Revolution on NBC is high-tech and un-plugged with producer J.J. Abrams

The NBC series “Revolution” takes place in the not too distant future and follows a family struggling to reunite after every piece of technology in the U.S. has mysteriously been turned off. The action-packed show threw in a powerful militia trying to take over the country in the wake of the blackout. And now there are powerful revelations about how and why that has happened.

 

Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos, photo by Nino Munoz/NBC

Among the stars of the show are Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Elizabeth Mitchell, David Lyons, and Giancarlo Esposito. Many of the performers say the production has influenced them to “un-plug” their lives off the set.

Embracing the “un-plugged” theme of the show, Billy Burke reveals that he picks up his acoustic guitar and plays. Tracy Spiridakos says she has enjoyed the “horseback riding” while on location in Wilmington, North Carolina. Elizabeth Mitchell says she and her seven year old son have “no electronics day.” And Giancarlo Esposito reports he and his family “put down our technology when we went on vacation. We walked and talked, and that came directly from the inspiration of what this show has done in my life.”

Surprisingly, the post-apocalyptic family drama comes from some high-tech guys: creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural creator), who is executive producer along with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk (Lost, Star Trek). They are guys who embrace technology and infuse their productions with lots of CGI and special effects.

J.J. Abrams has done movies and TV shows that are considered very high‑tech, such as the rebooted Star Trek franchise, and the scifi series Fringe and Lost. But when asked if he could be as creative as he is without today’s ground-breaking technology, he explains, “I love what technology allows in terms of visual effects, and in terms of just efficiency, whether it’s getting something quickly, reading something, looking at artwork, composition, or anything. Right now I’m doing visual effects for Star Trek, and it doesn’t matter where I am, I can look at the latest version of a visual effects shot and give notes.”

Abrams adds, “While that’s all true, what it all comes down to, and what matters most of all is the idea, and the writing and the execution of that idea. And for that, I usually write it out in longhand first. There’s something about it, the tactile, tangible nature of writing that just feels like I’m feeling the stuff more than I am. You know, when there’s a deadline and it’s crazy, of course, the MacBook Pro is the key.  But it’s something that I think ultimately just comes down to—what is that idea you’re scribbling with that pencil?”

Tune in Revolution to find out, Mondays at 10 pm on NBC. #


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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