Five Things You Need to Know About NBC’s Dystopian Drama ‘Revolution’

Anna Lise Phillips as Maggie, Graham Rogers as Danny, Tim Guiee as Ben, David Lyons as Bass Monroe, Billy Burke as Miles, Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie, Maria Howell as Grace, JD Pardo as Nate, Zak Orth as Aaron, Giancarlo Esposito as Lt. Neville in "Revolution" (Photo by: Nino Munoz/NBC)

From the brain trust of executive producers J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke, NBC’s buzzy new drama “Revolution” (premiering Monday, Sept. 17 at 10/9c) features a compelling hook: what would happen if the entire world suddenly experienced a permanent blackout? Their answer does not involve everyone becoming Amish. Instead, after fifteen years without electricity or combustion engines, the United States has devolved into a dystopia, in which citizens live in fear of roving militias. The pilot also includes a sword fight, a conspiracy, a road trip, a heroine who is a whiz with a bow and arrow, homemade single malt scotch, and the revelation that in the future there will be no toilet paper. Confused? You won’t be after reading the five reasons you need to watch “Revolution.”

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It’s a Road Trip — Orchestrated by Charlie, the Spunky Heroine: When the militia kidnaps her brother, Charlie sets off a quest to rescue him, aided by a motley crew including a former Google employee, her stepmother, and her long lost uncle. It’s like “The Wizard of Oz,” if Oz had Monroe’s Militia. Her portrayer, Tracy Spiridakos points out that her youth gives her a mental advantage over characters who came of age in the pre-blackout world. “She’s grown up in a world where the power was already out. She’s learned how to adapt,” Spiridakos tells “That’s what she knows. For her, it’s more doing what’s right. It’s about hope. She sees the good in everybody. When she wanted to leave in the pilot she wanted to embark on a journey. Just because she’s a young woman who’s never experienced anything. She wants to see what’s out there, whether it be danger or adventure, whatever it is.”

Watch the Pilot Episode of “Revolution’ Early:

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It Also is a Sci-Fi Show With Flashbacks Centering Around Miles, The Amoral Anti-Hero: Billy Burke plays Miles, a bartender in the decaying husk of what used to be Chicago, that just may know why the lights went out. Like so many anti-heroes before him, he’s attempting to live a low key life as a sketchy bartender and manufacturer of bathtub scotch, when his niece shows up and pulls him into a rescue mission. Says Burke, “He starts out completely reluctant to get into what he’s about to get into but we’re going to see some of the soft, warm chocolately spots inside him start to broaden…Well, before the lights went out he was a military guy so he came with a skill that was already there. But we will see through the flashbacks what happened through that fifteen years to get him through the point where he’s at. And we get the feeling already in the pilot and in the first couple episodes we’ll start to see what happened right after the lights went out and how he came to experience so much in such a short period of time and then pull himself out of it. There’s so much content that just keeps rolling one question into the next.” As for why Miles makes lousy scotch when the liquor existed centuries before electric lights, “That stuff takes a long time to distill. What we’re looking for is immediacy here. We want stuff that we can just chill and serve right away. That’s what he’s doing in Chicago. He made his own still and that stuff gestates in maybe three hours and people are swilling it.”

DVR the Premiere of “Revolution”

There’s a Militia, Represented by Giancarlo Esposito Playing a Bad Ass Villain Who is Nothing Like Gus Fring: If you’ve missed your favorite terrifying drug lord/restauranteur, then you should love Emmy nominee Esposito’s latest creation, Neville, a ruthless militia leader. Acccording to the former “Breaking Bad” star,  Neville is not a bad guy, just someone who respects authority above everything else. “He’s a guy who is a master manipulator but because he has a past in insurance, he knows when people are lying,” Esposito tells “He reads people’s body language. He can tell when they have something to hide. And that incentivizes him: tell the truth and you’ll come clean and everything will be okay. It informs a lot about who he is. He wants to restore order.  And when people don’t tell the truth, it messes with his order. I think he takes it personally but he also is on the side of some kind of order in the universe. He’s the last step between us and total anarchy.” His behavior is a response to his pre-blackout life. “He was a nebbish guy in his youth and he never got any credit for having any kind if physicality or imposing anything for himself as a human being. He never stood up for himself. He always listened and he wrote things on a piece of paper because his time to have power. He wanted to have power. This is what compelled him to it.”

The Writers Have a Plan: Viewers have become wary of high-concept shows with sci-fi elements. For every “Lost,” there are two “FastForwards.” Burke is confident that the “Revolution” writers know where the show is going, and that the premise can be sustained for multiple seasons. “There’s definitely a known bible for the show. They know exactly where it’s going and the rules. The other side of that coin is we. As actors, have no clue what it is. They’ll spoon feed it to us as we need it.” Esposito hints, “I think you’re going to find  not only the good guys but the bad guys also have a history with each other and sometimes that may cross over [in] familial relationships that we don’t know about yet. I think the audience is going to be quite surprised.” Adds Spiridakos, “We don’t really consider ourselves apocalyptic as much as it’s a hopeful show. There’s drama, but it’s big Americana journey epic across the country and who knows where. It’s like ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Lord of the Rings.’ There’s a lot of positive energy around it.”

Make Sure You Watch the Final Two Minutes: The premiere ends with a plot twist that puts an intriguing, new spin on everything that came before it. We don’t want to spoil it, but it will definitely make you want to tune in to the second episode. We will reveal that you will get to see what became of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after the blackout. Frequent travelers may argue that it’s a vast improvement.

“Revolution” premieres on Monday, Sept. 17 at 10/9c on NBC.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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