So, You Say You Want a Revolution?

Although the pilot episode for NBC’s new series Revolution has been online for some time I waited until it was broadcast so that I could watch it in high definition.  Is it ironic that I wanted to watch a show about the absence of technology in the highest quality possible?  I digress…

Putting aside for a moment that physics of what happened—all electricity ceases to be apparently, but mechanical processes continue except for some home brewed computer in a dusty attic—I have one question for the show runners: Where do I find a Lululemon after the apocalypse?

The show is supposed to be set fifteen years after the apparent disappearance of all electricity—no word on lightning—and people are looking fabulous.  Maybe there is an Ulta somewhere as well.  No, really, how does a guy’s AC/DC cotton t-shirt manage to survive for fifteen years without becoming a rotten shell?  If I wear a t-shirt in hot weather or working and it is lucky to make it a year or more, but these kids have skinny jeans, fitted tank tops, and cropped jackets.  Never mind the unbuckled or laced boots…you would not want the reality of turning an ankle get in the way of looking rakish.

Needless to say, I am disappointed by another tepid network television attempt at reimagining what human civilization would be like if we had a fundamental change forced upon us.  I am okay with jumping into things fifteen years down the road—spare me the horror of the first few nights, although at least someone understood to eat all of the ice cream the night of the event because it would be gone soon—and I understand that the first episode needs to have enough “juice” to get people interested so that will come back for episode two.  However, do we really need to turn this into Action and Adventure Post Apocalypse midway through the first episode?  For all of the changes that are supposed to have taken place people are still acting pretty stupid and still managing to find ways to kill each other pretty easily.

I have a lot of quibbles with the show the least of which is people inhabiting a semi-flooded downtown Chicago.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but standing water is a breeding ground for disease which is something that the area had a problem with until the swamps were drained.  You might want to have people live where the water runs clear and the ground does not squish when you walk.

Another thing, one of the characters—a former executive at Google—is still relatively fat.  If people had to go from being typical Americans in the 21st century to 21st century Americans living with 18th century technology I have to imagine that people would have gotten thin pretty fast.  Take a deficit in cheap calories and subtract a lot of hard work nets you people who do not have to worry about a high BMI.

This series is likely to degenerate into a quest to “turn the lights back on” and fail to explore the premise of what would happen if someone turned off the power.  It’s a shame because that sounds like fertile ground for a lot of plots.

At least S.M. Stirling does not need to feel too bad about this series because it is doubtful that it will be around long enough for people to start making comparison to his Emberverse series.


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