Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Say You Want a Revolution, Well...Maybe Not This One

Our day-to-day lives revolve around technology. It is how we communicate, travel, work, play, cook, etc….everything. In fact, it was about a year ago that I wrote a blog about how Apple devices in particular have become fixtures in many people’s daily lives.

But it’s not just Apple products. We Google something rather than looking it up in a dictionary or encyclopedia. We email, text, and call (it seems that a phone call is also becoming slightly antiquated…at least “land-line” phone calls) rather than having face-to-face conversations. We drive our cars to grocery stores and restaurants where we purchase prepared food or buy ingredients that we take home and cook in ovens and microwaves rather than walking to hunt, gather, and grow our own food. We purchase medicine or visit the doctor or hospital for every little ailment.

The list goes on and on. We are a society that is evolving at the same rapid pace that new technologies are being invented and implemented.

The basis for all of these technologies (electronics, transportation, medicine, industry, etc.) is electricity. So what would happen if one day, the power simply went off? No electricity, no batteries, no engines…nothing. Everything would just stop working: cars, airplanes, cellphones, computers, refrigerators…even “basic” things, such as flashlights. Medicine could not be produced, food could not be stored, long-distance travel would be improbable, communication would be difficult, the consequences would be endless.

How does a society that is built around technology function when it’s foundation is taken away?

Well that is exactly the type of society that Eric Kripke has created in J.J. Abrams’ latest foray into science-fiction-y television shows: Revolution.

As I said last year, I am a total Abrams fangirl, particularly if a project of his involves even one LOST alum. Unfortunately, several of his television projects have failed in the past few years and there has seemed to be almost a “1 season science-fiction television show curse” (ex. Flashforward, The Event, Terra Nova, Alcatraz, etc.). So I was particularly wary (albeit, stoked) of this show when it was announced with the new Fall shows.

However, so far so good. I won’t go too much into the details since, only four shows in, the details are quickly changing. If I had to compare it to another show I would say the briefly-lived Flashforward (unexplained global event; possible conspiracy theory; JJ Abrams-esque characters) combined with The Walking Dead (post-apocalyptic type society; a journey; collapse of organized government, society, etc)…but with sword fights. Which makes me quite a happy camper since I love The Walking Dead but hate all the blood and gore.

One of the main characters is also a pretty awesome, crossbow-wielding young girl for all you Hunger Games fans out there.

But my favorite thing, as with all of these Abrams/science fiction/dystopia shows, for me at least, is that it makes you analyze the society we have created for ourselves. Abrams himself has stated that the show is not meant to be any kind of statement about our society blah blah blah, but I think it inevitably will make you question our unwavering and complete reliance on technology.

One of my favorite examples of this was when one of the characters, who has not seen her children since the power went out ( I can’t say “blackout” since that was the term used in Flashforward…these shows are getting tough to differentiate), explained that she has carried around her completely useless iPhone for the past 15 years because somewhere inside is the only picture she has of her children.

When was the last time you carried around and showed off actual photographs of your family, vacation, dog, etc., rather than simply whipping out your phone to show someone your pictures on there. Lose your phone or digital camera? No problem…because they’re stored on your computer. Computer dies…that’s okay, everything is backed up on the “Cloud”. Power goes out…forever, and you are left with nothing.

Am I being slightly overdramatic? Maybe. But it makes you think.

We take technology for granted, whether it is something as small and basic as a battery or the latest iPad, to the point where it wouldn’t hurt for us to get back to basics now and then, such as growing our own produce, putting together family albums (and not a “virtual album”), or simply turning off the phones, iPods, televisions…everything, and sitting by a fire and talking with your family or friends.

I really hope this show breaks the science-fiction curse and makes it past the first season mark, because it is definitely an awesome concept and has enough adventure/action and mystery/intrigue (with appropriate amounts of wit and romance) to appeal to a wide audience for an extended period of time.

You can check out Revolution, Monday at 10 pm on NBC and catch up with the first few episodes here. If you only have time to watch one new Fall show this year, make sure it's this one.

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