Reading this online you’re probably already aware of how much you rely on electricity and power. No power means no cars or planes, no TV or radio, no phone system, no medical equipment, no freezers and no food storage systems. Things would get pretty difficult pretty quickly.
Sky One’s Revolution is a new US drama that shows pretty much exactly that. Set fifteen years after the entire world’s power supply just cut out with no warning or explanation. Things devolve quickly and the US is now run by ruthless militia groups that monopolise food and weapons while most people live in small villages scraping by on what they can grow or hunt. Needless to say, it isn’t the cheeriest of places.
It breeds tough characters such as protagonist Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), a teenage hunter who nonetheless provides the moral centre of the story. She is a quandary, a girl who has had to grow up fast but still has a ‘bratty teen’ air about her, a girl who would seem to do anything to rescue her kidnapped brother and avenge her murdered father but who stops her uncle from killing their attacker. Charlie is both a product of and against a tougher, more pitiless world than we could recognise. As a character she still has a way to go to realise her true potential. At times she is too bratty or conversely too earnest for us to like her but there are the beginnings of a Buffy-esque character that could hold her own.
Charlie is helped by a strong supporting cast. Billy Burke plays her former militia uncle, the dictionary definition of an anti hero and dependable provider of snark and put downs (every good show must have one). In addition there is comic relief character Aaron played by Zack Orth, an Internet millionaire before the blackout, Aaron is the dark horse of the ensemble. Initially he seems to be there solely to provide the laughs (he’s a fat guy, he has no skills, why is he tracking down the militia? Sort of thing) but he provides a more realistic point of view than Charlie. How many of us would really thrive on the hunting and gathering extreme survivor aspect? Aaron is an everyman and as such is much more identifiable than Charlie. Rounding out their merry band are two strong female characters Nora (Daniella Alonso) and Maggie (Anna Lise Philips) who are brawn and brains respectively. Nora wants to reform the United States and end the militia’s totalitarian rule but any means possible while Maggie is a doctor, using herbs to treat people, and mourns for children whose fate she doesn’t know. Both are strong and complex without sacrificing depth of characters.
The villains are just as well rounded. The militia is mostly made up of faceless mooks to be killed of in epic sword fights and western style shootouts with our heroes but Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito, the magic mirror from Once Upon a Time) has shown a softer, more compassionate side as he fights hard to keep hidden in addition to demonstrating his skills at manipulation and threats. General Monroe (David Lyons), the big bad of the series, is a good old fashioned, soft-spoken, power hungry psychopath.
Creator Eric Kripke also created Supernatural, and Revolution shares the same moral ambiguity in both its heroes and villains. It looks likely to be renewed for a second series in the US so only time will tell whether Revolution can sustain its initial concept over a number of series or whether it will fall under the weight and immovability of its own story arc. I for one am optimistic that there is much more material to be discovered here.