Warner Signs Exclusive Deal With Netflix. Eight Series Coming Soon, More On The Horizon

RevolutionOften we get asked what the difference between Netflix and Amazon Prime’s Instant Video is and that difference was exemplified today as it has been announced that Warner Bros. has signed an exclusive deal to bring eight series to Netflix’s popular streaming service. The series include RevolutionFringeLongmireChuckThe West Wing, Political Animals666 Park Avenue and The Following, which premieres later this month on FOX.  Warner Bros. also indicated that the door was open to bring more series to the service and that they would still  retain all traditional syndication rights as well as the rights to sell more recently aired individual episodes for viewers to catch up on (scroll down for full press release).

fringeWhy is this such a big deal and why does it give Netflix the advantage over other streaming services?  First, because of the exclusive nature of the contract.  Generally speaking, streaming content such as series and films has been provided on a non-exclusive basis for these services.  Amazon Prime’s Instant Video, though not horrible, has never had the amount of content available that Netflix has had, but the door was open for them to be able to negotiate for the same content because of the non-exclusive nature that these content deals have traditionally been known for.  All bets are off with this deal.  These are eight series that Amazon will not have the opportunity to offer on its service (for free, anyway… we would imagine that Amazon will still be able to sell these videos as a third-party) and it looks like they won’t be the last.  Hypothetically, this deal could expand to Warner’s entire catalog (save two series, which we’ll get to) which would be devastating for the Amazon service as far as remaining competitive is concerned.  Making matters worse, Warner Bros. is just the first to go exclusive with Netflix on such a large scale.

Bluray-vs-hddvdThink this sounds familiar?  Well you’re right, it does.  This whole situation is eerily reminiscent of the final nail in the coffin of the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray format war that coincidentally happened five years ago (almost to the day) on January 8, 2008 when Warner surprisingly announced during CES that they were abandoning all support for the HD DVD format and going exclusively with Blu-ray (they had supported both formats prior tot he announcement).  Once Warner made the announcement, the remaining supporters of the format immediately followed suit and the format was officially dead.  Warner has a history of hedging their bets while at the same time being the standard bearer for how the industry will move forward… which is exactly what they’ve done here, as well.

falling-skies posterFor those of you who weren’t paying attention (why should you… you have us, no?), Warner signed another exclusive deal last month WITH Amazon… but for only two shows, The Closer and Falling Skies with no mention of future content being on the service with the same exclusivity.  So, why would Warner do this just three weeks before signing this major exclusive deal with Netflix?  Again, they are hedging their bets, just like they did with HD DVD and Blu-ray and what likely happened is that the Amazon deal made Netflix stand up and take notice and get serious about dealing with Warner, which is precisely what Warner wanted.

amazoninstantFrom Warner’s perspective, they can’t lose.  Amazon paid them a decent chunk of change for an exclusive deal for two series (which will no doubt translate to sales of current episodes with Amazon’s streamlined ability to purchase current episodes of their instant video television offerings) and now that they got Netflix’s attention, they got the big deal that they really wanted.

Now, this Netflix exclusive deal is risky and it’s something that other studios have been hesitant to do but now that Warner has done it, it opens the  floodgates for other studios to do the same which would be absolutely disastrous for the Amazon service.  Again, considering the format wars from five years ago, does this sound familiar?  If the other studios follow suit, it would seem highly unlikely that Amazon Prime’s Instant Video service would be able to continue to survive which would make Netflix the only viable game in town.  Just think of Amazon Prime’s Instant Video as the HD DVD of 2013 and if the Amazon service were to collapse, Warner could just port that exclusive content deal for The Closer and Falling Skies over to Netflix.

We’ve noted in the past how we think that this new era of revenue generation for content is a positive for the television industry and the consumer for for multiple reasons, especially with subscription video on demand services (SVOD) and other digital formats.  The studios and networks are apparently finally starting to figure this out.

From the Netflix press release:

“This unprecedented agreement brings to Netflix members earlier and more exclusively than ever before complete previous seasons of some of the most prominent and successful shows on network and cable television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.  “Through deals like this, Netflix is making the production economics right for the continued creation of the kind of compelling serialized dramas and thrillers that our members love.”

