Extremely short version: Nope.

Less short version:

It’s fifteen years after The Blackout. Charlie is a feisty young lady who lives with her father in their subdivision, which has avoided any internal skirmishes for resources or outside marauders or anything, and is basically a slightly-rusted Shire with more brand-new plaid shirts and skinny jeans. When The Man shows up to claim her father, and her brother gets trigger-happy and sets off a two-sided massacre, it’s up to Charlie (who was out pouting by the Ferris wheel, they live in one of those subdivisions close to Ferris wheels, you know the ones) to gather a ragtag group of surviving white people and head out to find her uncle, who is the greatest swordsman in all the land and looks at his niece with an intensity that does not sit well with anybody, and also there’s a militia and a conspiracy and a revolutionary underground that has electricity and please tune in next week and every week for at least three more seasons the end.

Even less short version: here are five things you should know about Revolution.

1. Our cast is led by Miss Gormless Affect 2012, which does not endear you to her quest of Now That Dad’s Dead I’m Superpissed Also I Need to Find My Brother And Maybe A Revolution and Stuff I Guess We Are Still Working Some Shit Out Plotwise. The local healer (and Dad’s current girlfriend) comes with her, along with The Last Nerd of All, who is already walking a fine line between being better than this, and being a whiny Samwise Gamgee. Hunky stranger Nate also joins them for absolutely unsuspicious reasons! When they reach Chicago, Billy Burke tries his damndest to stir feelings up, in himself and in us, but no dice.

Giacarlo Esposito is absolutely definitely better than this, and he looks ever so slightly ashamed of trying to be a postapocalyptic Wild West sheriff in an outfit designed to evoke the SS I bet you a dollar. Also he’s a bad guy. Nate, played by Hispanic actor JD Pardo, betrays our heroine in the pilot. I’m guessing, from the previews, he’s Conflicted, but that only gets a pass if the show comes from a place of good faith, and nope.

In fact, you know what, here’s a cast photo, you tell me the other person who does a morally questionable thing:

Bingo. Wonderful planning, show. Thanks, helpful.

2. The thing is, that lady is revealed to be part of a larger resistance movement with electricity and a BBS, and that might have been a cool moment! Just like when The Last Nerd of All starts to talk about where he used to work and Charlie goes, “Oh right, that Google place,” in the mode of every teen ever who tunes out whenever someone starts talking about computers that functioned on punch cards. However, it’s like finding beautiful forks in the wreckage of the Titanic.

3. Even things that could, if executed better, be nice touches – Stepmom points some robbers to the alcohol in her bag, which she’s poisoned for exactly this purpose – get stymied in a bunch of shoddy worldbuilding and plotcakes. See, they’re sleeping in a small plane – a plane less than half a day’s walk from their subdivision, but cargo boxes were still there and the fuselage was intact because in fifteen years no one ever sent out a scouting party half a day afield to see if there was anything useful, and no marauders had found it either, and also they are all asleep because no one sets watch after the apocalypse because NO POSSIBLE REASON. It’s not even that Nerdball the Loveable Goof fell asleep on watch so mauraders could happen. They just all fell asleep, and then marauders helped themselves immediately to the liquor and shared it equally so they died right away at the same time, negating the rape threat that this show wanted fifteen minutes into the pilot because naturally, and definitely if that’s such a thing then there’s no need to set watch at night. The show wants us to follow these people around! Can you even?

(I am including Ms. BBS up there, who takes Charlie’s fugitive brother into the house to care for him despite him obviously being a fugitive, because the thing you should totally do when you have a super confidential piece of revolutionary tech in your basement is to welcome a fugitive that will bring The Man down on you.)

4. By the time they get to Chicago, you should already be done watching this show, but when they do, you get to watch Billy Burke as the Han Solo-est bartender in Chicago. When he faces off with Charlie’s new friend Nate, everyone gasps. He’s ex-military. He’s a killing MACHINE. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.


After Nate betrays them all and walks out (I…am not sure why he just got to walk out after being revealed? By that point, I will be honest, I was glazing over), Billy has a tense conversation with Charlie about How He Doesn’t Owe Anybody Anything and It’s Not Safe and They’d Better Go. He frowns as intensely as he can, creating something of an awkward vibe with his poor gormless niece, who has also been glazed over for a while, and no sooner have they gone than the Militia shows up, and Billy Burke has to run around a hotel set lit with torches you would expect in a Robin Hood movie and riddled with crumbled plaster columns from what we can only assume is an 8th grade play. Since this is after the apocalypse, it’s a swordfight. It is, according to my notes, 150 years long. But of course all the morally-upstanding white people run back to help, because Family and Heroism! I guess now they’re all on the mission to get her brother back, which is a mission again because The Man got him right back from the POC lady who gave him up, so that’s handy.

5. There is so much promise in a nice, crunchy post-apocalyptic show. I’m not sure network TV is ever going to do it, largely because to accept the “crunchy” part you have to admit that as soon as shampoo runs out everyone’s going to have some problems hairwise, which is something TV is sort of loathe to acknowledge. (Even President Roslin had amazing hair, you know?)

But even if we accept these trappings, as we accepted that all the ladies on Lost managed to assemble rudimentary razors for armpit-shaving, there’s no Here here. Charlie is painted as a foot-stomping brat, which might be acceptable given the relatively stable community in which it seems she’s grown up, but she’s also portrayed as instantly tough and able to handle herself as soon as her father is dead, and evinces no surprise that her home communes was a nicer place than the ruined Chicago. (Technically she evinces no surprise at anything, but that’s just her face, I guess.)

This lack of emotional beats – an absence of any introspection or tension in favor of passable CGI and endless swordfights – means that the attempts to set up three conspiracy beats in a row at the end of the pilot read exactly as they are – a hook to reel you back in for another hour of following these people around.

This is the face of a man who has seen the pilot of Revoution:

Don’t let it be you, too.