March 3, 2013

THE SKED @ PALEYFEST 2013: “Revolution”


REVOLUTION showrunner/creator Eric Kripke said a lot of the right things at tonight’s PaleyFest session for his show.  Kripke told the crowd that with the series universe having been established, when the show returns from hiatus on March 25, it will be faster-paced and more heavily-plotted, with an increasing number of twists rooted in character and a much larger canvas for its story than just reuniting one callow teen with another.  (OK, he didn’t say the “callow” part.)  Kripke swore that most if not all of Revolution‘s initial plot questions will be answered by the end of the season, and that the central one of just why the lights went out will be cleared up in one of the first episodes back.  He even expressed some regret for the silly amulets that magically have the power to turn the electricity on (a little too much Lord of the Rings thinking went into those, he admitted).

Well, we’ll see.  Revolution was a hit throughout the fall, but one largely attributable to its huge The Voice lead-in, and even so its ratings diminished greatly as the season wore on, a sign that despite its success, the show needed work.  The fixes Kripke described were, indeed, good ideas–if they’re real and well executed.

As was the case with the Walking Dead panel the night before, the new PaleyFest format only allowed for about 10 minutes of the March 25 episode to be screened (avert your eyes if a SPOILER ALERT is necessary before confirming that our main characters weren’t massacred by the helicopter that loomed over them menacingly at the midseason cliffhanger), along with a few minutes worth of teaser trailer for the rest of the season.  Indications are that at least some of the characters will become darker in the latter part of the season, including Billy Burke’s Miles and Elizabeth Mitchell’s Rachel (she didn’t attend the panel), and there are several reunions ahead for characters who are currently apart, as well as journeys to new parts of the post-apocalyptic America, including the new country of Georgia.

The rest of the night’s Q & A was routine for these kinds of things, as each cast member vowed undying affection and fealty for the others (the positively cuddly Giancarlo Esposito proved once again what a great performance his terrifying Gus Fring had been), and claimed to find depths in their characters so far not particularly evident to viewers.  Executive Producer J.J. Abrams swooped in from his palace in the clouds (where he plots to take over every major fantasy/sci-fi franchise in world history) to recount the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup moment when Kripke’s idea to follow a group of characters after an unspecified disaster crashed into Bad Robot’s concept of a show taking place after all technology went dead.  Somewhat surprisingly, Jon Favreau, a Co-Executive Producer who hasn’t been closely linked to the show since directing the pilot, also attended, and did a fine job of explaining the special challenges that come with establishing the tone of a show at the pilot stage.

Since The Voice is–or so NBC prays–a sure thing hit at this point, the successful return of Revolution may be the single most important aspect of midseason for the desperate network.  If Kripke delivers on his promises, he actually will be keeping the lights on at NBC.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."