“SVOD has become an important window for our serialized dramas, allowing viewers a chance to discover a series that before might have been intimidating to tune into mid-run,” said Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We continue to adapt our business models to include SVOD when it makes sense for the long-term value of each show and are thrilled to have Netflix as one of our distribution partners.”

arrested developmentThis is precisely why we support content deals on SVOD service providers.  It gives consumers the opportunity to catch up on shows they may have not seen before that they wanted to but didn’t want to buy whole seasons of (or rent them a disc at a time) and it benefits the studios and networks by creating new viewers of shows that are currently in production. Since it’s basically free money, it allows the studios more freedom to produce more and better shows that may not have had a chance under the old network commercial advertising-exclusive model and by the same token it can make a series viable that might otherwise have been canceled. It can also be responsible for bringing fan-favorite series back from the dead (see: Arrested Development and The Killing).

The issue that gives us pause, however, is with the exclusive nature of these deals.  Just using common sense, it should be assumed that an exclusive content deal is going to cost a provider considerably more than a non-exclusive deal.  If those increased costs for content don’t translate to increased subscriptions, the consumer will be left holding the bag with higher subscription rates.  Taking this a step further, if as suggested, the floodgates were to open and the other studios are lining up to sign exclusive content agreements with Netflix, that would serve to cripple Amazon and any other provider of SVOD services, again making Netflix the only game in town and that’s NOT good for the consumer.

the-cable-guy-Monopolies in any industry are not a positive thing but they would be particularly bad in this case.  You know how pissed off you are about your cable bill every month? Well, just imagine how obnoxious that bill would be if the cable providers had exclusive content deals with the studios and the networks and there was no competition from DirecTV or Dish Network (and no, you f*ckers at Dish… the fact that we’re mentioning you is not an invitation to SPAM this blog like you like to do).  That’s what would happen if Netflix was the only SVOD provider.  Netflix would be free to jack up their rates as high as they wanted, unhindered by the restraints of a competitive marketplace.

So, what seems like a relatively innocuous news story regarding Netflix content could have huge ramifications for the television industry and for the SVOD industry.  The question that’s up in the air is how will these events unfold and what will it mean to consumers, ultimately?

Via Press Release:

Netflix and Warner Bros. Television Group Sign a 2012-13 Network Slate Deal for Hit Serialized Dramas From Warner Bros. Television

Netflix Will be the Exclusive Online Home of Complete Prior Seasons of Shows from 2012-13 Season Including Revolution (NBC), The Following (Fox), Longmire (A&E), Political Animals (USA) and 666 Park Avenue (ABC)

Agreement Also Includes Hit Serialized Dramas “Chuck,” “Fringe” and “The West Wing”

Jan 7, 2013

NETFLIX, INC. LOGOBURBANK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Warner Bros. Television Group today announced a licensing agreement allowing U.S. Netflix members to enjoy complete previous seasons of addictive serialized dramas produced by Warner Bros. for top broadcast and cable networks.

Among the shows coming to Netflix next year will be “Revolution,” a drama for NBC from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions set in a post-apocalyptic America which ranks as the #1 new series of the 2012–13 television season; “Political Animals,” the USA Network miniseries with Sigourney Weaver in a Golden Globe– and Screen Actors Guild Award–nominated role as a former First Lady serving as Secretary of State; “Longmire,” A&E’s top-rated Western mystery series based on the novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson; and “666 Park Avenue,” the ABC supernatural thriller starring Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams.

Also coming to Netflix will be the highly anticipated drama “The Following,” starring Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer played by James Purefoy and which premieres January 21 on FOX, as well as hit serialized Warner Bros. Television series “Chuck,” “Fringe” and “The West Wing.”

“This unprecedented agreement brings to Netflix members earlier and more exclusively than ever before complete previous seasons of some of the most prominent and successful shows on network and cable television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.  “Through deals like this, Netflix is making the production economics right for the continued creation of the kind of compelling serialized dramas and thrillers that our members love.”

“SVOD has become an important window for our serialized dramas, allowing viewers a chance to discover a series that before might have been intimidating to tune into mid-run,” said Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group. “We continue to adapt our business models to include SVOD when it makes sense for the long-term value of each show and are thrilled to have Netflix as one of our distribution partners.”

The agreement covers a current slate of eight Warner Bros. shows as well as potential future shows. Under the agreement, the shows can also be made available via traditional syndication windows, electronic sell-through services and on a catch-up basis for recently aired episodes.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 30 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Learn more about how Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is pioneering Internet television at www.netflix.com or follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.

