NBC ran an extended preview of its new show Revolution last night during the Olympics. (I’ve posted it after the jump, but I would love it if you would keep reading this pre-amble first. You don’t have to! I’m just stating my preference!) The show was created by JJ Abrams, obvs, and the premise seems to be that there was some cataclysmic world event that destroyed electricity and shunted human kind back into the dark ages. Now it is 15 years later and things have gotten real Mad Max but also real that History channel documentary about what New York would look like if all the humans disappeared and the plants started riding the subways (which itself was based on that book). Sure! Also, I guess someone has a magic locket that turns the electricity back on, and they use it to hack into Lost island’s intranet. Just in case you were worried that you were going to watch a sci-fi show about a post-Apocalyptic nightmare world without power, there might be some power! And a fight for the power! And apparently a blog about the power! All of this is totally promising and fun, except that I feel like we’ve been down this road before. And before. And before. Burn me once, shame on me. Burn me every season, shame on JJ Abrams.
I like the idea of big budget, fantastical, high concept adventure shows! The problem is that they are almost always a disappointment. Even if you take the last “successful” one, which I’m going to say was Lost, the ratings declined year over year and people remain INFURIATED by the series finale. (Personally, I was OK with it, but I can see their point.) And that’s the best one! Since then we have had any number of attempts to recreate that lackluster magic, each more disappointing than the last. There was The Event, which had a decent premiere episode full of disappearing airplanes and tropical getaways and alien conspiracies and presidents under siege, but by episode two it was already like, eh, nah. There was The River, which, don’t even get me started on The River. “We need to put the baby bones in the ghost’s tummy or else we’ll never find my lost daddy in ragdoll forest!” Alcatraz had some time travel or something in it, I think, but there’s no way to know, because not a single human being ever saw Alcatraz. And, of course, Terra Nova. Haha. Terra Nova! Jurassic Park + Lost + New Jack City – Ray Bradbury divided by Spaceballs. OH WELL, THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS.
But so you see a promo for a show like Revolution and you’re like, oh great, here we go again, am I about to get burned? And the answer is yes. We are all going to get burned so hard. That’s what we do best.