NBC's 'Revolution' prepares more questions for TV audience

Posted 1:49pm on Tuesday, Apr. 02, 2013

Eric Kripke, the creator and executive producer of NBC's Revolution, says it's good enough for him if viewers love the show strictly for the characters, the cliffhangers and the swashbuckling sword fights.

Not every TV series has to be a heavy-duty thinker, he says.

But the truth is that Revolution, back on the air at 9 p.m. Monday after a four-month hiatus, is a thinker.

It's a cautionary tale involving our addiction to technology.

On the series, America went dark 15 years ago -- every piece of technology suddenly useless: no computers, cars, phones or electric lights -- and it dramatically changed the landscape.

What if a big-scale blackout like that happened for real?

"We are, as a culture, really over-reliant on technology," Kripke says. "It used to be a convenience and now it's a necessity. We are dangerously separated from our food and water supplies.

"Very few of us would know what to do in any kind of calamity: how to find our children, how to provide the basic necessities of survival. This show hopefully makes a few people think about that."

Action thrills

Not that Kripke is suggesting we should all power down our smartphones and stock up on candles.

But he does hope we recognize what the true cost of easy and abundant technology ultimately might be.

"There's been such a seismic shift over the last couple of years," Kripke says. "Everyone is so focused on the world that is on their screen, they're not looking up and seeing the world around them and connecting in the moment with people who are literally standing across from them."

But now it's time for Kripke to climb off his soapbox, because many people watch Revolution purely for the popcorn thrills. For those viewers, the second half of Season 1 won't disappoint.

Last week's return episode dropped quite a few bombshells.

It opened with Monroe, the bad-guy military leader played by David Lyons, using his newfound "amplifier" to power the assault helicopters he sent to wipe out the resistance. Instead of hand-to-hand fighting, the battles -- and the explosions -- are going big scale.

Then the episode closed with the death of a pivotal character, Danny (Graham Rogers).

"I think you'll look at the second half, and there's probably not one episode that doesn't have at least one big moment that either unveils more mythology or is a seminal moment in one of the character's lives," Kripke says. "We work hard to make sure there's something like that in every episode."

Big reveal

In fact, even the big question of why power went out in the first place will soon be addressed. No waiting years for that revelation. The answer will come in the episode that airs April 8.

"Rachel [Elizabeth Mitchell's character] reveals pretty much every single thing there is to know about why the blackout happened," Kripke says. "That scene goes against many of your baked-in sure-weather instincts as a producer.

"You're not supposed to have a scene that reveals every single thing in three minutes. Yet I don't think we box ourselves in a corner. I think we open a door to a whole new world. Then we ask more questions. Because for me the story was never about what caused the blackout.

"The show isn't just based on one particular mystery. It's based on these characters and this world and this kind of transformed landscape that they have adventures in."

It's worth noting that the Los Angeles-based producer, given what he had to say about our technology addiction, is crucially reliant on technology when it comes to running the show. Revolution is filmed on the other side of the country, in Wilmington, N.C.

"We're emailing and Skype-ing and sending photos and dailies are coming," Kripke says.

"You can actually get quite a lot of producing done just by sitting at your computer, which is funny and ironic."

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