Revolution's first season was uneven, to say the least, but don't lose faith in the series just yet. The show is executive-produced by Eric Kripke, the same man who turned a simple demon-hunting series into a high-concept war between Heaven, Hell and the two brothers caught in between. If Kripke can positively revamp Supernatural, why can't the same be done for Revolution?
When Revolution returns this fall, it will be a perfect opportunity for the drama to get a fresh start. So listen up, Kripke! Here are our five suggestions on how to fix Revolution:
1. Turn the lights back off: What initially set Revolution apart from the droves of other mystery shows was its unique premise: 15 years after all technology stops working, families struggle to survive in a limited environment. It was relatable enough to unnerve, while remaining out there enough to intrigue. But instead of sticking with the swordfights and wild west tropes , Revolution has gone the way of cancer-curing nanites, electromagnetic guns and special effects. The science-heavy mythology the series has developed undermines the very premise which originally drew in its (slowly dwindling) audience. Hopefully, the Season 2 premiere will find Aaron (Zak Orth) shutting the power back off to stop the missiles and therefore return the show to its anti-tech roots.
2. Break the formula: Monroe (David Lyons) has a secret son! The gang reenacts Clue! Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Jason (JD Pardo) are Romeo and Juliet reincarnated! What's the value in a creating a mystery show that mines from plots that are so clichéd, even a soap would think twice before going there? Revolution's pedestrian story lines can easily lull the viewers into a state of apathy, so that when the unexpected does occur (paging Randall, the patriot) it seems disjointed and jarring. One way to avoid that: skip the melodramatic, predictable plots altogether! Cheap thrills and trite twists can only get a show so far. If Revolution hopes to stick around, it needs to put its own spin on these clichés instead of just rehashing them.
3. Find a niche and commit to it: Sci-fi shows aren't for everyone, but that hasn't stopped Revolution from trying to stretch its appeal. Is it a rough and tumble action series or a high-concept brainbuster? A character drama or war epic? Sometimes it feels as though even the producers aren't sure. Instead of developing a complex mythology for viewers to dissect, Revolution has haphazardly tossed out jargon and explanations too dull to care about. That is, if you even understand them. Much of the show's mythology is inevitably lost in the muddle of war games, drone strikes and forbidden loves, all of which just waste time in between big reveals. When the show returns, it needs to pick a side and commit. (We're pushing for the high-concept, character drama ourselves, but at this point we'll settle for any form of consistency.)
4. Only focus on interesting characters: This does not, however, mean the "lead" character. There's no debating Charlie is the weakest link in the ensemble. Over the course of the season, Charlie succeeded in becoming bearable, but she'll never have the moxie to compete with Monroe, Neville and Miles. The battle for Charlie's humanity has grown stale. Rachel's (Elizabeth Mitchell) guilt can be grating. The show has already done away with Nora (Daniella Alonso)and Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips). Why not let the two remaining Matheson women follow suit and provide space for more dynamic, engaging female characters? Their deaths could provide emotional ammunition to drive the plot, while opening up room to develop the relationship between Miles (Billy Burke) and Monroe.
And one can never go wrong with too much Giancarlo Esposito. The Neville family continually provides far more vitality to the series than the do-gooder Mathesons. Now that Tom (Esposito) has taken over the Republic, it seems things are only going to get better (for us, not for the citizens of Revolution). Let Neville embrace his evil impulses and give Miles a real foe to fight against.
5. Don't be afraid to go dark: With a new, earlier 8/7c timeslot, there are fears the show might be forced to domesticate itself when it returns. That would be huge a mistake. Violence lies at the very core of Revolution, as twisted as that sounds. Without high stakes to balance out Miles & Co.'s fight for The Greater Good, we might as well be watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Plus, Revolution's darkest characters have always brought out the best in our heroes, both in acting and narrative. It's possible that for the show to be truly good, it needs to let the bad shine. Throw more, tougher obstacles in our heroes' way. Kill off characters. Get gruesome. Get ruthless. Make us feel what a struggle it is to survive in 2027! The harder the fight, the sweeter the victories and the more inspirational their idealism will become, instead of coming off as tediously naïve.
How would you fix Revolution?