If the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over expecting different results, consider us crazy for NBC’s REVOLUTION. Seriously. Forget the countless hours wasted watching a long line of failed LOST wannabes (See: SURFACE, THE EVENT, INVASION, FLASHFORWARD, V, among many many others), because REVOLUTION showrunner Eric Kripke (who created the series alongside J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau) recently took a few minutes poolside at a Television Critics Association Press Tour Party in Los Angeles to present his fairly convincing argument as to why skeptics (not to mention SUPERNATURAL fans) should consider tuning in to tonight’s series premiere.
He’s Been Paying Close Attention to the Slew of Post-LOST Failures
Eric Kripke: Being a genre fan myself, I’m well aware that the television landscape is littered with genre ensemble shows that have failed and in my mind the best way to make a genre show is to not make it about the genre at all. To put the genre into the background and make it about the characters. I always say that if there is one thing that a couple of those shows had in common is that they were a little too focused on their concept and not focused enough on the fact that the concept isn’t really why people tune in. It might be why they watch the pilot, or what the splashy marketing campaign is about, but it’s really about complicated, imperfect, very human, very flawed characters trying to get together and trying to make their way home. I watched every episode of LOST and I can tell you that I think the island was fine, I was reasonably interested in what happened with it, but I watched the show for Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly and the rest. Wherever they took me I was going because I loved them, so in REVOLUTION we have a very character first rule which I hope people will respond to.
Kripke has Constructed REVOLUTION as an Epic Journey
Eric Kripke: I was very much smitten with the idea of doing a series version of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, a very epic sprawling saga or a quest. It’s about people seeking something. And so they’re moving across this American landscape every episode going through a different town, different village and confronting some issue. It’s a total roadshow and we’re rebuilding sets every week. My last show SUPERNATURAL was a road show, which is unbelievably difficult because there are no standing sets and you rebuild them every time. And I thought to myself, you know what I need to do is torture myself more on my next one. So not only am I going to have a roadshow, I’m going to have a roadshow that takes place fifteen years after the collapse of society where production has to not just build a motel room, they have to build this incredible vine covered tree sprouting motel room!
Eric Kripke: LOST was an incredibly relatable concept, what happens if your plane crashes on a deserted island, what do you do? I think this is an equally relatable concept. What happens if there is a permanent blackout? I think all of us are overextended with our technology. I think none of us are anymore angry then when our computers freeze, I think we’re dangerously separated from our food and water supplies and I think everyone feels it. We’re living in this slightly artificial not-quite-genuine life. What if we were able to chuck our iPhones and go live in the woods, camp and survive, how would we live? For the record I’m dead on day three, but hopefully it’s a really relatable concept that people can visualize themselves in this world because all it takes for this world to happen is for someone to flick the switch. Hopefully people will respond to that.
Answers are Forthcoming
Eric Kripke: I’m not a fan of the sort of endless teased out mystery that lasts forever. I prefer a slightly more aggressive, slightly more muscle car, slightly more red-blooded attack on mythology which is present some questions, drive people crazy just long enough and answer the question but let the question open the door to a whole new series of crazier questions and keep expanding it outward. I’m hopeful the fact that I know where the show is going, I know what the answers are, I’m not making stuff up as we go and I know that watching a television show is an incredible investment. I want to honor the fact that audiences are taking an hour out of their busy week by letting them feel confident that they’re in the hands of a storyteller who knows where his story is going.
SUPERNATURAL Shout Outs a Plenty!
Eric Kripke: I will say this, if you watch the pilot, there will be shout outs! Some of them are unintentional and clearly I have certain taste issues that come up again and again. Within the first give minutes of the pilot of REVOLUTION, there are two dudes in a muscle car playing AC/DC. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until Favreau [Director Jon Favreau] on set turned to me and said, “This is like your other show right now!” And I was like, “My God You’re right!” I didn’t even realize it at the time, so there are definitely going to be nods to SUPERNATURAL throughout.
REVOLUTION premieres on Monday September 17th at 10PM on NBC (CityTV in Canada)