About Warner Bros. Television Group

The Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) oversees and grows the entire portfolio of Warner Bros.’ television businesses, including worldwide production, traditional and digital distribution, and broadcasting. WBTVG is rapidly developing new business models for the evolving television landscape, including subscription-video-on-demand, broadband, wireless and home video exploitation of its vast library. WBTVG is the industry’s top supplier of series, supplying an industry-leading 25 series (including one co-production) to the five broadcast networks for the 2012–13 season, with 23 from Warner Bros. Television, two from Warner Horizon Television and at least two series on each of the five broadcast networks. This marks the 21st time in the last 26 years that WBTVG has been the number one supplier of series to broadcasters, and the Studio is the only supplier to have at least one show on each of the five broadcast networks as well as a new series on each of the networks. The Group is also producing nearly a dozen scripted series for cable and pay television networks and nine alternative series for broadcast and cable, while Telepictures Productions is producing seven first-run strips and Warner Bros. Animation has eight animated series. All in all, the Group delivers nearly 60 series to the marketplace.

SOURCE Netflix Inc.

NBC Announces Midseason Schedule, ‘Community’ and ‘Smash’ Return Dates Announced

Congratulations, whiny Community fans!  You got the Thursday, 8:00 p.m. slot and it only took the cancellation of slightly poorer performers to get you there!

Via Press Release:



— New Drama “Deception” (Formerly “Infamous”) January 7

— New Comedy “1600 Penn” January 10

— New Relationship Series “Ready for Love” from Eva Longoria March 31


— “The Voice” Begins Fourth Cycle March 25/26

— The Season’s Newest Hit “Revolution” Returns March 25

— “The Biggest Loser” Weighs in January 6/7 with Return of Jillian Michaels

— “Smash” Dances Back to the Schedule February 5 with Oscar Winner Jennifer Hudson

— “Community” Returns February 7

–“The Celebrity Apprentice” Debuts March 3

— “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” Comes Back January 8

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – October 30, 2012 – NBC today announced changes to its 2013 primetime mid-season schedule highlighted by the premieres of three new series, including comedy “1600 Penn,” from one of the architects of “Modern Family”; an intriguing drama “Deception” (formerly “Infamous”); and producer Eva Longoria’s big reality relationship show “Ready for Love.”

In addition, several of the network’s biggest hits will return, including “The Voice” with new coaches Usher and Shakira; fall hit “Revolution”; “Smash,” featuring Jennifer Hudson; and “The Biggest Loser,” with some innovative changes to the format and the return of Jillian Michaels.

Further scheduling announcements will be forthcoming.

Following are the highlights of the changes:


The new drama “Deception” – starring Meagan Good (“Think Like a Man”), Victor Garber (“Alias”), Tate Donovan (“Damages”) and Katherine LaNasa (“Alfie”) in a dark family murder mystery — debuts on January 7 (10-11 p.m. ET). Preceding “Deception” is the new season of “The Biggest Loser” which returns with a two-night premiere on Sunday, January 6 (9-11 p.m. ET) and Monday, January 7 (8-10 p.m. ET), and will continue on Mondays (8-10 p.m. ET) until the return of “The Voice.”

“The Voice” maintains its momentum as it returns March 25 for a fourth season (8-10 p.m. ET) and Tuesday, March 26 (8-9 p.m. ET). It continues its two-night Monday/Tuesday schedule as it did this fall. “Revolution” — the season’s only bona fide new hit series — will return and follow “The Voice” on March 25 (10-11 p.m. ET) when it concludes its current fall broadcast dates in November.


Last year’s acclaimed musical drama “Smash” makes its much-anticipated return with a two-hour episode on February 5 (9-11 p.m. ET) — with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson — and will resume on Tuesday, February 12 (10-11 p.m. ET) in its regular day and time. “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” premieres on January 8 with back-to-back episodes (8-8:30 p.m. ET and 8:30-9 p.m. ET) and will continue in that hour each Tuesday.

“The Voice” also will return on Tuesdays on March 26 (8-9 p.m. ET).


The new comedy “1600 Penn” — starring Bill Pullman (“Independence Day”), Jenna Elfman (“Dharma and Greg”) and Josh Gad (Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon”) as a typical American family who just happen to live in the White House — debuts on January 10 (9:30-10 p.m. ET). Jason Winer, Emmy-winning director of “Modern Family” is co-creator and director. The critically hailed comedy “Community” returns on February 7 (8-8:30 p.m. ET). “Parks and Recreation” moves up one hour on the Thursday schedule to 8:30-9 p.m. (ET) on January 17.


