Say you want a REVOLUTION?

Caught the first episode of Revolution on Hulu this morning, and it left me with mixed feelings.
For those who don’t know, the series is that old SF warhorse, the post-apocalyptic world: Electricity in all its forms dies, and the world falls apart. Fifteen years later, the US has been balkanized into various petty “republics” (the Republic of Monroe in which we start out seems about as much a Republic as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and life exists at the medieval level, but with guns. And there’s some sort of conspiracy involving the original blackout and the mysterious McGuffins that can keep electricity working.
The end result is reasonably entertaining—enough I’ll watch a few more episodes—but not terribly distinctive, despite the conspiracy. It doesn’t look that different from countless other post-apocalypses—The Postman, Peter Dickinson’s Weathermonger or even TV’s Genesis II from the 1970s (which was conceptually a lot more imaginative). For all the critical gush, I suspect even the non-SF fans in the audience won’t find it that novel (which, of course, is not the same thing as not enjoying it).
I don’t have much problem with the premise at this point. We don’t have any explanation, but it’s no more ridiculous than countless other starting points for SF series. As this discussion at Mighty God King points out, however, the execution isn’t particularly logical, which bugs me more.
As one of the commenters at the link put it, the creators seem to think there was no technology before we invented electricity. As a result, the Earth After-Disaster (as Jack Kirby put it in Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth) has no windmills or water mills. There’s no refrigeration even though “iceboxes” predate electrical power. And since one character asserts he has the last bottle of single-malt Scotch in Chicago, that suggests nobody’s distilling either, and that doesn’t take electricity (in fairness it might just be that he doesn’t like the local hooch, or that whisky, as opposed to moonshine, is unavailable in his neck of the woods).
And the guns? At the time of the blackout America would have been awash with guns (seeing as the time is now). So why are some of the government troops bothering with muskets instead of automatic weapons? Hell, where would you get muskets?
Other apocalypses have made sense of similar set-ups. In Weathermonger there’s a good reason England has reverted to the Middle Ages. And the standard post-nuclear war can explain the loss of technology and of people who know how to rebuild. Here? Not very convincing, even given the chaos that must have resulted from the blackout.
That being said, I “liked the movie” enough to overlook the logic gaps, for now at least. It’s the same way I can tolerate Firefly giving us a future where people on the frontier of space decide to dress like it was the Old West frontier (crinoline? Why?)—it’s absurd and silly, but Firefly was a great show despite that.
I doubt Revolution will be as good, but I’ll be happy if I’m wrong.

1 Comment

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One response to “Say you want a REVOLUTION?

  1. Pingback: A movie and some TV | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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