‘Revolution’ imagines a world with no electricity
J.J. Abrams’ “Revolution” (Monday, 9 p.m.,
NBC) plunges you into an alternate reality.
Ben (Tim Guinee) hurries home to tell his wife
(Elizabeth Mitchell), “It’s happening.” Then
“it” abruptly happens: The electricity shuts
off all around the world. We see stunning images
of lights going out down a highway, then all
around the Earth.
Fast forward 15 years, and the world has reverted
to a chaotic state. Humans huddle in small clans,
armed with primitive weapons. Militias terrorize
the countryside, controlled by a warlord named
Monroe (David Lyons). Ben’s teenage daughter
(Tracy Spiridakos) heads off on a quest to find
her surviving uncle (Billy Burke) in hopes of
protecting her extended family from Monroe’s
There is much more to tell, but I don’t want
to spoil any of the surprises. All I’ll say
is: Watch. This. Program.
The premise is beautifully thoughtful, both
in the plot and the imagery. The apocalyptic
scenario isn’t the downer you’d expect, thanks
to thrilling action scenes and a welcomed streak
of humor. The actors make you care about the
characters — though don’t get too attached to
any of them, since they’re prone to die or turn
Who knew that the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it
could be so wonderful?
Friday, 9 p.m. (Discovery)
Discovery’s gorgeously-filmed reality series
ventures into the Alaskan tundra to chronicle
a small town’s struggle for survival. The 200
people in Tanana are facing the worst winter
in a century with 60-below temperatures. There
are no roads into Tanana, but wolves know how
to get there, with that jaws that “snap shut
at 1,500 pounds of pressure per-square-inch,
easily enough to tear a man apart!” explains
the sadistic narrator. If the wolves don’t get
you, the “monster bears” will. And if you do
happen to live to see another day, you can enjoy
eating your sled dog for dinner.
As horrible as it is in Tanana, I can’t feel
sorry for the residents who chose to live there.
But the poor cameraman who obviously drew the
short straw back at Discovery headquarters?
Him I feel sorry for.
‘The Mob Doctor’
Monday, 8 p.m. (Fox)
We know viewers like shows about hot, single
women, doctors and mobsters. So why not a show
about a hot, single woman doctor who works for
the mob? Grace (Jordana Spiro) is a plucky Chicago
surgeon hoping to make a difference. Unfortunately,
her family is mixed up with mobsters — the kind
of TV mobsters who, for some reason, look and
talk like characters in a 1930s James Cagney
In the pilot, Grace must decide whether or not
to follow their orders and kill a stoolie on
the operating table. As if that weren’t enough
excitement for one episode, she also gets in
a life-or-death car chase, has sex with a hunky
colleague, engineers an illegal operation on
a pregnant 14-year-old and keeps quiet when
the mob boss offs a guy right in front of her.
HBO or Showtime might have dug into the moral
complexities of this story, but Fox wants Grace
to be a standard sympathetic prime-time heroine.
In episode one, the network has already hit
rock bottom in terms of shamelessness. Which
means, of course, that I can’t wait for episode
‘Be Good Johnny Weir’
Monday, 9 p.m. (Logo)
Johnny Weir, the gay Olympic figure-skater,
is “feeling really lost” in his reality series’
new season. He’s decided to stop skating competitively
and become a singer and impresario. This opens
him to mockery, even from his own agent. “I
hate when people don’t think I’m serious,” he
says. “It’s extremely motivating.”
When Weir is motivated, watch out. He has an
athlete’s intensity, though he also owns up
to his fears. We get close enough to him to
share his anxiety — always expressed with sharp
wit. In short, he comes across as an authentic
guy even in the context of reality-show artifice.
I, for one, think he’s serious. CV