The new alternative series “Ready for Love” — an innovative and dramatic new relationship show about making real connections with executive producer Eva Longoria – premieres Sunday, March 31 (8-10 p.m. ET). Donald Trump’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” resumes with an “All-Star” edition of former celebrity contestants on March 3 (9-11 p.m. ET) for four weeks before continuing in one-hour episodes on Sunday, March 31 (10-11 p.m. ET).

For embeddable clips from the NBC shows, please visit: http://www.nbc.com.

For artwork and complete press kits from the shows, please visit the NBC Universal Media village website athttp://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/.

Please follow us on http://www.facebook.com/NBC and at http://www.twitter.com/NBC


NBC: ‘Revolution,’ ‘Go On’ And ‘The New Normal’ Receive Full-Season Orders

Check out or reviews for RevolutionGo On and The New Normal.

Via Press Release: 


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – October 2, 2012 – On the heels of winning its first premiere week in the A18-49 demographic in nine years, NBC has picked up three of its new fall series – the adventure-drama “Revolution” and the comedies “Go On” and “The New Normal” — for full-season commitments for the 2012-13 season, it was announced today by Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment.

“We’re impressed with the imagination and creative direction of the entire team on ‘Revolution,’ not to mention the immediately strong response we got from the audience,” said Salke. “Ordering the full season of this show is a pleasure. Thanks to J.J. Abrams, Erik Kripke, Jon Favreau, and everyone at Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television for their dedication to making a truly unique series. And I personally love to escape into a world where there is no power, the phone doesn’t ring, and the pace of life slows down — if only for one hour a week!”

She added: “We’re also very proud of our new comedy block of ‘Go On’ and ‘The New Normal.’ In partnering with Matthew Perry for ‘Go On,’ creator Scott Silveri has created a comedy with a highly original voice that deftly combines humor and emotion. And Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler have created a truly unique family in ‘The New Normal’ that is reflective of the changing dynamics of the world we live in. These shows are both welcome additions to our new lineup!”

“We’re very pleased with early results of the last three weeks of our fall season roll-out,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “The strategy for this season was to draft off the promotional platform of the Olympics and then begin our season early and strong. I think we’ve accomplished both of those goals, yet we know it’s a long season and there’s much work ahead of us. We are so appreciative of all the great talent that is working so hard on these shows.”

“Revolution” is averaging a 3.6 rating, 9 share in adults 18-49 and 9.8 million viewers in “live plus same day” results through its first three telecasts. “Revolution” debuted on September 17 with the highest 18-49 rating (4.1) for a premiering drama on any network in three years (since ABC’s “V” on October 3, 2009, 5.2) and the highest for a premiering NBC drama in five years (since “Bionic Woman,” September 26, 2007, 5.7). And in the two weeks since then, “Revolution” took on premiering competition from ABC’s “Castle” and CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0” and led that competition in every key demographic both weeks. And the first two weeks of “Revolution” have set time-shifting records for NBC, growing by 1.36 ratings points in 18-49 in week one and then 1.74 in week two when going from Nielsen’s “live plus same day” ratings to its “live plus three day” data. Those are the two biggest increases ever for an NBC telecast. Among series on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, only ABC’s “Modern Family” has ever earned a bigger increases than “Revolution’s” week-two gain of 1.74.

“Go On” is averaging a 3.2 rating, 9 share in adults 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers overall in “live plus same day” averages for its first three regular-slot telecasts, ranking it currently as the #1 new comedy of the fall (a special preview of ABC’s “The Neighbors” also earned a 3.2). The 3.2 rating is a 33 percent increase on the 2.4 NBC averaged in the time period last season in 18-49. “Go On’s” September 11 regular-slot debut scored NBC’s top 18-49 rating for a comedy premiere (3.4) in the last two years.

“The New Normal” is averaging a 2.2 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.0 million viewers overall through its first three regular-slot episodes, according to Nielsen Media Research. The most recent “New Normal” telecast retained 74 percent of its 18-49 lead-in from “Go On,” matching its best retention to date and up from 65 percent the prior week. And in “live plus three day” ratings that add time-shifted viewing for the first three days after live broadcast, last week’s “New Normal” increased its retention of “Go On” to 87 percent (with a 2.77 rating vs. a 3.19).

