NOTE TO READERS:"Breaking Bad" fans, this article is worded so as not to give away anything for people who have not yet seen Season 4. Please do not say anything in the comments that might spoil the action for those viewers.Thanks.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "Breaking Bad" fans, there are only two words you need to know when it comes to NBC's "Revolution": Giancarlo Esposito.
No, "Revolution" isn't even close to being on par with "Bad" (which was excellent from the get-go), but it does have our dear old Gus. And if, like me, you're missing Walt's archenemy, then this is an acceptable alternative to get your fix of the dangerously calm killer he plays so well.
The show, which premieres at 10 p.m. Monday (and is available online and On Demand), is set in a post-apocalyptic world where, 15 years earlier, all the world's electricity suddenly went out -- and never came back on. Esposito plays Capt. Tom Neville, the head of a roving militia working for the Monroe Republic.
He makes his entrance about 10 minutes in, confronting Ben, a key relative of the main characters. His threat of conscripting Ben's children isn't nearly as fearsome as Gus' warnings, but his eyes still flash with that deep-rooted menace we all know and love.
And though it's not what he wanted, Tom's militia kills Ben and captures Ben's son. This leads Ben's daughter, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), and a few others to set out for Chicago, in search of her uncle, Miles (Billy Burke).
The trip is a gorgeous one. The show is visually very appealing with cool shots of cities in ruins and buildings being reclaimed by nature, as well as heavy saturation that makes the colors pop.
There's some heavy-handedness in the storytelling, particularly in the beginning, and we're told, rather than shown, the effects of the blackout. I'm hoping those effects will be seen in flashbacks, as I think it will be interesting to see people adapt to being thrown into an era they'd only read about in history books.
There's plenty of action, too, including two major battles, and occasional bits of humor -- like when Aaron (Zac Orth), a former technogeek, brings up his old job to Charlie: "I used to work at this place called Google." "That was a computer thing, right?"
The pilot sets up some good plot teases, including one directly related to the blackout mystery. However, I was more interested in the revelation of who Monroe was and am curious to see how he came to be in his position of power.
Overall, I'd place "Revolution" solidly on middle ground after the pilot. It's got its share of flaws, but it's got potential.