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NBC turns 'Revolution' back on

by jmaloni
Mon, Mar 25th 2013 10:40 am
`Revolution` returns Monday, March 25, at 10 p.m. on NBC. (NBC key art)
"Revolution" returns Monday, March 25, at 10 p.m. on NBC. (NBC key art)

Hit freshman action-adventure series returns Monday, following "The Voice"

10 new episodes in a row

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni

The Monday after Thanksgiving, the lights went out on "Revolution."

The show went on a midseason break and, since then, fans of the freshman NBC action-adventure have left been in the dark -- much like the characters on the show.

What does the future hold for Charlie, Danny, Miles and Monroe?

We're about to find out.

Tonight, the Peacock Network fires the power back up, bringing "Revolution" on line for the first of 10 new episodes in a row.

Teasers for "Revolution's" return have hinted Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) -- Charlie's and Danny's mother -- may have the know-how to restore the world's electricity.

But why did it go out in the first place, and what's happened in the years since the worldwide blackout?

Executive Producer Eric Kripke promises "Revolution" will not tarry in providing details.

"There's probably a lot of answers that we're giving in the second half that probably could have waited until season two, but we felt that we should 'smoke them if we've got them,' " he said. "We knew what some of our answers were, and we knew that we had these big reveals up our sleeve, and there just wasn't any reason to withhold them. So we just started spending our coin, and I think the episodes reflect that. I think you'll look at the second half and there's probably no one episode that doesn't have at least one big moment that either unveils more mythology or is a seminal moment in one of the character's lives that transforms them, and we really work hard to make sure there's something like that in every episode."

Kripke said that, within the first three new episodes, "Rachel reveals pretty much every single thing there is to know about why the blackout happened."

"(Director) Jon Favreau was hanging out with us in the writer's room and we were discussing the problem that, as a character, Rachel knew why the blackout happened, and she was back in and among heroes -- she wasn't captive anymore -- and we were really wrestling with the question, 'Well, why wouldn't she just tell them?' And then Jon ... came in and was able to provide much needed perspective. (He) just looked at me; he was like, 'She would tell them, so have her tell them.' And I said, 'Yes, you're right, you're right; she would say it, so she has to say.' And so she does.

"And so we reveal really why the blackout happened, but the card I think we have up our sleeve is, I think, the explanation really opens the door to much greater story possibility."

NBC is hoping "Revolution," and its lead-in, "The Voice," are the aces up its sleeve in what has become a sinking season, ratings-wise. The network was surging when these two series last aired during the holiday season. Since then, NBC has fallen -- hard -- into a viewership slump.

Kripke said he isn't sure why "Revolution" found favor with fans while other "event" shows -- including "Terra Nova," "V," and, yes, "The Event" -- failed to find a footing in recent seasons.

"Any writer who knows why his stuff works is lying," he said. "But I have my theories, but mostly I'm just grateful that people seem to be connecting with it, and I'm greatly appreciative that they're watching."

Kripke suggested part of what makes "Revolution" different from other big-ticket dramas is its approach to storytelling.

"My theory or my hope is because we actually put the -- yes, it's a genre show, but we try very hard to put the genre on the back-burner and put the characters front and center," he said. "And our focus in the writer's room is not 'What's the trippy, mind-bending concept' -- although we certainly love those -- our focus is, 'Well, how do those concepts bring out new dimensions of our characters, and how do we make it as emotional as possible, and how do we make these characters as fraught and complicated and tortured as possible?'

"Because, look, here's the truth of episodic television, which is you really want every episode -- you want every episode's storyline to be great, but the reality is the sheer volume of work means that some are great, and some of your stories as a writer suck out loud. But if the characters take and the actors create amazing characters, which I think they're doing, then viewers get invested. I don't think they get invested in any particular storyline, they get invested in the characters. And if the characters are working, then the series works. And conversely, it doesn't matter how cool your concept is; if the characters aren't appealing or relatable to the audience, then it will never work."

From an actor's standpoint, Mitchell, who scored with hit ensembles "ER" and "Lost," said "Revolution" works because its cast members create characters worthy of our time and investment.

"I love ensembles, I think mainly, because I started in theater and I love that idea," she explained. "What keeps people happy and engaged is good work, great words, and then I think coming together there's a lot of ... 'Lost' was the same way. We were all very supportive, but everybody came ready to play. And I think if you have that attitude and there's not ego, which is also the case on 'Revolution,' which I really like, then it's fun.

"You go in and it's fun; and you play together, and you antagonize each other on camera, and you love each other on camera, and you hate each other on camera, and then you go off and you try to figure out how to make it even better, and you come back and you try to do that. And that ... collaboration of a group is and has always been very exciting to me. I think it elevates everybody. You rise to the occasion, and I love that."

"Revolution" airs Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC. Find more about the show online at www.nbc.com/revolution.

>>Follow Joshua Maloni on Twitter.

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