What would you do without it all? In this epic adventure from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and “Supernatural’s” Eric Kripke, a family struggles to reunite in an American landscape where every single piece of technology — computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights — has mysteriously blacked out forever. A drama with sweeping scope and intimate focus, “Revolution” is also about family — both the family you’re born into and the family you choose. This is a swashbuckling journey of hope and rebirth seen through the eyes of one strong-willed young woman, Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos, “Being Human”), and her brother Danny (Graham Rogers, “Memphis Beat”). When Danny is kidnapped by militia leaders for a darker purpose, Charlie must reconnect with her estranged uncle, Miles (Billy Burke, “The Twilight Saga”), a former U.S. Marine living a reclusive life. Together, with a rogue band of survivors, they set out to rescue Danny, overthrow the militia, and ultimately re-establish the United States of America. All the while, they explore the enduring mystery of why the power failed, and if — or how — it will ever return.

The series also stars Zak Orth (“Romeo + Juliet), JD Pardo (“A Cinderella Story”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), David Lyons (“The Cape”), Maria Howell (“The Blind Side”), Daniealla Alonso (“Friday Night Lights”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man”) and Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost”). Kripke, Abrams and Bryan Burk (“Lost,” “Star Trek”) serve as executive producers, and Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) serves as co-executive producer. “Revolution” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was directed by Favreau.

For embeddable clips and full episodes from “Revolution,” please visit NBC.com’s official show site: www.nbc.com/revolution/.

Please like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Revolution and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/NBCRevolution

Matthew Perry (“Friends,” “Mr. Sunshine”) stars as Ryan King, a recent widower and sports talk radio host ready to get back to work after the loss of his wife. Ryan’s alpha-male boss, Steven (John Cho, “Star Trek,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”), has a different plan in store for Ryan, making him attend grief counseling before returning to the air.

A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for “life change” where he meets an oddball cast of characters. Ryan’s total lack of interest in “the healing process” proves distracting, and he soon butts heads with the by-the-books group leader, Lauren, played by Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti (“The Playboy Club”). Back at work, Ryan is confronted with the fact that he hasn’t really processed his grief and realizes Lauren and the other members of the group might be key in helping him move on.

Also starring are Tony Award winner Julie White (“Transformers”), Tyler James Williams (“Everybody Hates Chris”), Suzy Nakamura (“Dodgeball”) and Brett Gelman (“30 Minutes or Less”).

In addition, Lauren Graham (NBC’s “Parenthood”) will guest-star in an upcoming episode of “Go On” as Ryan King’s (Perry) old college friend and his former radio talk show co-host. An airdate for Graham’s episode will be announced later. Multiple Emmy Award winner Bob Costas from NBC Sports and Chris Bosh from the NBA’s world champion Miami Heat also will appear as themselves in additional episodes.

“Go On” is a touching new comedy created by Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Scott Silveri (“Perfect Couples,” “Friends”). Todd Holland (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Karey Nixon (“Free Agents,” “Miss/Guided”) and Jon Pollack (“Up All Night,” “30 Rock”) also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland. “Go On” is a production of Universal Television, Dark Toy Entertainment and Silver & Gold Productions.

For embeddable clips and full episodes from “Go On,” please visit NBC.com’s official show site: http://www.nbc.com/go-on/ 

Please like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NBCGoOn and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/NBCGo_On 

These days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, “Girls,” “The Book of Mormon”) and David (Justin Bartha, “The Hangover”) are a Los Angeles couple and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, “One Day”), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Emmy and Tony Award winner Ellen Barkin), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious eight year-old daughter. Desperate and broke – but also fertile – Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family.

Ryan Murphy serves as creator/executive producer and director along with creator/executive producer Ali Adler (“Glee,” “Chuck”) and executive producer Dante Di Loreto (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”). “The New Normal” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Productions.

For embeddable clips from “The New Normal,” please visit NBC.com’s official show site: http://www.nbc.com/the-new-normal/.

Please like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NBCTheNewNormal and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/NBCTheNewNormal

ADVANCE REVIEW: ‘Revolution’ (NBC – Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: OK, kids, this is how it works:  With all of the new shows of the season, we shared our first impressions of every new show of the season based on the show description and the trailer released by the network in our network previews.  With our fall reviews, however, we include both initial impressions and what we think after actually seeing said show.  The main reason why we do this is to A.) show how mystical our powers of perception are and B.) to show that we aren’t total pricks and can admit IF we’re wrong.

Also, where possible you’re going to see not only my review but either RedEye Rogue or Victor De Leon’s review, as well, so you can make up your own mind and not just go on the opinion of one idiot… we’ll give you two idiots to choose from… maybe more.

Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why?  Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it?  On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.  From director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Person of Interest”) and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally. The series stars Billy Burke (“The Twilight Saga”), Tracy Spiridakos (“Being Human”), Anna Lise Phillips (“Terra Nova”), Zak Orth (“Romeo + Juliet“), Graham Rogers (“Memphis Beat”), J.D. Pardo (“A Cinderella Story”),  Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), David Lyons (“The Cape”), Maria Howell (“The Blind Side”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man”) and Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me”).  Kripke, Abrams, Favreau and Bryan Burk (“Lost,” “Star Trek”) serve as executive producers.  “Revolution” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television.  The pilot was directed by Favreau. – NBC

Score:     90 out of 100

Initial Impressions (May 20, 2012):  Fact: we like everything with J.J. Abrams’ name attached to it so we’re ridiculously biased about this, however… c’mon, now! This looks awesome… despite the fact the fact that it looks a whole lot like Terra Nova.  Let’s be honest: this is post-apocalyptic/new-earth stuff going on here, so, even though the basic concept is novel, the overall premise is pretty recycled… but that’s OK.  As we’ve noted, all Science Fiction today is recycled, it’s how it’s packaged that counts.  This is feature film quality all the way around with Abrams, John Favreau and Bryan Burk attached to it and it is great to see Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) getting a regular gig, again. We can only imagine how much this costs to produce and props to NBC for picking it up.

Shawn: Well, this wasn’t particularly hard to call, but it should be noted that Revolution has far exceeded the expectations noted in the preview.  It’s really one of the best pilots that NBC has had in years.  In comparison, for example, it’s far better than The Event‘s was (which by the way, back in the early days of The ‘Tastic we gave more credit to it then it deserved based on the pilot) and believe it or not, it’s pretty straight-forward and linear so it won’t be particularly confusing and difficult to keep up with as you would imagine a series like this would be.

The characters in this show, although many of them taking their cues from Lost, are compelling and well-written and all swimming in various shades of gray.  It says a lot that right off the bat, 10 minutes into the pilot episode, a dilemma is immediately presented for the audience where they are forced to actually take sides against a hero and in favor of the villain.  That’s hardcore and it’s engaging and few shows would take a risk like that during the meet and greet.  Revolution is very reminiscent of AMC’s The Walking Dead in that it’s  just as much of an examination of the human condition as it is a mystery/adventure and story of survival.

Despite the fact that it’s always hanging over our heads and is an integral part of the show, Revolution is very careful not to dwell on what caused the blackout, only going so far as to provide a brief glimpse at the initial event and having the characters refer to it in a manner as to remind the audience exactly how devastating it would be if we suddenly were thrust into the 1800’s.  Early on, Aaron mentions that he used to work for a company called “Google” and had $80 million in the bank and would trade it all for a roll of Charmin.  It’s quick little pot-shots like that and a few limited flashbacks to fill in some blanks surrounding the plot and the characters that serve to effectively tell the story without being intrusive.

There’s plenty of well-choreographed action in Revolution and they have done a fantastic job creating a believable post-apocalyptic universe through the use of gorgeous set and scenic design, natural landscapes and very well-done CGI.  The performances range from serviceable to outstanding and unlike its predecessors, this is one epic SciFi serial that may actually stand a chance of survival with audiences.  Are there some corny, cringe-worthy moments?  Sure, it’s on network TV… what do you want? Overall, though, it’s an outstanding package.

Redeye Rogue:  Revolution  has indeed far exceeded expectations with the pilot episode   –  the buttery first episode, of which runs 43 minutes but feel like 43 seconds, covers all you need to know about this upcoming NBC series being brought to us by J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau. The brilliant gem stands out among the class of sitcoms and police procedurals.  While not as good as The Walking Dead, there is some real potential here.  Simply put, RedEye Rogue would love to get this series alone behind the middle school. Loved the Jedi lunchbox… interesting that it wasn’t Star Wars, but Return of the Jedi.  Was this foreshadowing something?

Chance of Renewal: 60%

We were very concerned about Revolution based on the trailers and the show description because network audiences have not traditionally embraced SciFi serials.  That being said, post-apocalyptic themed shows that focus more on the characters and story development and use the SciFi theme as more of a backdrop than a device to beat the audience over the head with have been finding a loyal following over the past few years (see: Falling Skies and The Walking Dead as examples of success and Terra Nova as an example of the failure, focusing far too much on SciFi with traditional audiences).  Although we are cautiously optimistic, this show is so incredibly well-done and compelling that even we think it can overcome its handicap of being a SciFi show on network television.  So now, we’re calling it at better than 50%.

Watch the pilot of Revolution, right now, ahead if the September 17th premiere, here.