When ABC's Lost ended in 2010, it left a mysterious-island-sized hole in the TV schedule that networks have spent the past two years trying, and failing, to fill. And despite the defeats suffered by several expensive, high-profile flops — ABC's FlashForward, ABC's V, and NBC's The Event — NBC is soldiering on with another high-concept survival drama. In Revolution, which debuted Monday night, mysterious and ambiguously supernatural things happen in a world where all modern technology abruptly and inexplicably fails, sending all of humankind into a second dark age. The premiere earned the highest ratings for a new original drama in three years. Is Revolution the next great mystery series that Lost fans have been looking for?
The next Lost has been found: "Revolution shows enough high-concept ambition to fill network television's near-vacuum of cliffhanger-driven mythology dramas," says Hugh Hart at Wired. Revolution is clearly influenced by Lost, but it's also quite original, which sets it apart from many of Lost's weaker imitators. Most importantly, Revolution's pilot leaves a number of "breadcrumbs" for future episodes, which means that there's no shortage of mysteries for the show to explore — and viewers to debate — as the season progresses.
"Review: In Revolution, post-apocalypse looks like a swashbuckle in the park"
It's just another failed Lost clone: Revolution is less like Lost and more like two other swiftly canceled series that have "disappeared from memory," says Troy Patterson at Slate: Fox's Terra Nova and NBC's The Event, which were each hailed as "the next Lost" before they were axed. Revolution echoes the failed series' "shadowy conspiracies and shady narrative logic" without managing to satisfy viewers' "thirst for serial intrigue." With its by-the-numbers fight scenes and ham-handed attempts at humor, Revolution is yet another show that fails to capture the spark that earned Lost such a devoted fan base.
"J.J. Abrams' Revolution: Pray for a blackout"
Revolution is a lot like Lost — in a bad way: Revolution takes great pains to imitate Lost, copying the series' flashbacks and offering "plenty of cryptic clues about what happened with the power and whether it can already be turned back on," says Alan Sepinwall at HitFix. But are those really aspects of Lost worth imitating? Both Lost and its stylistic predecessor, Fox's The X-Files, showed that "mythology on a sci-fi series like this becomes more trouble than it's worth" when the characters and storyline aren't interesting enough on their own. As it stands, Revolution needs to work on its fundamentals before it gets bogged down in its own complex mythology.
"Review: NBC's Revolution lacking power"
Consensus: Revolution may satisfy Lost junkies who are desperate for a fix, but most TV viewers can keep the power off.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- Why isn't 'Arkansas' pronounced like 'Kansas'?
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- Don't listen to Paul Ryan: The GOP is still the party of makers and takers
- Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood
Subscribe to the Week