PASADENA, CA – Since NBC announced that “Revolution” would be wrapping up the first half of its debut season in November and that it wouldn’t return until late March, those of us who write about TV for a living have been speculating that this lengthy delay would auger poorly for the season’s big new hit.
It turns out that the people who write the show itself aren’t viewing the hiatus as a negative. Or at least that’s what Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday (January 6) morning.
Abrams, for example, recalled his own experience with successful long shelvings on “Lost.”
“[W]hen this came up, when the idea came up, I was enormously relieved because I felt like we were getting to a place where it would be, for the viewer, the best possible way to present the show. So I”m thrilled about that,” insists Abrams.
Kripke added, “I would say that a lot of the shows that I”m watching on cable run this model, and I like to sort of voraciously, you know, watch episodes running continuously, and I”m really excited that ‘Revolution’ has the opportunity to do that.”
For Kripke, the argument in favor of the delay was a creative one as well.
“[B]ecause there was such a natural breakpoint between the first half and the second half, and we”ll really be able to launch this new storyline — they found the brother, you know, the revolution and the battle against Monroe really begins and luckily the second half really sort of lives as its own, you know, continuous piece that I think is bigger and better and even more exciting, so I”m excited to show it to the viewers, and I”m excited that they get to watch it one week after the other week after the other week without any repeats in the middle. I think it will be really exciting.”
Yes, you read that right. You say you want a revolution on “Revolution,” well you now know it’s coming. And it’s not far away. In fact, Kripke teased that we’re going to be picking up in the immediate aftermath of the fall finale, which featured a rather unexpected appearance by a helicopter.
“We pick up exactly where we leave off. I can tell you that,” Kripke promised. “I can tell you that Monroe we don”t take away that card that we gave as the cliffhanger. Monroe does have choppers, and he does have a particularly a limited form of power, but power, and helps him become – 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 basically the you know, we start to deliver officially on the promise of the title and the revolution, you know, really starts, and the revolution begins. And the story becomes about can this family some of them are related by blood. Some of them are just related by loyalty can they stick together in the face of these overwhelming odds and this overwhelming danger? And can you maintain your soul when you”re a warrior?”
Kripke went on to note that while the show is about power — both electrical and… you know… POWER — it’s also about human feelings and whatnot.
“[T]his is ‘The Waltons’ with swords, and so we”re you know, we really want to make sure that it always has an incredible amount of heart,” he quipped.
While “Revolution” has been extremely successful for NBC, Kripke is aware that the show hasn’t achieved any level of perfection in its brief time on Earth.
“I feel like the other 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,” Kripke said. “I think if we learned any one thing, I think we did a lot of things right. I think, you know, 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, again, a second half that was bigger and better and more exciting and more revelations, all at the same time, still maintaining the format that, you know, I think we”re walking that balance well, which is there”s that kind of myth and there”s 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.”
Kripke also promises that the sometimes claustrophobic world of “Revolution” is about to expand, allowing viewers to see how folks outside of the Monroe Republic have been coping with the lack of power.
“I think what”s important to remember about the show is it”s an entire world, and we”re only 10 episodes in, and the focus, which we”ve seen so far, has actually been very limited within the Monroe Republic,” Kripke says. “And in the second half, slowly but surely we start to expand the world, and we cross the border into Georgia, 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. Anyway, so 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.”
And always remember this: Kripke has a plan for “Revolution,” or at least he claims he has a plan. Or, at the very least, Kripke likes comparing “Revolution” to classic TV Westerns.
“We definitely have the season”s end mapped out,” he promises. “It”s in the writers” room. We”re working towards it right now. As much as I had in my previous show, I have, like, a multiple year where, you know, I have a sense of what we want Season 2 to be. I have a certain sense what we want Season 3 to be, but they”re only cocktail napkin sketches, as well they should be. You need to be surprised by your actors. You need to be surprised by your writers. You need to give yourself enough breathing room that you can veer right and veer left. You know, you have a vague direction with which you want to go. But again, I think what”s great about this show is, because it”s such a world and it”s so expansive, there”s really no end of the stories we can tell, and so these guys are gonna be in walkers like ‘Bonanza’ style, like Season 20, hopefully.”
“Revolution” returns to NBC on Monday, March 25.