Revolution’s sanitised post-apocalyptic vision fails to spark

Revolution Poster

First off, I’m a huge sucker for post-apocalyptic fare, particularly if there’s even so much as a whiff of zombies in the air.

What fascinates about the genre is probably because I think it may help prepare me for the inevitable.

Although I don’t subscribe to the ‘2012-end-of the-world’ school of thought, I’m certain humankind is capable of doing something completely idiotic that will end civilisation as we know it – and probably within our lifetime ( sorry kids – go back to bed now…).

Of course, no amount of movies, TV shows, video games, comics or books can fully prepare you for life in a zombie-infested, alien-occupied, nuked or scorched wasteland, but they do show how people determined to survive can still hold on to the faintest traces of hope in the most adverse and desperate conditions.

So it was with great expectations that I tuned into TV2’s new show Revolution last night.

For the uninitiated, it’s set in a world where all electric power and the means to generate it suddenly stopped working – even batteries got wiped.

I like the premise a great deal. Imagine a world without electric power? Oh wait, that would be pretty much like 1880, right?

Revolution kicks off with a mildly dramatic scene in which all the power is knocked out by what appears to be a massive energy surge as all lights and electronic screens flicker wildly in their death throes, while planes plummet from the skies.

Then we skip to 15 years after this mysterious event.

Naturally as a segue between these scenes we get the obligatory short shrift summary of how civilisation crashed and how pockets of survivors soldiered on while kow-towing to marauding militias, as we are introduced to life in the present – cue shots of a small community protected by a palisade fence and people caring for crops and livestock, with kids and small animals running along dusty paths.

All standard post-apocalyptic fodder thus far, but then it takes a sharp turn towards Melrose Place…

Cities may have collapsed and foliage has overrun streets and freeways, but the hip young things in Revolution look like they’ve just stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue. We’re talking perfectly fitted, spotlessly clean outfits, and designer haircuts.

On top of this the storyline in episode one borders on the improbable. For instance, our heroine, the impeccably and alluringly dressed Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos), and her party set off to track down a long-lost uncle on the insistence of her dying father who somehow knew he’d be in Chicago despite having had no means of keeping in touch with his brother. And, of course they just happen to find him behind the very first bar they enter once they get to town.

Also, moments after the attack in which Charlie’s dad and a number of other villagers are killed, the surviving residents are seen milling around as if nothing happened. You’d think with such a small population, there’d be quite a bit of grieving and fussing after the massacre of many of their menfolk.

This just shows how sanitised Revolution is. It feels a bit like Falling Skies meets Lost, with splashes of The Hunger Games (Katniss Everdeen would be envious of the archery action).

In places Revolution does evoke some of the spirit of other post-apocalyptic tales like The Book of Eli (one of the characters possesses a USB device that may hold the secret to why the power went out) and even The Road, but certainly none of their grittiness.

And it’s that un-sanitised vision of the grim reality of end of the world that makes these stories so gripping.

But anyway, I’ll give Revolution another go and may review my thoughts after a few more episodes…

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6 Responses to “Revolution’s sanitised post-apocalyptic vision fails to spark”

  1. Simon Eskow Says:

    It needs a Lord Humungus.

  2. Nicole Says:

    Bring back Walking Dead

  3. Bonita Says:

    Ha! Very amusing! I’m ashamed to admit though that I was sucked in hook, line and sinker… sanitary or not.

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