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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Revolution, Hollywood Style

I don't watch a lot of tv, but several of my friends have been bugging me to see Revolution. So I did, gritting my teeth the whole time.

As a writer, I'm appalled by the Hollywood-ness of the whole spectacle. I should've expected it, television being what it is, but if they were so intent on copying The Hunger Games at least throw in a bit of grittiness.

Evidently, after the power goes off worldwide, only the beautiful people remain. And get this, they all have brilliant fashion sense and great boots. Nobody is dirty or hungry. Liquor is readily available, and the bees must be working overtime because they have beeswax candles everywhere. Everyone works together for the good of their community. I didn't see a single person on the dole or homeless. 

The heck with the upcoming elections, if this is how it'll be, let's have dystopia now.

Charlie (the heroine) is so bleeding heart I just want to smack her. Fifteen years she lives without power and she's so soft and starry-eyed, I can't believe she's survived this long.

She's supposed to be this great hunter (hence the bow). Crossbows require constant maintenance and you need a certain amount of upper body strength--neither of which is evident. Methinks it's more a fashion accessory for Charlie. Please someone kill her off before I die from a diabetic coma.

Probably the thing that irked me the most is how idyllic they make it seem. When Hurricane Rita hit us seven years ago, we were without power for 21 days. We worked like DOGS! Everything took longer to do and we worked from before dawn to way past dark. We were dirty. We were hungry. And we were so exhausted from clearing brush and pulling trees that it was easier to go to bed hungry than try to fix something.

I guess Revolution is for people who think drinking an off-brand coffee is a hardship.

There are a few bright spots though. The chemistry between Miles and Nora is good. Nora is my kind of heroine. She's tough, determined and is a great risk-taker. Maggie, the only Brit in the show is also good. I like her low-key style for self-defense. The other character I found interesting was Charlie's mother. Obviously she has more sand in her britches than her husband. Go mom!

I predict Revolution won't make it. Like most television, they try to cater to the widest audience rather than sticking true to the genre. If you're going to write a dystopian tv show, take risks, be contentious, and for pity's sake, get the details right.

The grid is down. Fine. How did our ancestors mill grain, light their homes, or cook food? Do you really think the average back yard is sufficient space to grow your food for a year? And why has no one built a steam engine yet? Or produced lamp oil from sunflowers or pig fat? Surely there are still a few enterprising tinkerers who understand these concepts.

I will be sorely disappointed if they make up some cock-and-bull story on how they made the grid go down. The power necessary to generate that kind of dampening field is immense. It's also not easily hidden, nor is it self-sufficient.

My first novel, Touch of Fire is a dystopian/fantasy story. And you better believe I made sure I understood the herbs my heroine used or extrapolated the outcome of things like zoos and cultural shift. If television can't do the same with the kind of budgets they're working with, they might as well give up now and go back to producing another teen angst show. This is why I watch so little television.

Have you seen Revolution? Am I being too much of a stickler for detail or will the average Joe just swallow it whole? 

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Darke Conteur said...

I was going to watch this show, but now I'm not. Thank you for keeping me from wasting my time.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I'll give it one more episode to redeem itself from this week, but if it doesn't improve, that'll be it for me.

LD Masterson said...

I did a post a little while ago about TV not making an effort to "get things right". The thing that set me off was a medical absurdity but it's true across the board. As writers, we respect our readers enough to at least try to be accurate. Not so with TV.

I haven't seen Revolution because it comes on at the same time as my favorite show, Castle. I should hate Castle because of the outrageous liberties they take with police procedures but I love it because the relationship between Castle and Beckett is so much fun. I guess that makes me guilty of supporting TV getting away with getting things wrong.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I saw the first episode and am waivering, but since it's against two other shows I love, I'm thinking it will go by the wayside. I'd much rather watch Castle and Hawaii Five-O and I can't record three shows at once.

Yeah, it's pretty much doomed.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I like Nathan Fillion but I couldn't get into his absurd rich writer character.


Stacy: I caught the first episode on a rerun. But I think my husband said it was on Netflix too.

I don't hold much hope.

Angelina Rain said...

I'm not a big fan of TV. I found every show that I watch (which is a few) has it's fair share of holes and unrealistic moments, but when it's that many, I just can't watch.

Sandra Almazan said...

The heck with the upcoming elections, if this is how it'll be, let's have dystopia now.--Great line!

I don't have time to watch TV (I need to spend my few precious free moments writing), but I was tempted to give this show a try. Based on what you and other people are saying, I'm glad I didn't bother.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

I haven't seen Revolution. I guess it takes time to come out in Oz. Perhaps I won't bother after reading your post, as I also don't watch much television.

As for your nightmare with Hurricane Rita, I cannot imagine how difficult it was for you and I'm pleased you managed. We take so much for granted.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah i have big problems with it so far. I'm willing to give it half a season to see if it builds to anything good, but i dunno.
I'm irritated by how clean they all are. Also, yeah electricity stopped working, but if those guns work, then i'm pretty sure they'd still have a lot of technology. I mean, i can light a lightbulb with a potato. And miss "i'm a doctor, but i heal with herbs" - where are all the real doctors? It's only been 13 years, surgeons and stuff would still exist.
And don't even get me started on charlie's pretty pleather jacket.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I've seen it, and I'm with you. They have this fab setting and no one is using it.

I've also been griping about the steam. There are still some steam engines and boats in use today. Someone would have figured out in fifteen years how to get them going cross country on railroads and rivers. And hot air balloons? Nothing?

I'm also pissed about the girl who doesn't use her bow even though she's supposed to be fantastic at it.


When they were trying to free Nora, why did they have to get up close and use the half-assed gun? They had a freaking bow!!!!! Sigh.

Maria Zannini said...

Angelina: I can't believe how many genre tv shows there are and yet they're like empty calories.


Sandra: I had such high hopes. I haven't watched a regular tv show in ages.

Maria Zannini said...

Suzanne: Rita was a trial by fire, that's for sure. I really reassessed emergencies after that. We'd never been hit that hard and it was a cruel wake-up call.


Sarah: And don't you like that prisoners have prison uniforms and the militia have militia uniforms. Did they find a Uniforms-R-Us store in the aftermath?

Ref: doctor
I don't mind the doctor healing with herbs. After 15 years that would be the only drugs left. But I would like to see a more rounded view of society.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Ref: why did they have to get up close and use the half-assed gun?

ROTFL! I know! Right. It's so twisted. If we made these huge gaffs, our readers would skewer us to the wall.

Maybe I ought to be a script writer. :)

Angela Brown said... the title threw me off from the beginning. It's called Revolution. So I was thinking this was some sort of documentary type thing about the revolution or maybe a throwback to change things and make what happened in the revolution different.

Not post-apocalypse.

The rest of your post made me laugh because I have some story ideas that will touch on the "real" apocalyptic aftermath.

Perhaps all the sugary-sick is to show the "utopian" nature only to soon reveal the distorted dystopia it actually is...maybe?

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I dunno. TV has a habit of turning it all milk-soaked white bread. This is why these shows don't make it.

Mike Keyton said...

Bring back Rin Tin Tin!

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: LOL! Or at the very least Firefly.

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Maria, so well said. I quit watching TV, with the exception of Game of Thrones and The Borgias. And the reasons you cited are mostly why.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: I so wanted this show to work. I hate to throw stones, but the writers are either lazy or the producers don't want to complicate their show with silly things like facts and plot logic.

Angela Brown said...

Maria, I'm with you. Bring back Firefly. Please!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I so miss Firefly. Those characters were like family.