Friday, September 21, 2012

Revolution review

I watched the new NBC Sci-Fi show Revolution until the logical anomalies became too much to handle. That took about 10 minutes. The show opened with a man dashing into his home and madly downloading something to a flash drive while trying to call a friend. The man accomplishes his task at the very last moment (of course) and installs the flash drive into an amulet. Never mind what he was trying to download or how he obtained the amulet - this is the mystery of our tale.

He contacts his friend who is driving along some freeway to warn him of the impending power failure but is cut off by the same failure. As the friend's car dies, he exits it and watches the lights of the cars behind him slowly die off. We pan to a shot of the world where the lights flicker off much faster than they did on that freeway. Finally, we go back to the home of the man with the amulet as he, his wife and two small children watch as a jet falls out of the sky to explode in a residential area. Interestingly, in spite of the fact that power is out, the landing lights of the jet are still working.

The next scene is 15 years later. The family lives in what looks like a suburban cul-de-sac whose yards have been converted to agriculture. A man is trying to teach the village children. A number of things about this post-apocalyptic village are of interest. First, the tiny fields would not be adequate to keep a couple supplied with food for a year much less a village. All of the houses seem to be in good repair. None has peeling paint after a decade and a half and none show signs of makeshift modifications necessary to accommodate fireplaces or wood stoves, the only possible source for heating and cooking. The men are freshly shaved - perhaps the beneficiaries of a cache of razor blades. One of the villagers must have been a hair stylist prior to the disaster since all are perfectly coifed. All of the clothes are manufactured, clean, well fitting and in good repair. One of the children whom the man is trying to teach is obese, not chubby, obese, as if children of a hunting and subsistence agriculture community would have the extra calories or lack of exercise to become obese. The man who is teaching wears glasses which seem to have the correct prescription, have not been repaired and show no signs of scratching.

The two children of the man from the first scene are now in their late teens. They are off on a hunting adventure. The boy, who was a brunette as a toddler, is now a blond. Tow heads often grow up to be brunettes, but not the other way around. The girl is carrying a crossbow that looks like it had only recently been taken off the display wall at Cabelas. On their trip, they encounter an RV that crashed during the blackout. This amazing 15-year-old vehicle shows no sign of rust or deterioration. I wanted to get the brand name so I could order one of these sturdy vehicles. The girl enters the vehicle through the driver's door window climbing down on the driver's seat which still has all of its upholstery and doesn't crack under the weight of two teenagers crawling over it. Inside, they search for useful items (as if any would still be there after this long). The boy opens a cabinet getting a face full of dust which triggers an asthma attack. His sister helps him run back to the village. For those of you who have never had an asthma attack, you don't have the breath to do any running.

By this time, I was starting to think of this little village in the larger context of the disaster. The village area is obviously close to a road or the RV wouldn't be within easy hiking distance. Judging by the number of houses and their close proximity to each other, it is in a suburban area. Yet there is no sign of conflict or defenses. Did all of the people in the town (and the town in the first scene looked like a major city) stay home and die without migrating out in search of food and safety?

I was willing to suspend disbelief and allow that all of the power in the world went out. I was even willing to overlook the fact that if the effect was so pervasive that even batteries didn't work then it should also affect the functioning of animal's nervous systems which are also electro-chemical in nature like a battery. What I couldn't overlook were all those well groomed, clean shaven, stylishly dressed and well armed people in a neat, tidy post-apocalyptic world. The illogic of the show was overwhelming before the first commercial. And the networks wonder why their shows don't get better ratings. The image of the plane spiraling down to crash and burn seems appropriate for Revolution.