of it should be in use.
Quick explanation for the characters’ wardrobes, though: I keep seeing people saying “they shouldn’t have nice clothes” and “their clothes should show the wear of 15 years”. And to be honest, I fall more on the side of saying, yeah, it’d be nice if they didn’t look like they stepped off the street of non-apocalyptic today. But people aren’t considering that when The Event Happened, presumably sometime during the total breakdown of civilization, guns weren’t the only thing that people would be raiding WalMart for and stockpiling. Just consider all of the clothing stock of all the K-Marts and WalMarts and Targets and Costcos and malls around the U.S., and realize that those would all have been looted and the contents stockpiled.
It’s actually a pretty good explanation for why it’s “15 years later” but people are wearing “today’s” fashions — that’s what was in the stores at the time, and that’s what people have stockpiles of to replace the stuff that wears out.
I wonder if the show will address that. I’m not holding my breath, just because it does seem to be uninterested in examining the various effects of how things would work; see above re. “why no windmills and water-wheels?”
Apparently in the third book of the second series he provided some form of explanation, but I have not read that book. It’s also been a while since I read it, so I don’t recall exactly which other parts of simple technology didn’t work. I seem to recall steam didn’t, but not what else.
I’m fine with the clothes issue, because as you said, in the end we would lose a lot of people in the direct days after the loss of power, and eventually someone would find the amazon and walmart distribution centers.
But in Revolution, where gunpowder still works? Water, Wind, Steam, and certain gases (like woodgas), should all still be incredibly effective and would keep civilization from completely devolving.
Also, while it’s hard to make new modern guns without electricity, it is not necessarily hard to *maintain* them. There is also a gross-metric ton of modern ammo out there.
1 – I have a magic USB Dongle that lets power work.
2 – You have a magic USB Dongle that lets power work.
3 – So we can communicate.
1 – Where are you getting the power from? (Let’s assume gennie or battery or whatever)
2 – Are you always online just waiting for me to turn up? 24 / 7 / 365?
3 – How exactly does the signal get from me to you. Are there a series of magic dongles for DNS servers, Routers, Repeaters etc? How has noone noticed this?
4 – Is our line a magic dongle? Because otherwise shouldn’t the signal die once it gets out of dongle range?
Is how much I enjoy saying dongle, as stupid as that whole concept? And do we really need another series where characters in the know will refer to things in the most obscure ways so that the viewers are kept in the dark? ‘Did they find it?’ ‘It’s happening!’ ‘You know what happened!’ ‘You know why he wants to see you.’
I’m also having a lot of trouble with the “no electricity works, at all” idea. One of the projects I can just barely remember doing in high school chem lab was building a wet-cell battery, and it wasn’t terribly complicated. Also, I wouldn’t dream of thinking of myself as an engineer, but I think (given enough time) I could figure out how to make a simple generator from a bicycle, some strong magnets, and copper cabling (though I’m sure that last would be hard to come by in a post-collapse world).
But really: *no* electricity? If someone shuffles across a carpet and then touches something metal (or someone’s nose, or whatever), *nothing* happens?
Eli — that would be an awesome scene I think, to have Katlistless scuff her feet on a carpet to try and shock her brother, and then… nothing happens, and the physics guy says “wow, that’s thorough”.
But it’s pretty clear to me that some equivalent of Magic Space Bears are behind the premise of Revolution, so anything inconsistent will be lumped under the umbrella of “because Magic Space Bears”.
in the world of ‘revolution’, steam engines presumably still work. there werent any in the pilot, but why wouldnt they work? the premise is really very simple: no electricity!
and yeah, its not plausible or realistic. as i understand it, one way of writing good sci-fi is to take one implausible idea, then expand on it logically. now, ‘revolution’ fails because the execution, characters, and plot are dull; and instead of exploring its own premise properly, it immediately breaks its own rules with that magical ubs stick. but i dont see how “electricity stops working” as a concept is any more stupid than “disease turns people into zombies”, or “all carriers of a y chromosome die”.
(granted, nervous systems are obviously still working, so yeah, i guess thats a… not a plot hole… a concept hole? and im curious if the writers of ‘revolution’ will remember that lightning doesnt exist anymore, either… so no dramatic thunderstorms in the background!)
So. . . All the electric eels died off pretty darn quick?
In Stirling’s ‘Dies the Fire’ series the explanation boils down to “Incredibly advanced post-human intelligences so powerful they’re basically gods did it by altering the laws of physics in – very – specific ways to achieve the results shown. Metal no longer conducts, steam pressure reaches a non-useful point before leveling off, gunpowder no longer explodes quickly enough to propel bullets, etc.
By all accounts ‘Revolution’ is what happens when someone pitches a tweaked ‘Dies the Fire’ scenario to studio execs and all they can hear is “Highlander meets Jericho meets The Hunger Games.”
The producers are claiming that they’ve had their premise looked at by physicists who said it was possible:
I’ve only had the one episode to go by, and compared to other post-apoc shows, it’s better than nearly all of them thus far apart from Jeremiah.
It’s also got better writing/acting per square foot than Jericho did, and will continue to do so unless they also start making their show into the apocalypse by way of the Hallmark channel.
