I am a rotten, sniveling television viewer. Easily bored, prone to wandering, apt to wear the same outfits as Rachel Maddow (although, not nearly as well). Last Monday night presented a prime-time example of my wah-wah-wah TV watching attitude. NBC’s new J.J. Abrams produced series, Revolution, debuted and I rated it as a two shrugs up show. I’d spent quite a few summer evenings watching past episodes of Sons Of Anarchy, Mad Men and Downton Abbey. The truth is, these were shows that spoiled me for even the best that the networks have to offer. The premise of Revolution is intriguing. The first episode, promoted to death during the Summer Olympics, imagines what the world might be like 15 years after every electrical device in existence stops operating one night. Planes crash, cars stop, former Lost-ie Elizabeth Mitchell looks on pensively. The world a decade and a half post-lights out could easily use the Talking Heads Nothing But Flowers as a soundtrack. Future citizens use wrecked cars as crock pots. Corn fields have replaced the Dairy Queens and 7-11’s. The show then loses power. Under martial law, the kids go all Hunger Games, walk to what’s left of Chicago (“Look! I found Andre Dawson!”), and try to reunite with kidnapped relatives. Slackers. They should have played Yahtzee and waited for Con-Ed to com out and fix the lights. Midway through the premier of Revolution I was waiting for Elizabeth Mitchell’s character Rachel to come back and detonate the nuclear device, destroy the island and remind us that it was all a dream. Instead, we watch the youngsters seek out Bella’s dad from Vampiretown, USA. He’s a winner. What’s with the chip on this guy’s shoulder? He’s tending a bar full of post-apocalyptic freaks! That’s the closest to a Mos Eisley acting gig as he’ll ever get.
Sons of Anarchy was a rough hour of TV to watch last week and doesn’t promise to get any better. Still, it was well a written, not-terribly cheesy hour. There was cause and effect, moral ambiguity, flawed and misplaced emotion. Gee, what weird concepts. The kind of weird behavior you’d expect when the lights have been out for 15 years (or, roughly the last time someone paid the electric bill at NBC).