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FAN EXPO: Revolution Stars Talk J.J. Abrams and Lost Comparisons

Tracy Spiridakos on "Revolution"

Over two nights, Fan Expo Canada attendees were treated to a special screening of NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama Revolution, followed by a short question-and-answer session with stars Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga) and Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human).

Created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and executive produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek), the post-apocalyptic series is set in a world where mysterious event leaves every piece of technology – telephones, computers, lights, cars – inoperable, sending civilization into a downward spiral. Fifteen years later, some semblance of society has formed, with militias roaming their territories and small farms dotting the landscape. But after a tragedy strikes her family, a young woman (Spiridakos) sets out to find her uncle (Burke), who might just know how to turn the power back on.

After a 30-minute delay, the capacity crowd was treated to a special appearance by Burke, who introduced the pilot episode. Fresh off a plane, the actor apologized for making the audience wait, and promised he would return the next evening with Spiridakos to answer questions. The visit was brief, but it didn’t seem to bother the crowd, which erupted into cheers as the lights went down.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the pilot feels like a cross between Lost and The Walking Dead (minus the zombies, of course); it’s cinematic, resembling the first half of a film rather than the first episode of a TV series. It teases the central question of why the power went out while striking the right balance between mystery and action/adventure. The pilot ended to loud applause from the audience.

Billy Burke on "Revolution"

Many fans returned the next night for a short Q&A with the two stars, which began with a question about working with Abrams and Favreau.

“It’s a real rarity, especially in television, because when you’re doing episodic work you get a lot of journeymen directors that come through and they are there to do their work and kind of move on to the next thing” Burke said. “Favreau is not that way at all. He was so invested in what we were doing and believed in it so much, that’s why he became a producer on it.”

As for Abrams, Burke revealed, “He’s so secretive. He’s not around that much, but we get some great notes and messages from him time to time. He’s a little busy doing the next Star Trek movie.” The comment drew loud applause.

Keeping on the subject of secrecy, Spiridakos talked about the casting process. “When I went down to the casting office, I actually wasn’t allowed to take the script out,” she recalled. “We had to read it in the office and sign a confidentiality [agreement] that we weren’t going to talk about it. It was pretty top-secret.”

One fan then asked whether Revolution will be more like Abrams’ Lost, with a convoluted story structure that could confuse viewers who miss a few episodes, or if it will be more self-contained like Fringe, with story arcs that provide potential jumping-on points.

“This show is a little more user-friendly.” Burke replied. “It’s framed in this overall history, but as it goes for questions, it will turn around rather quickly. They will roll into other questions, but it’s not Lost.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.” Burke added as the audience laughed.

Revolution premieres Sept. 17 on NBC.


  • darthtigris

    I really wish any time a mystery genre show pops up that the would stop mentioning Lost.  Especially considering how the damage Lost did to viewers wondering if it’s worth sticking with a show like this long term.

  • Brian Middleton Jr

    What damage did Lost do to the viewers?

  • Yanks5179

     It’s mentioning Lost because it’s the same guy behind both, not just because it’s a mystery show and the questions are valid–is it going to be a show like Lost where you need to watch each episode and decipher things or is it more straightforward in its storytelling.

  • darthtigris

    Promised answers to mysteries and a plan, didn’t deliver.

  • Roburrin

     Your opinion.  Not a fact.

  • darthtigris

    Abrams is only an executive producer.  Reading this article, it’s clear his input isn’t great in the actual running of the show.

    The thing about Lost, though, is even if you were watching episodes and paying close attention, it still didn’t add up.  I was one of those that was fully caught up in it, paying close attention, watching multiple times, following the forums and theories and blah blah blah blah frickin’ blah.  BECAUSE I was paying attention like that I came to the conclusion a little over halfway through that this wasn’t coming together but I stuck through because the writers kept saying ‘trust us’.  Then even they started backpeddling as the final season loomed and, well, we know how things turned out. 

    That’s why I don’t like comparisons to Lost.  It’s not a good example to hold up for this genre of television storytelling because it’s the poster child for making-it-up-as-we-go, and that’s saying a lot consider The X-Files is in this same basic genre …

  • Grendel

     Pretty much a fact, since the main questions, like what the %&/§ is that island anyway were never answered.

    Also I think, I read it on Peter Davids blog, where he pretty much stated that some of the shows writers had told him that they had no plan.
    And the ending showed it.  Doesn’t matter how good the story is, you ruin the ending, you ruin the entire story.

  • Richardcasey

    Having watched most of the pilot, the streaming crapped out and it was late so i gave up, I’m looking forward to seeing how Revolution develops. I didn’t understand the criticisms i heard, it looked great, the action sequences were well done, good performances all around. The only thing that bugged me a little was Aaron, who is apparently “the new hurley” character.

  • Beta Ray William

     The fact is that every main relevant question in LOST was answered. The viewer only had to be intelligent enough to understand it. I know. How dare a show not cater to the lowest demographic?

  • darthtigris

    Even the writers said it was about the characters not about answers to questions in the end, yet people still hold on to it simply being too deep for us common folk to understand.  You have any idea how obnoxious and insulting that comes off, especially since it’s pure straw man?