Monday, October 7, 2013

Revolution: The Complete First Season On Blu-ray Disc, DVD, Ultraviolet Digital Copy Review

Revolution is a dystopian sci-fi adventure and intrigue series created by Erik Kripke and Jon Favreau and a coproduction with JJ Abrams' Bad Robot Productions. The series takes place more than a decade after an unexplained world wide power outage drives the human race back to a Neo Nineteenth Century standard of living. Of course it is established early on that the cause of the blackout was not natural and the series focuses to answer what caused the blackout ? Why did it occur? Who was behind it? And Who will be the first to turn the power back on as well as what consequences could occur if the power were to be turned on. Within this labyrinth of questions are several people out to free the son of the person who may have answers to the above mentioned questions after he was conscripted into the Monroe Republic Militia that is one of several feudal governments that have formed upon the formerly United States of America.

The premise and initial previews seemed intriguing, but the execution was all wrong. Everyone looked too clean and healthy and while I don't expect the cast look like they are covered in dirt and suffering from various infirmaries that come from having no fresh running water or indoor plumbing alone, I do expect to see something a little more realistic. Instead what we get is a world filled with good looking people with the best clothes makers in their employ as well as modern hair cutters and lest we forget affordable dentistry. Again, no one wants to see a TV show where the characters are so hideous that you can't sympathize with them let along look at them, but in a show like this I expect the characters to look realistic for their circumstances and hip hugging jeans with fashionable stitches is not my idea of what a person who was barely a child when the world changed would be wearing, let alone have such amazing sewing skills to create.

Thus the characters seem more like types rather than real people and the sword play scenes just never worked for me because I already lost my ability to believe in the world set up by the producers. The series had a lengthy hiatus and then returned in the spring the the second half of the season that seemed to just drop the importance of the quest by killing off the person they were looking for and then pretty much rebooting the story into some kind of conspiracy tale that negates the first half of season one and seems not well thought out either. The second season premiere looks as though they have rebooted the show again to include some more fantastic elements, none of which were a part of the show's original premise.

Now TV series evolve and find their way over the course of the first two seasons usually and so I watch Revolution with the hope that maybe it will get better. As it is now the show reminds me of a Steven Spielberg produced TV series that aired on NBC in the 1990s called Seaquest DSV. That show rebooted itself at the beginning of each season to be almost three completely different kinds of shows and ultimately alienated it viewers in the process. I look at Revolution at the time of my writing this review as heading down that same path because regardless of whose name is attached, inconsistency turns off viewers especially in sci-fi where one has to maintain a higher suspension of disbelief than traditional genre shows.

Warner Home Video has given Revolution: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc reference quality treatment for a TV series of this type with the entire first season presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition along with nearly all the extra value features spread out across the first four discs within the set because in addition to four Blu-ray Discs there are five DVDs as well with most of the same extra value features houses within a nine disc Elite Blue BD Case that comes housed within a cardboard sleeve. Within the set is an insert detailing episode specific information for both the Blu-ray and DVD presentations as well as some reproductions of the Monroe Republic Recruitment posters seen in the show. There is also a second insert containing a redemption code to claim a high definition Ultraviolet Digital Copy that can be downloaded and or streamed from the cloud on a wide variety of video and mobile devices.

The picture quality on the Blu-ray Disc is sharp and flawless with a well rounded English DTS HD MA 5.1 Surround Soundtrack along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired coupled with Portuguese, Spanish, French, Finnish, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Japanese and Danish Language Subtitles. Portuguese, French, Spanish and Japanese Dubbed Language Soundtracks are also encoded onto the four Blu-ray Discs as options.

The DVDs feature a 16 by 9 enhanced widescreen presentation for all five discs with English and Portuguese Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtracks and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and French, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean and Thai Language Subtitles.

Though I am covering the high definition Blu-ray content only here, most the the bonus features are available on the DVDs too unless otherwise noted. These features are with the exception of one, all presented in 1080p/24fps High Definition with Dolby Surround Sound. This includes an in depth look at the making of the pilot with JJ Abrams, Erik Kripke and Jon Favreau (13:47) and an EPK like behind-the-scenes featurette (19:47), a gag reel (2:04) and ton of deleted scenes that run between 19 seconds to 3 minutes and 52 seconds for approximately eleven of the twenty first season episodes. A series of five webisodes ranging nearly two and a half minutes to almost four minutes were my favorite part of the entire set and serves as a prequel of sorts to the first season. I found the webisodes to be more interesting than the TV show's first season as a whole. 

Exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc set and in 1080p/60p is footage of a panel presentation with the cast and creative team from the 2013 Paley Festival. (27:40) the Ultraviolet digital copy redemption code comes only within the Blu-ray and DVD set and not in the DVD only set. The interactive animated menus are well rendered and easy to navigate.

While I have reservations about the show I do hope the second season will prove to be the season where Revolution finds it's identity and consistent style. Warner Home Video has done an exceptional job with releasing the first season to home video. Revolution: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy is available at retailers on and offline courtesy of Warner Home Video.

(C) Copyright 2013 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.