The thing that gets me about Revolution is the muskets. Like, I get that you want to pull the Hunger Games crowd in so you’ve got people using weird backwards-looking crossbows (seriously, how does that thing work?) and swords and stuff, fine, but then you have your Evil Militia using muskets and it’s like, wait, what? Why are you using muskets all of 15 short years after the Big Whoops? WHERE did you get those muskets? Did you make them? Did you steal them from a bunch of Civil War reenactors? How is it that your Evil Militia hasn’t been thoroughly rolled over by ANOTHER Evil Militia (or hell, Morally Ambiguous Militia) that allows their members to actually use some of the eleventy-fajillion perfectly functional modern-day firearms littered around post-apocalypse America? Am I supposed to assume that Evil Militia Leader has locked up all of America’s gun deposits or something? Seriously, THAT’S the mystery I want to know about.
but i dont see how “electricity stops working” as a concept is any more stupid than “disease turns people into zombies”, or “all carriers of a y chromosome die”.
I don’t think any of us are attacking the concept. I like the concept, but the show is not good.
The thing I didn’t get (among many, many others)– these people do realize that people wouldn’t be using flintlocks right? That in the US alone there are enough modern firearms and ammunition to last centuries much less decades, and that you can reload you’re spent shells. That and the lack of steam are what bugged me the most initially.
People were talking about the gun issues over at The A.V. Club.
Basically, there is absolutely no good reason for the evil militia guys to not have modern assault rifles looted from military bases or the homes of gun nuts. The low-tech weapons are a deliberate style choice.
Apparently, the producer went with the flintlocks because the name of the show is “Revolution” and that would make people think of the Revolutionary War.
Okay, I guess… And one could even make an argument that it’s good science fiction to go with something that would be a lot easier to make more black powder and ammo for. However…
Like Kai and Socraticsilence have been saying, there would be a ton of guns just waiting to be discovered and plenty of ammo for the small fraction of the population that survived until 15 years later.
And it doesn’t really make sense that the militia has craftsmen who can make nice reproductions of old weapons with engraving and everything.
Or that the civilians who have guns either have flintlocks or old-timey double barrel Elmer Fudd shotguns…
It would make a lot more sense to me if people still had some modern-style guns they managed to hide from the militia, but they use bows and crossbows to A.) save ammo and B.) not let the bad guys know they still have a few hunting rifles and things just in case.
People were talking about how much they liked that cheesy sword fight in the pilot over at The A.V. Club. I would have been more impressed if the cranky uncle had pulled out a Beretta M9 and just shot a few of the guys with those funky short swords.
“People were talking about how much they liked that cheesy sword fight in the pilot over at The A.V. Club. I would have been more impressed if the cranky uncle had pulled out a Beretta M9 and just shot a few of the guys with those funky short swords.”
That would have been the way a better, cleverer show would have handled that, yeah.
Did you notice during that fight that the leader of the Evil Militia Squad LITERALLY stood back and sent his troops in to attack Secretly Badass Uncle in easily defeatable waves until only he was left to have an obligatory one-on-one duel? They couldn’t make this show any dumber if they tried.
Yes, I did.
I love sword fights, but watching Bella Swan’s dad win basically because the bad guys used stupid tactics was no fun at all.
That whole sequence really drove home that watching people fight with flintlocks does not make for exciting television.
Especially when the battle is staged in a way where Secretly Badass Uncle doesn’t have to work all that hard to stay alive. The creators of the show need to spend more time watching Chinese action movies and getting inspired if they’re going to insist on staying low-tech.
I thought they did a nice job of showing the limitations of the teenage heroine’s crossbow (she needs a backup weapon to increase her odds of not getting raped and/or killed). But Secretly Badass Uncle should have been toast.
Susan Lucci taunting devices, huh?
[…] but it’s no more ridiculous than countless other starting points for SF series. As this discussion at Mighty God King points out, however, the execution isn’t particularly logical, which bugs […]
Having watched a couple more episodes, I was glad to see a few more modern firearms. Now, they’re saying the militia uses muskets because there is a bullet shortage. And that is pretty stupid.
In the third episode, one guy with a bolt-action rifle wiped out dozens of the evil militia guys. Partly because he could shoot five times as often.
All it would take to wipe out Monroe and his minions is for another militia to stumble across a sporting goods store that still has boxes of 30.06 ammo, apparently. A few guys with hunting rifles could take out whole platoons.
I think in the show, the dampening of electricity is definitely artificial as the main knew it was coming. It must also have limits. It still allows high frequency EM waves to exist, i.e. light and heat. So it has an upper frequency limit. And, to allow chemical reactions to occur and nerves to work, it must require a threshold of either voltage or E field strenght to kick in. If i were in such a situation as this show i would start running some simple experiments and observations. Like, is there still lightning? I’d get a compass, a magnet and some wire. Make a coil out of the wire and run the ends some length away from the coil and tie them together. Then i’d set the compass by the wire ends. I’d go back to the coil and fun the magnet through it, perhaps on a rotor attach to a gear box to get the rpm up. I’d see if there was any affect on the compass. I’d also see if it was harder to rotate the magnet when the wires were shorted as compared to not being shorted (If it is, where is the energy going if not into electricity?). The list can go on.
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