‘Revolution’ returns: Speed is key to new series’ success
LOS ANGELES | What’s the key to “Revolution’s” first-season success? Speed, says actress Elizabeth Mitchell.
Creator Eric Kripke “doesn’t have any problem giving away goodies,” she says. “He promised it was going to be this way and I’m shocked. He delivered on his promises.”
Adds Kripke: “I felt like we could pick up the pace of the stunning revelations. It’s really designed for a viewer to be able to pop in and pop out. Walking that balance has been successful for us, but just basically making it more shocking more often.”
In the NBC drama, rebels seek to overthrow a ruthless militia that has come to power following a massive power outage. In the second half of the season, they begin their assault.
Reunited with their mother (played by Mitchell), two young warriors (played by Tracy Spiridakos and Graham Rogers) rely on their estranged uncle (played by Billy Burke) to lead the way.
Among the revelations int he second half: The evil Monroe (played by David Lyons) does have a “limited form of power,” Kripke says. “Your heroes are totally out-manned and overwhelmed as they’re trying to battle against him. The story becomes can this family stick together in the face of these overwhelming odds and this overwhelming danger? And, can you maintain your soul when you’re a warrior?”
Kripke lovingly refers to “Revolution” as “‘The Waltons’ with swords. We really want to make sure that it always has an incredible amount of heart.”
That’s what attracted Mitchell, a veteran of both “V” and “Lost.”
“I’m always drawn to epic, character-driven drama,” she says. “Procedural shows don’t interest me. People who can pull them off are amazing. They memorize like dictionaries every day.”
Reacting to events is easier, she adds. “I’m such a reactive actor. If I have great people, I just listen and react.”
“Lost” was that way; “Revolution” is, too.
The Stephens College grad says she initially was disturbed to discover she was playing a mother who abandoned her children. “I asked Eric if she was a sociopath because why would she leave her kids? And then to see why, I understood. It made perfect sense.”
Held by the militia, Mitchell’s character had inside knowledge of the power outage and, the actress says, was able to work “for the greater good.”
Now, as the second half gears up, she’s trying to figure where the story could be headed. “There’s a relationship in the next episode that I didn’t see coming but that’s OK.
“There’s a wonderful zen mentality of ‘living for the day,’” Mitchell says. “You don’t think about what might happen to your character.”
Mitchell says she didn’t expect that she would die on “Lost.” “But we all knew it was a possibility.”
Likewise with the ups and downs of “Revolution.”
While fans have drawn parallels between the two shows, she says they often ignore a key one: the environment. “It plays a role, which was the same on ‘Lost.’”
While both are action/adventures — not sci-fi, she’s quick to point out — “Lost” took its time to unfold.
And when the end came, some fans were disappointed. Mitchell wasn’t.
“I loved it,” she says. “I don’t have a problem with there being mystery in life. It’s joyous that there is.”
The Emmy-winning ABC drama, she says, was an important part of her life. “I had just had a son and met all those amazing people. I love books and it was almost like I got to be in a classic….I got to be in one of those books you read and reread.”
To have success like that once in a career is a blessing. “I’ve been around long enough to know that that kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time,” she says.
That “Revolution” could be another “classic”? “Unbelievable.”
Taking a cue from the characters, Mitchell says she often has “no-electronics day.” “It’s directly because of what I’ve experienced and because of the show. When your kids are watching you do five things at the same time, it’s really lonely for them. So when you put a lot of it away and you actually make eye contact with them, it’s kind of gorgeous.”
A low-tech lifestyle? The 42-year-old mother of one says she could probably pull it off — as long as she was living with all of her family members.
“I couldn’t go days, weeks, months and not know how they are,” she says. “But if we were living on a compound together, sure. I have a woodburning stove in my house. Our power goes out all the time. I live on an island, so it’s not that horrible. We act things out and my whole family sings and plays instruments. It’s actually quite fun.”