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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Complete First Season


Starring: Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos Elizabeth Mitchell, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth, Daniella Alonso, David Lyons, J.D. Pardo, Tim Guinee, Graham Rogers and Anna Lise Phillips
Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 30 September 2013

In a post-apocalyptic American landscape: a world of empty cities, local militias and heroic freedom fighters, every single piece of technology has mysteriously blacked out. Charlie’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously - and unbeknownst to her - had something to do with the ‘blackout’. When her brother Danny Matheson is kidnapped by one of the militia leaders, for a darker purpose, Charlie must reconnect with their estranged Uncle, a former U.S. Marine living a reclusive life. Together, with a rogue band of survivors, they set out to rescue Danny, overthrow the militia, and ultimately re-establish the United States of America. All the while, they explore the enduring mystery of why the power failed, and if (or how) it will ever return...

When you consider the creative talent involved behind the scenes on Revolution it should have been a must watch show. Sadly it all feels like we've been there done that before. This is probably not helped by the fact that it's very much in the same vein as The Walking Dead: another ensemble cast show that is also set in a post-apocalyptic American environment where the huge cast are constantly on the move and battling against other groups of humans.

The show's executive producers are Eric Kripke (creator) J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau (who also directed the first episode). In addition most of the main cast will be familiar to fans of other shows.

The main problem, for me, was that the paper thin storyline is noticeably stretched over these 20 episodes. There are only really two acts. The first revolves around Charlie attempting to track down her kidnapped brother, while the second involves the group heading to another State in search of freedom and a chance to discover why the power went out. And, when you start to pick apart at the reasons behind why strangers would follow Charlie for a boy they've never met... the whole thing starts to feel a little ridiculous.

Okay, this is sci-fi, so a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required, but I did find a few too many of the main character's drives and motivations were odd enough to make the viewer question the show as a whole. In addition, some of the characters are not very well realised. It's a common problem with ensemble cast shows, but I did start to wonder what on earth had happened to certain characters, or why they weren't being used very often. Possibly the most obvious example is Nora Clayton, who towards the end of the season has very little to do. Also, like The Walking Dead, the writers are quick to kill off prominent cast members... just for shock value.

I'd argue that Giancarlo Esposito (as Major Tom Neville) steals the show. Of all the characters he is easily the most well written role, with many facets to his personality. Esposito brings a menace to the screen one minute. Then, when we discover his past as a 'yes man', we pity him. Equally his relationships with the other cast make for a believable character. Like all of us, he acts differently when he is with different people and in different situations.

Notable guest stars include Malik Yoba (who played Special Agent Bill Harken in Alphas); Leland Orser (who you might know better as Dr. Lucien Dubenko on ER); and Mark Pellegrino (who starred in Lost as Jaco and Supernatural as Lucifer).

Extras include deleted scenes for various episodes; An In-depth Look at the Revolution Pilot (13 min, 25 sec behind the scenes featurette); Creating a Revolution (19 min, 07 exploration of the look of the show); Gag Reel (1 min, 58 sec); and Webisodes (5 featurettes (lasting between 2 and a half and 3 and a half minutes each) that give a us some background to Tom's character. This starts after Miles makes his assassination attempt on Monroe's life and runs through until just before Tom is sent off to track down and apprehend Ben Matheson).

So, not a bad series by any means, but not one that I thought would survive its first season. I suppose having Abrams and Favreau batting for your team has helped plenty, but without them I suspect this would have almost certainly been cancelled.


Darren Rea

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