We have a new hero. His name is Daniel Fienberg, and he writes like an angel over on HitFix.Com. Over the summer, Mr. Fienberg has been discussing his take (“This is *not* a review. Pilots change….”) on the pilots he’s seen for this Fall’s new shows. We’re going to try and play catch-up with his work. Hope you like what DF says and how he says it as much as we do.
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: NBC’S REVOLUTION – by Daniel Fienberg
The Pitch:“Remember when all of the networks were trying to do mythology-rich shows like ‘Lost,’ but they all failed? This is like those shows, only since there are fewer of them now and since we know how ‘Lost’ turned out, maybe this one won’t fail.”
Quick Response:Perhaps because it was directed by Jon Favreau — not that that’s any excuse, since it was written by Eric Kripke and produced by J.J. Abrams, both TV veterans — “Revolution” has the deliberate build of a 125-minute movie, only it stops at the 44-minute mark. That means that you spend a lot of time exposition-izing and then just when things get fun… BAM. See you next week. And the exposition-izing is odd, because in some ways, “Revolution” is astoundingly efficient. The set-up for premise is insanely swift, with the core energy outage taking place within the opening two minutes.
From there, we’re given 30 minutes of world-building that ideally either needed to take more time — so it had actual context and we cared about the characters — or less time — because a lot of stuff happened, but it doesn’t mean anything. And I couldn’t tell you which I’d prefer. On one hand, there’s a roadtrip to Chicago — impressively overgrown with foliage only 15 years after The Blackout — that could have been spaced over three or four episodes and actually meant something, but the pilot doesn’t really kick into gear until we get to Chicago and meet Billy Burke’s character, a sword-weilding Han Solo equivalent.