Fall TV Second Look: Revolution (NBC)

  • Publish Date: October 9, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 9 user comments

Throughout the next month, we'll be taking a second look at select new fall shows to see how critics' opinions are evolving. We start today with a re-evaluation of NBC's hit Revolution.

Drama | Mondays at 10p NBCRevolution

Critics Users
64 5.4
based on 1 ep. 92 votes

Consensus After 4 Episodes
Steady Steady
... but still not great

How it's doing: It's a rare hit for NBC, winning its timeslot in the key 18-49 demographic and combining with The Voice to allow the network to win the Monday night ratings battle over the first three weeks of the season (the first time since at least the 1980s that NBC has done so). As a result, Revolution has been given a full-season order.

About that Metascore: Despite that green Metascore—which is based on the single episode provided to critics at the start of the season—fewer than half of the reviewers we surveyed actually gave the pilot a positive review. Many critics had a muted response to that first hour, finding it generic and unconvincing, and some of the characters annoying.

Subsequent episodes

Trending Symbols
The symbols below do NOT represent the absolute quality of each episode; instead, they provide a very rough snapshot of how individual critics feel each episode compares to previous episodes
IMPROVING: Indicates the critic has noted a general improvement in quality
Liked it STEADY: Indicates that episode quality has remained steady (which could be good news or bad)
Liked it DECLINING: Indicates a general decline in quality in that episode

Episode 2 (aired 9/24/12)
Steady A.V. Club / Les Chappell Episode grade: 67
"After a fairly disappointing first episode, I was genuinely curious what course of action Revolution was going to establish for its week-to-week structure. ... Unfortunately, the last five minutes of the episode indicate the show's more problematic elements are still hanging out, as two major reveals are forced into the denouement to derail most of the earlier momentum."
Steady Cinema Blend / Lauren Heimbaugh  
"Following its decent start, Revolution doesn't really take a definitive step in either the right or wrong direction."
Steady Den of Geek / Billy Grifter  
"Some TV shows have a poor pilot, but manage to turn things around once the wheels of production start turning. Such hopes for Revolution were dashed at the earliest opportunity, because the second outing was as entirely nonsensical as the first."
Steady HitFix / Alan Sepinwall  
"I wasn't crazy about the 'Revolution' pilot, and there wasn't a lot in 'Chained Heat' to make me feel better."
Steady IGN / Eric Goldman Episode grade: 77
"Revolution's second episode was solid, adding more elements to this world - though a few characters still need work."
Steady io9 / Charlie Jane Anders  
"The best thing you can say about Revolution at this point is that it still has loads of potential, and it's finding its feet."
Steady Paste / Adam Vitcavage Episode grade: 73
"It's a run-of-the-mill sci-fi drama that has planted some nice stories, but it also provides some shrug-worthy moments."
Improving Screen Rant / Kevin Yeoman  
"It feels like episode 2 had more energy overall than the rather ho-hum premiere last week, but there's still a long way to go. With some intriguing avenues exposed in 'Chained Heat,' Revolution has delivered on the possibility of its storyline – now it will be interesting to see what the rest of the season does with all that potential."
Declining ShowBuzzDaily / Mitch Salem  
The second episode ... was a far cry visually from the Jon Favreau-directed pilot. ... Revolution simply isn't very compelling so far. The characters aren't even as well drawn as those in Falling Skies (which it greatly resembles), and so far there's no forward motion to the story, just a lot of circling about.
Steady TV.com / Tim Surette  
"'Chained Heat' failed most tests as a second episode, staying roughly in line with the quality of the inept pilot and really defining this show as a modern-day ham radio adventure tale—or, for you more modern folk, an 80-plus-hour role-playing video game."
Steady TV Fanatic / Nick McHatton Episode grade: 80
"Revolution attempted to smooth out its narrative potholes in 'Chained Heat,' but did the new NBC drama succeed? For me, it's a simple yes."
Episode 3 (aired 10/1/12)
Improving A.V. Club / Les Chappell Episode grade: 75
"For the second week in a row, Revolution feels like a show that's in the process of finding itself, delivering reliable action scenes from its network budget and gradually increasing the effectiveness of its character moments. More promisingly, after throwing a bunch of 'dramatic reveals' out in the closing minutes of last week's episode, all of them are absent from the episode—no Rachel, Grace, or the mysterious 'Randall'—and the big question of the power coming back on takes a backseat to day-to-day survival."
Steady Cinema Blend / Lauren Heimbaugh  
"It continues to struggle with some key elements that could end up breaking the show if it doesn't turn around soon. Character development and depth are lacking, story is too episodic with little to no real meat before getting to the 'surprise' endings each week, and it is too reliant on Miles the swashbuckler."
Improving Den of Geek / Billy Grifter  
"This was a much more interesting episode than the previous two, though I'd hardly call it gripping by any stretch of imagination."
Improving HitFix / Alan Sepinwall  
"I'm still not in love, but 'No Quarter' was overall a more interesting version of the show 'Revolution' wants to be than either the pilot or 'Chained Heat.'"
Steady IGN / Eric Goldman Episode grade: 74
"The beginning of this episode felt really clunky ... Fortunately, [it] improved as it went on."
Improving io9 / Charlie Jane Anders  
"A while back, we asked: Is Revolution the new Terra Nova, or the new Supernatural? And now we can say definitively that it's closer to the latter. You may hate this show's magical premise, but you can't deny it's doing the right things to develop staying power."
Improving Screen Rant / Kevin Yeoman  
"By and large, it feels like Revolution is searching for a means of consistency and a stronger way of presenting its story. ... Revolution is taking small steps, but seems to be going in the right direction. We'll see if things continue to progress as the season moves on."
Steady Time / James Poniewozik  
"I didn't love the pilot, but given the glimmer of potential in the premise, and the fact that it will be around with us for a while, I've stuck with it. And after three episodes, it's… not bad. I still have some of the same core problems that I did with the pilot: I want to see more spark of life in the non-Giancarlo Esposito characters and in the dialogue generally. And I wanted a greater sense that a decade and a half without electricity, and without most forms of civilization generally, has truly changed people–not just the facts of their lives, but their psychology and emotional outlook."
Steady TV.com / Tim Surette  
"I don't know if last night's episode of Revolution was any better than the first two, but I did notice some minor improvements over the course of this hour that rose above the problems that are endemic to the series."
Steady TV Fanatic / Nick McHatton Episode grade:82
"'Quarter' offered up a mostly plot-less, albeit fun, adventure. And while I would hope for things to begin shaping up a little better by now, at least the show is giving information out in dribs and drabs rather than in an all or nothing format."
Episode 4 (aired 10/8/12)
Improving A.V. Club / Les Chappell Episode grade: 75
"This is a show that's increasingly finding its footing."
Improving Cinema Blend / Lauren Heimbaugh  
"Another week of Revolution marks an up step in the show's short run, though it remains a little shaky with a plot that is put together quite clunkily, a story that continues to stand apart from the other episodes more so than working towards tying them together with a stronger through-line, and a title that means absolutely nothing."
Steady IGN / Eric Goldman Episode grade: 70
"Revolution delivered some strong emotional moments this week, while also causing frustration by underlining too much."
Declining io9 / Charlie Jane Anders  
"It's official: the failure mode of Revolution is melodrama. We witnessed it last night. I still really like this show, and I want it to be as good as it was a week ago — but last night's episode had me wishing the power would go out permanently, so I didn't have to watch any more of this claptrap."
Improving Screen Rant / Kevin Yeoman  
"For an episode that's as far away from answering what caused the blackout as the series has ventured thus far, we see just how effective Revolution can be focusing on more immediate tasks and getting into the human elements of the story."
Steady TV.com / Tim Surette  
"Despite taking a giant step toward legitimacy with a surprising turn of events, 'The Plague Dogs' was still a horrible hour of television bogged down by plot holes, story convenience, and plain old idiotic decisions. At least we can say Revolution is consistent."
Declining TV Fanatic / Nick McHatton Episode grade:60
"Revolution's continuing epic saga of walking in Danny's general direction would have a whole lot more impact if it could be set up in a way that made me care about Danny."

