'Revolution' NYC premiere gets fans powered up for new show

Cyclists literally power the Revolution premiere.
Photo by Talia Mazzarella

Despite the rain, there was a good turnout for the premiere of NBC’s Revolution Monday night. More than two hundred people lined up outside the abandoned warehouse on Manhattan’s Pier 57. Signs touting the premiere and a Revolution street team got the line geared up to watch the anticipated first episode about a world without electricity (which happens to be exec-produced by J.J. Abrams, written by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and directed by Jon Favreau).

Once inside, the crowd found themselves in a darkly lit hallway of the warehouse making their way to the brightly lit screen. Moss-covered, old steel columns and power boxes added to the dilapidated feel and put you in the mood for some good old fashion end-of-the-modern-world fun. Even the concession stand - serving Starbucks Refreshers and popcorn - was also moss-covered and dark.

The hallway ended in a cavernous room filled with the screen, chairs and 80 people on stationary bikes. In an inventive move, Revolution partnered with the non-profit Transportation Alternatives. The 80 people, pedaling for all they were worth, were actually the sole power generators of the evening. Even one of the actors, Tim Guinee, took a bike seat throughout the premiere and helped power the screen. Since the plot of the show deals with a world without power, the ever-present buzz of bicycle gears was a poignant reminder of how much we depend on electricity.

The crowd got settled and introductions to the show were made onstage. For a bit of fun, the host had the crowd take out their hand-held smart phones or tablets and pass them to the person on their left. She wanted everyone to take a moment and see how they felt without a device connecting them to the world. Obviously everyone wanted their phone back quickly, although I think half the audience was more worried the person to their left would run off with it than their 30-second lack of communication. Tim Guinee joined the host on stage and said a few words about how much fun he had working on the show before mounting his bike for the evening.

The lights flickered and the show started, and then the screen froze. The crowd waited a beat and then started good-naturedly heckling the bicyclists. The host got back up to stall and there were a couple minutes were no one was sure the premiere was going to happen at all. It would have been a funny way to promote a show about not having any power. A few minutes later though the show restarted and everyone settled in.

Overall, the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves and there was clapping as the credits rolled. While more than one spectator commented on the bright colors and good condition of clothes in the show’s post-industrial story-world, the majority of the crowd seemed willing to tune in again. Quite a few had even used the event’s hashtag #PoweredByThePeople on Twitter for a chance to win a membership to Transportation Alternatives. Everyone was in good spirits as the exited the warehouse back into our fully lit world.