Monday, November 12, 2012

Abrams Sales Pitch for Revolution

It seems the sales pitch for NBC's hit TV show Revolution started simply enough with executive producer JJ Abrams asking NBC executives the question "...imagine right now that everything stopped." Before reaching that point though, it really started with co-creator Erick Kripke imaged a sword fight in a coffee shop, "I wanted to take everything I love about Lord of the Rings — swords and swashbuckling and quests and damsels in distress — put all that deep nerd fantasy stuff on the American highway." From that Kripke developed a story around a super virus killing most of the country with the focus on Charlie's quest to save her brother.

Abrams decided that a super virus was too much like Stephen King's The Stand and changed the concept to surviving a nationwide blackout based on another idea for Bad Robot to develop. Abrams liked the idea of no devices because, "[Characters] can communicate instantly, they can research things, they can jump on a plane and be anywhere. Writers contort themselves to eliminate cell phones from scenes. And one of the beautiful byproducts of Kripke’s idea is that there’s no longer that immediate access."

After Abrams sold the pilot to NBC by getting them to imagine if all technology stopped and they had to face the prospect of simple problems like getting home and finding their families, the story was developed into more of an ensemble piece as the request of an NBC exec (good call, all ready over Charlie and her brother). From there casting began with Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time) being one of the first cast as Captain Tom Neville. Billy Burke was hired early one to play General Monroe but after a few scenes pilot director Jon Favreau and Kripke decided he was better as Miles, saying "anyone we cast as Miles [Billy]'s going to blow off the screen." While the title of Revolution was an early choice, ABC had first dibs on it for their talk show resulting them into considering Downfall, Uprising, Blackout, Transponder and few others. Luckily ABC's Revolution was cancelled so could move forward with the title.

The show is currently doing well ratings wise but soon will face the dreaded extended hiatus that has killed stronger shows on NBC including Heroes. Of course those shows also suffered from a series of weak stories. The hiatus begins at the end of November and a new episode will not air until March 25th when The Voice also returns.

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