Well, the premier episode of “Revolution” was on tonight.
I think I missed the very first minute or so of the show, but it started out with scenes of the lights mysteriously going out all over, airplanes falling out of the sky, cars stalling out on the road and so-on. I don’t think they said exactly how this happened, but I guess the viewer assumes it was some kind of EMP attack.
We fast-forward 15 years and see images of nature reclaiming urban areas and a suburban subdivision transformed into an agrarian village. This scene definitely seemed like it came from the World Made By Hand series. There were chickens, goats, raised garden beds, lawns turned into corn patches, walls around the neighborhood and what appeared to be a common area in the cul-de-sac. The hood of a car was turned into a planter, which I thought was a nice touch.
I think that those of us who are into the world of preparedness would see these images and just think it’s kind of cool, accepting that these kinds of things could happen and if they did, you would just have to roll with the punches. I would think that images of cars only having value as plant receptacles, familiar cityscapes in various states of disrepair, McMansions grown over with vines and lawns turned into corn patches might be a little unsettling to people who haven’t thought much about these kinds of things but might start contemplating the frailty of the modern world during the course of the show. Certainly things like airplanes falling out of the sky is a chilling prospect.
The narrator describes the world as having mostly gone over to militias and/or criminals. Shortly into the episode, a band of soldiers representing the government of the “Monroe Republic” enter the village looking for one of the inhabitants, Ben Matheson. Ben’s son takes a stand against the soldiers and it turns into a fight with the soldiers getting the upper-hand. They kill Ben, they take his son (Danny) into custody and as Ben is dying he tells his daughter Charlie to go find his brother Miles in Chicago. So apparently there’s some kind of story developing involving an underground organization against the “Monroe Republic”, which appears to be a tyrannical regime. They also establish that there’s some sort of personal connection between Monroe and Miles, having served in the Marine Corps together (by the way, nice lack of regulation haircuts during the flashback, NBC).
There’s also a complicated love interest brewing between Charlie and Nate, some young guy in the militia they encountered in the woods who appears to have twisted loyalties. There’s also tension between Charlie and Maggie, Ben’s girlfriend or wife. Danny ends up stumbling upon some lady who appears to belong to the same secret organization as Miles after escaping (and then getting recaptured) from the soldiers.
So far my opinion is that the show looks like a cool concept, but I bet the subplots are going to get even more ridiculous as it progresses. My work schedule (and lack of the Tivo thing) doesn’t make it easy to follow these kinds of shows, but if I’m home I’d watch it.
Here’s a few of my observations/thoughts so far:
– When the soldiers came looking for Ben, my first reaction was that their leader looked remarkably like Barack Obama (maybe ten years from now). I got a chuckle out of this and I’m not sure if this was intentional or not to have the face of government oppression be so similar to our president.
– I think the fact that this show is on reflects that a lot of people can sense that something’s wrong with the world. I don’t think they would’ve made a show like this in say, 1997 when the economy was roaring and the USA was clearly at the top of the world. I think network TV (and most mainstream outlets) are more reactive to what’s going on in the world than truly being at the forefront of creativity. Surely they see that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world and people are starting to look for answers and explanations. I still haven’t seen Doomsday Preppers, but I imagine that Revolution is kind of jocking the buzz that Doomsday Preppers created in mainstream circles. I’ve definitely seen a lot more talk about issues of preparedness/survival in the past couple of years, be it the “zombie apocalypse”, ads and increased availability for long-term storage food, blogs on the subject, talk of economic collapse, increase in talk about precious metals and so on.
– I always hate it when people get too hung up on “that’s so unrealistic!” when dealing with works of fiction, but I thought it was kind of strange that most people in the show looked like they just pulled their clothes out of the washer and dryer now in 2012. You would think that after 15 years of not having the same kind of textile industry and living an agrarian lifestyle any clothes from the abundant-energy era would be completely tattered and torn. In the beginning of the show there were some people in more primitive clothing but the clean shaves, clean clothes, nice teeth and neat haircuts seemed a little off given the back story. Oh well, write a good story and I’ll let it slide.
– I think a lot of people already in the preparedness world will probably scoff at this show, as they did Doomsday Preppers. Yeah, so far it looks a little goofy – I’ll definitely concede that. However, I do think that these shows will do some good by getting some people who otherwise wouldn’t think about these kinds of things to really start to consider preparedness scenarios and just maybe start to action. Just like anything else in life, mainstream society will stumble across something, it’ll be in the national consciousness if only for a few minutes, a lot of people will jump in, society will move on to something else, a lot of people will jump out and then at the end of the day there will be more people standing in than there were before the mainstream stumbled upon it. In other words, something like this could lead to more people taking an interest in preparedness and sustainability. I consider that a good thing – the more people who think like us, the better off the world would be in the event of some kind of calamity. I also think that the more people who accept that things could go south for us one way or another, the more likely we are as a society to make the kind of changes we need to steer clear of man-made catastrophes. I don’t think that Revolution in itself is going to cause a, uh, revolution but I think it will bring some people our way once everything is said and done. It’s up to us that are already of this mindset to be there to provide accurate information, guidance and solutions to the people that truly come to look for it. We can certainly do it better than NBC’s writers can.
Again, I don’t think my schedule (and lack of Tivo) will allow me to keep up with the show, but I’ll tune in when I can. We’ll see what comes of it. Hopefully it at least gets mainstream society to start asking “what if…?” and more imporantly, “what can I do about it?”