It was a great idea when I first heard about it, and like a lot of genre stories, it begins with a great, "What if?" idea.
What if the world loses all power? No phone, no lights, no motorcars…oh wait, that's Gilligan's Island, sorry about that. The show I'm actually writing about is Revolution, the latest in three billion projects JJ Abrams has in production.
The pilot, directed by Jon Favreau, has already been downloaded far and wide on the net before its September 17 network debut, and it was already marked for "Skip It" status on two Fall Preview lists. The Daily Beast wrote, "While the pilot had some gorgeous and majestic shots of desolation, there is an overabundance of Hunger Games-esque imagery, and way too much corny humor and sappy melodrama for a post-apocalyptic action show."
Vulture wrote that the show "starts with a genuinely scary prologue," but "the show goes from something you haven't seen before to something you've seen way too many times." Taking a real cheap shot, Vulture adds, "Do we really need a TV remake of Kevin Costner's The Postman?"
As TV Guide writes, "many shows have fallen victim to the three most cursed words in recent TV history: 'the next Lost.'" And Abrams's Alcatraz fell victim to that as well, and the expectations of Lost could be hanging over Revolution as well. Still, as Abrams told the New York Times, "'Why did it happen' is not the raison d'etre for the story." Abrams said producer Eric Kripke "had an answer to why this all happened, as opposed to the 'We'll figure it out later' mode, which I'm also very familiar with."
Abrams also added, "The interesting thing about this series is that it's such a vast world. If it works, there are so many cool places we can go."
Of course, shows can recover after a shaky start, and two promising genre shows this year, The River and JJ's Alcatraz, were killed off before they could establish a stronger foothold. This Revolution hasn't really even gotten started yet, so it remains to be seen if it can survive, or go dark like the near future world it depicts.