Although the 2012 fall TV season doesn't get into full swing until next Monday, several new TV series have already begun teasing their arrival. While in the past, networks would showcase their forthcoming projects with extended clips and trailers, a new process has been adopted whereby the series' first episode (the pilot) is made available online. It gives unsure audiences a chance to feel out a show, without sacrificing valuable television viewing time during the middle of the fall TV season.
The newest show to test out its pilot online is J.J. Abrams' Revolution, which officially premieres September 17th on NBC. Fans intrigued by the series' premise of a world ravaged by a technological blackout can check out the pilot on Hulu right now. It stars Billy Burke as the messianic leader of a group of survivors, features former LOST star Elizabeth Mitchell as his sister-in-law, and has a few fresh faces like Tracy Spiridakos and JD Pardo in prominent roles.
While this premiere episode already debuted during a small Comic-Con screening in July, this marks the first time average TV viewers can check out the pilot. The presence of J.J. Abrams on the show (as executive producer) is a major selling point, but it's actually creator and showrunner Eric Kripke that has us more excited.
As the man behind the CW's Supernatural, Kripke has found a way to craft genre-specific serialized television that goes beyond the common procedural – a concept that Abrams himself has been a pioneer of. Tonally the show is going for a post-apocalyptic vibe (like TNT's Falling Skies), but is keeping things well within the Abrams wheelhouse. That means a rotating cast of intriguing secondary characters (including Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito) and several head-scratching mysteries.
In addition to being written by Kripke and produced by Abrams, this pilot has the added boost of being directed by Jon Favreau, who most will know for his work on the first two Iron Man films. Revolution might not have the budget of a Marvel film, but trailers for the series have promised exciting (albeit unconventional) action set pieces to look forward to.
Revolution already received its series order back in May but like many Abrams shows released this past few years it will need to find a loyal audience to survive. Shows like Fringe and Person of Interest have made it past their initial season order, but recently J.J. has had just as many failures (Alcatraz, Undercovers) as he has had successes.
Still, it's his work creating shows like LOST and Alias that makes him a hot commodity come pilot season, and is undoubtedly one of the reasons Revolution is being brought to air. The only question is where Revolution will fall within the spectrum of Abrams' TV projects when this year's season is over.
Revolution premieres Monday, September 17 @10pm on NBC