NBC’s new post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, premiered at a public, bike powered screening last night at Pier 57 in New York City. The event was sponsored by New York’s leading transportation advocacy organization, Transportation Alternatives (TA), and featured over 80 bicyclists powering the projector, in an attempt to not only promote the use of alternative transportation, but to evoke the theme of a world without electricity.

It is nearly impossible to describe the plot without giving the entire pilot away, but here’s what I can tell you; in the future, all forms of technology just suddenly stop working. Cars stop running, planes fall from the sky, anything electric just ceases to function, and no one knows why.

Fifteen years in the future, society is living in a bizarre state of reconstruction. The town the viewers are presented with is pioneer-like, but with distinctly modern sensibilities. It’s an interesting mix of historical and modern that creates a unique, interesting world for the characters to inhabit, and provides just one of the show’s many intriguing mysteries.

Although the pilot does suffer from the occasional action movie cliché, there’s no denying it’s intelligently written, and decidedly imaginative. It would have been nice to have seen some of the results of the blackout in parts of the world other than the United States, and there are a few cases of some rather frustratingly inaccurate asthma attacks. Apart from that, the implications of the entire globe suddenly losing its technology are solid and well presented.

Again, it is impossible to really describe the show without spoiling too much of the plot and, being a J.J. Abrams show, it’s definitely worth it to go into it blind. The most interesting part of the show is most definitely the society that the lack of electricity has created. The warlords and militias that have formed in the wake of our society’s collapse provide compelling villains, particularly the insurance adjuster turned militia soldier Captain Tom Neville (Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito). Special mention should also go out to Tracy Spiridakos as protagonist Charlie Matheson, a young woman charged with finding her uncle after the kidnapping of her brother, and Anna Lise Phillips as her stepmother, Maggie. The two actresses have an endearingly antagonistic relationship full of snark, and manage to play off each other extremely well.

The series is definitely worth a watch when it premieres on Monday, September 17th on NBC. However, if you are especially impatient, the complete pilot episode is available to stream on NBC’s official Revolution website.

Revolution airs Mondays at 10:00 PM on NBC.

– Nelly Nickerson


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