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Scott D. Pierce: 'Revolution' is a hit? How did that happen?

Published November 5, 2012 3:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There are mysteries galore associated with NBC's hit show "Revolution." What caused the worldwide blackout that ended everything electrical — even batteries? Can the power be turned back on? Would turning the power back on be a good thing?

And, above all else, how did this show turn into a hit?

Certainly, genre shows — of the science-fiction genre, that is — tend to struggle on broadcast networks. Several somewhat similar shows ("Jericho," "FlashForward," "The Event") have crashed and burned recently.

And "Revolution" is hardly a perfect show. It's weighed down by sometimes ponderous plots, some absolutely atrocious acting and leaps of logic that you have to actively try to ignore.

Being a genre show means you're going to be nitpicked. It comes with the territory. And there have been lots of complaints about errors of logic in "Revolution," a show set in the future, 15 years after the electricity went off.

Like — where do the clothes come from? Would cities of concrete be so overrun with vegetation in such a relatively short span of time? Who maintained the railroad tracks for the steam engine? How do the women have such great hair when they're sleeping in the woods?

Sure, you have to suspend disbelief. But "Revolution" requires more suspension than most.

Don't get me wrong. I kind of like the show, although I do sometimes hit the fast-forward button on the DVR during the, um, less exciting parts.

And you have to give creator/executive producer Eric Kripke ("Supernatural") credit for defying a couple of TV conventions. First, he killed off someone we assumed was a regular character — Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips). "We want the audience to understand no one is safe, including the main characters," Kripke told TV critics.

That's gutsy storytelling.

Second, Kripke promises he won't drag out the mysteries for too long. And that includes the secret of what made the power go out, which he vows he'll reveal by the end of the season. Possibly earlier.

And he promises the explanation will make sense. He even has the approval of a physicist. "We gave him the big secret as to why it all happened," he said. "We really vetted it to make sure that it was accurate from the scientific point of view. And his face just lit up. I mean, he was like, 'That is absolutely possible. I never even considered it, but that's amazing.' "

Honestly, viewers don't care if it's possible, just that it seems plausible within the show. "Star Trek" fans aren't bothered by the fact that faster-than-light travel isn't realistic.

Make the scripts less lumbering, get a couple of the actors acting lessons and we'll be happy.

And here's a secret revealed. One big reason "Revolution" is a hit: It airs after "The Voice."

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.