Once again, “Revolution” will be televised.
After nearly four months in the dark, NBC’s breakout hit series about post-apocalyptic power struggles – literally, in a land where electricity is (or at least appears to be) a near-nonexistent commodity – returns with ten consecutive weeks of new episodes to cap off its debut season.
“Revolution’s” creative team – including creator/executive producer Eric Kripke, executive producer J.J. Abrams and cast members Elizabeth Mitchell, Tracy Spiridakos and Giancarlo Esposito – reveal that their time off the air (the last new episode was broadcast in late November) was well-spent, tweaking and fine-tuning a series that had already won over viewers out of the gate.
Eric Kripke: We pick up exactly where we leave off. We don't take away that card that we gave as the cliffhanger: Monroe does have choppers, and he does have a limited form of power, but power. Really, for me, giving him power was more about making him an unstoppable force, that your heroes are totally out-manned and overwhelmed as they're trying to battle against him. And we play that out, and we start to deliver officially on the promise of the title and the revolution really begins.
And the story becomes about how can this family – some of them are related by blood, some of them are just related by loyalty –stick together in the face of these overwhelming odds and this overwhelming danger? And can you maintain your soul when you're a warrior? Because, for us, yes, the show is about power, and, yes, the show's about mythology and mystery and all that. But for me, the show is just about these characters and really trying to find the human heart of them and the good guys doing the wrong thing and the bad guys doing the right things and everyone's doing them for the right and wrong reasons and how can they all find each other in the darkness.
J.J. Abrams: Eric pitches these ideas that are not just compelling and titillating and exciting, but they're usually not binary. They've been thought out. They have these tentpole moments. So this is one of those things where I think, given the way I've heard the story pitched, the genie is put back in the bottle – like we're actually able to tell stories that will give us these moments and peaks that you know this power exists, the power is out there. It's part of what I think the incredible struggle is and the conflict that you'll see which I'm really, really looking forward to airing in the second half of the season. And you'll be able to see that knowing that that's really what the goal is: that the power is possible.
Elizabeth Mitchell: I get really excited every time I get a script – I read it as fast as I can, even if I just have my phone with me. I sit there and just look at the whole thing. I feel like Eric's mind is devious and creative, and I like that.
Tracy Spiradakos: I've really enjoyed seeing Charlie go from this kind of innocent, wide‑eyed little girl and trusting everybody and then growing from that into, you know, a warrior. And she's always had the strength, but she maybe didn't have the experience that she needed to survive in this world.
Kripke: [One] thing that this little break has afforded us – which is a first-time luxury for me – is the ability to take a breath, look at what we've done, really analyze it, and make adjustments. Because usually you're in such triage from beginning to end, and I think if we learned any one thing, I think we did a lot of things right. I think the characters are amazing, the actors are killing it, but I felt like we could pick up the pace of the stunning revelations. I felt that maybe the pace of the shocking surprises was a little bit too slow in the first half, if I was being hard on myself, and that we really wanted to have a second half that was bigger and better and more exciting and more revelations, all at the same time, still maintaining the format where there's that kind of myth and that kind of story, but there's also self‑enclosed episodes, and I'm still really a believer in that. It's really designed for a viewer to be able to pop in and pop out, and I think walking that balance has been successful for us, but just basically making it more shocking more often.
Abrams: Every show starts off with the best intentions of doing what it does, and over the course of usually the first half of the first season, if a show is lucky, it finds its balance and its rhythm. And that's true on screen, what the audience is seeing, and certainly true behind the scenes with the crew. We have been blessed with an extraordinary crew that really looks out for and anticipates what might be coming down the pike. So we are really lucky, not only to have a great cast, but also to have an amazing crew, you know, locally for this show, and we are grateful that that rhythm was found so early.
Kripke: What's important to remember about the show is it's an entire world and we're only 10 episodes in. The focus which we've seen so far has actually been very limited within the Monroe Republic, and in the second half, slowly but surely we start to expand the world, and we cross the border into the Georgia Federation, for instance – another nation – and we see they have many of those things that the Monroe Republic doesn't, and there's very specific reasons for that, and then we go west. It's about expanding the world and it's about seeing that it's all of a piece and that we're teasing it out at a very deliberate pace because we want everyone to really explore the world in an effective way.
Giancarlo Esposito: This show has really influenced my life. I recently went out of the country and I had no cell service for five days, and it was illuminating not to have that, not to have that touch of the phone or to have that comfort in my hand. And after two days I realized that I didn't need to have that. I could rely on human and personal interaction. I'm inspired as an actor by the tidbit of information that I get because this world is so rich and so full and has been developed in such a beautiful way, and the show, don't forget, is about family.
So after spending time with my four children ‑‑ four girls from 16 to 9 ‑‑ over the Christmas break, we decided not to do anything for Christmas, not to go out. Maybe to ski. We didn't do that. Maybe to ice skate. We didn't do that. We walked. We talked. We sat. We looked at each other. We put down our technology. That came directly from the inspiration of what this show has done in my life. It's to be present. Sometimes it takes a little effort because we're busy doing many things while we're trying to do one thing.
So I find that for me the inspiration is in the show is not only to be entertaining and to represent a show that teaches us something, entertains us about not only about this world, but also about ourselves, and so my time with my family was inspired by the time in the show where I see that it's really about family coming together, moving apart, understanding each other, discussing, talking, and figuring out how we're able to renew ourselves, and our thirst for this connection once again.