Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The producers of the new high-concept NBC drama Revolution couldn’t have seen it coming, but the forthcoming Monday night adventure from the stable of exec producer JJ Abrams could well find themselves at Ground Zero this fall in the suddenly hot-button issue of gun control. The fantasy series surrounds one family’s attempt to reunite in an America that is entirely devoid of electronics and modern technology. It’s also a dictatorship in which conventional firearms have been banned and people instead arm themselves with antiquated weapons like muskets. In the wake of last week’s movie-theater shooting in Aurora, CO, many could see Revolution as a politically-driven piece of left-wing propaganda.
Abrams was unable to attend the afternoon TCA panel, but exec producer Eric Kripke described how the series deals with possession of guns. “In the pilot, Giancarlo Esposito’s character says that firearms are a hanging offense,” he said. “Guns are possible in the world, but they’re confiscated because we’re living in this dictatorship and they’ve taken away people’s right to bear arms.” In addition, the fascist dictator is gathering all of the guns for himself, a long-stated fear of those who fear for their 2nd Amendment rights from a government takeover.
Does Revolution really want to be wading into those waters politically speaking right now? Kripoke admitted while referring to the deadly carnage in Colorado, “It’s a terrible terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to everybody in Colorado. (But) I think we’re talking about a broader canvas than that. I think we’re talking about a dictator who is also conscripting soldiers on taxation without representation. Taking away the freedoms of what were once the citizens of the United States in a hundred different ways. At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is a very patriotic show that is in many ways about people fighting for freedom, to go where they want, say what they want, eat together with their families. So again this is a much smaller part of a broader canvas…It’s a much bigger show that is more about what it means to be a citizen of this country and the things that are positive about it and worth fighting for.”
On a different topic, Revolution co-exec producer Jon Favreau exulted in the fact that a drama so complex — and which NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced today would be previewed during the Olympics — is airing on a broadcast network. “What you’re seeing now started off as a trend of cable television, has spread out, and now is going network,” Favreau said. “The audience has a tremendous capacity for sophisticated storylines. And as the movie industry becomes more and more restricted for a number of reasons you’re seeing this opening up on the TV front. There is room for really smart storylines (in broadcast), and the audience has become increasingly sophisticated. As a result, we’re seeing an appetite to try to accommodate this more ambitious style of storytelling. Hopefully we’re breaking new ground here.”
(Photo: Getty Images)