What do you think?

What do you think of Revolution? Is it getting any better or worse as the season progresses? Are you sticking with it?

Comments (9)

  • kanzyman  

    The following is a spoiler
    The plot reveals that whats responsible for the blackout is nano computers the size of a virus that go and absorbs electricity and multiply, its also mentioned that they are being breathed by people so if why doesn't those viruses absorb all the electricity inside humans and render them vegetables and eventually dead?

  • suz__  

    if there is no electricity how are the synapses in anyone's brains working and what stopped the worlds nuclear reactors from over heating?

  • Tickedoff  

    Back in the dim and distant past of the mid seventies I watched a kids science fiction show in the UK called The Changes http://www.thechestnut.com/changes.htm written by Peter Dickson as a trilogy of books. I was surprised to learn the writer of Revolution did not pay any homage to Mr Dickson when he said that it was an original idea.

  • Bret  

    I've watched every episode, but I'm ready to give up. Tonight's episode where the cast spends the entire show in a tunnel was just too much. The story moves at a snail's pace. Tonight' was just extra padding because the writers don't have enough story for an entire season.. At one point when the cast is almost out of air, Charlie and Miles stop and have a long conversation instead of continuing on to look for an exit. How ridiculous! And why don't they put out a few torches if they think that's what's eating up all the oxygen? And what happened to the rest of the rebels who went with them? The traitor only shot two of them.

    And Charlie is such an annoying, whiny, stupid character. It's not all the fault of the actor. The writers give her such dumb dialogue. Danny is a much more interesting character, but the entire season is spent trying to rescue him. Even if we buy the science behind the show's premise, the individual episodes are so infuriating with their slow pace and stupid and unbelievable character interaction that I'm not watching anymore.

  • Gigs79  

    I actually like the genre and premise but what's killing the show to me is the bad acting/directing. A lot of the actors are overacting and the direction seems to be over dramatic with every line. Its such a shame could have been good. Trying to decide if I can get over the bad acting to follow the interesting storyline.

  • NeoBasch  

    Steady... but still not great? A lot of the individual scores for each episode are above 70. That indicates that it's at least pretty to really good, which is a heck of a lot closer to great than this article makes it seem (its definitely not mediocre by any stretch of the imagination: 666 Park Avenue is mediocre, Mob Doctor is mediocre--Revolution actually started out pretty good and became insanely good in the third episode (IMO) and only fell a tiny bit in quality with the fourth (still a great episode--2nd best so far). So I definitely see it as improving. Not steady. But I agree, the second episode was pretty disappointing.

    Definitely more Supernatural than Terra Nova. Terra Nova actually fell in quality as the show went on. It didn't get better it got worse. Supernatural didn't get good until the second half of Season 1 (with the exception of the Pilot and the episode Home). That's how long I think it will take for this show to truly take off.

  • khan2705  

    After checking out the pilot, i couldn't bring myself to watch other episodes. Its not bad but it looks familiar like a few other genre shows.

  • conditionals  

    I want to enjoy it, but I just find it totally boring. I can see myself watching the whole season, and it's a sad, sad future ahead of me.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Revolution is Jericho without the intelligence. I've seen the first 3 eps, but getting myself to sit down for ep 4 has been tough.

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