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NBC show to depict EMP-aftermath society

NBC show to depict EMP-aftermath society

“Revolution,” a new drama from NBC‘s fall lineup, depicts what life would look like in the aftermath of an EMP attack. Producer JJ. Abrams (Iron Man) sets the action in Chicago, 15 years after all electricity on the planet is wiped out. In the teaser, the narrator sets the scene:

“We used electricity for everything, even to grow food and pump water. But after the blackout nothing worked. Not even car engines or jet turbines. Hell, even batteries. All of it, gone forever. Governments fell; militias and generals and warlords rose up. So, what the hell happened?”

NBC is tapping into increased interest in post-apocalyptic scenarios, particularly around EMP, or electromagnetic pulse. If this will this play beyond the “prepper” circles remains to be seen. But it does reflect a reality that perhaps some politicians have been ignoring; Americans may see the possibility of their world deteriorating as more plausible. Even the title–“Revolution”–reflects the unease and cultural divide present in America today.

Of special interest to Chicagoans, it looks like the product placement gurus have been hard at work. (Will the Ricketts family receive flack for placing the Cubs logo prominently?)

The teaser displays such local brands as Lou Malnatis (pizza) signs, Cubs paraphernalia (will the fans still be hoping?) and a deteriorating Chicago skyline.

That last part is sure to warm the hearts of the Occupiers running wild through our city this weekend.

Will you watch?


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Spoiler ALERT:

Scene 2 shows Al Gore being taught how to bow hunt by the Warren Indian tribe who used to be known as Cherokee.

I might watch the premiere just to see if it’s of interest.

I seem to remember a great deal of concern about EMP taking out our infrastructure during the cold war.

    May I confidently predict the show will show huge gobs of “unfair” infrastructure taken out, but otoh the cast will surprisingly find intact and extremely useful many primary elements determined by the producers to be politically correct.

    Don’t thank me for that guess. It’s merely the genius in me crying to escape.

Old school engines…especially diesels…would work just fine.

People LOVE being scared, and scaring people who are ignorant is like depressing teenagers.

    Yep. Also, there would be nothing to stop the infrastructure from being rebuilt (unless there’s something else going on).

    GrumpyOne in reply to Ragspierre. | May 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    So might my old 1955 Studebaker President… Especially if I keep a spare set of ignition parts, (coil, points,condenser), in a lead bag.

    But getting gas might pose a problem…

SoCA Conservative Mom | May 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Wait, hasn’t this already been done? I recall a series set in the Northwest, where an emp was set off a few thousand feet above ground level and only took out Seattle and the surrounding area… but maybe I’m imagining things and it was all a dream.

I’ll be in Chicago as of tomorrow afternoon…

Looking forward to observing the violent mob in it’s native environment.

I will have to fight myself very hard to not go all “Steve Irwin” while I’m there.

No, I won’t be watching. I have to wash my hair.

1. Will you watch?

Nope. I recycled my TV when they went to high def and see no reason to get a new one.

2. Let me guess. It will turn out that the global blackout was caused by an eeeeeevil KKKorporate scheme gone awry.

3. OT: If I were in the Islamist brain trust, I’d be telling the decisionmakers to bring down civilization by any available means (bio, EMP,…) because Islam would recover first. Since my assessment would be based on European urbanites and US coastal elites, I’d be wrong, but a fat lot of good that would do for near-term civilization.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to gs. | May 19, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Islamist brain trust? ROFL! What’s that? They’d still be left behind cuz they love death and we love life. So, we’d find a way to create to live; they’d find a way to kill. The boon for Israel is no more cellphone triggered bombs or rockets flying into Haifa and other cities.

      Islamist brain trust? ROFL! What’s that?

      In recent decades, radical Islam did not spread by happenstance. The looming existential threat to Israel did not arise by happenstance.

      A dismissive attitude toward Islamists is almost as reckless as a multiculti desire to placate them.

        Juba Doobai! in reply to gs. | May 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm

        You subscribe to the delusion that there is something called “radical Islam”. I don’t. I assert that there is only Islam, followed tenet by tenet. Free thought is antithetical to Islam since man has no freedom or free will in it.

        It is impossible to have a brain trust without analytical inquiry and freedom. Islam discourages both presenting the Koran and Allah as the answer to all forms of inquiry, even the scientific.

        The proliferation of pure Islam today was wrought by oil money, Saudi Wahhabi oil money. Everywhere they went and spent, they built plain mosques according to a certain plan, pushed the teaching of Arabic for the sake of reading the Koran, and insisted on a particular set of beliefs and practices.

        Brain trust? No. When they can produce their own technology without theft from others, then we can start talking about brain trust.

          1. You subscribe to the delusion that there is something called “radical Islam”. I don’t.

          Together with your previous ROFL, this attitude speaks for itself.

          2. I assert that there is only Islam, followed tenet by tenet.

          Two words: Sunni. Shiite.

          Some people miss the forest for the trees. Some others see the forest and assume the trees are identical, equally spaced on level ground.

          3. Brain trust? No. When they can produce their own technology without theft from others, then we can start talking about brain trust.

          It is a nontrivial effort to produce deployable nukes. The Iranians aren’t there yet, but their progress is worrisome.

Cowboy Curtis | May 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I’ll give it a look, but I suspect it’ll be wildly unrealistic. But then, I sorta liked Jeremiah- an alright show that could have been soooo much better.

No, not if it’s on NBC.

I think it’s a very important issue …today

If Iran had one Nuke plus a half capable orbital launcher, getting a bomb to blow in orbit anywhere between Houston and Chicago would accomplish what NBC talks about.

Same is true of a really bad Solar Flare like what hit us [U.S.] in 1859.

Senator whatshername from Alaska, the [(R)] Senator voted against.

good issue. Doubts about NBC treatment. Another “Media Distraction”

VetHusbandFather | May 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Is it an important issue? As with all doomsday scenario’s, I think the EMP threat is way over exaggerated. Even if they could knock out the electrical systems to several major cities, there are still a lot of other cities to keep things going, a pretty good amount of our production industry has been removed to remote areas away from populated cities anyway. And it’s not as if we wouldn’t rebuild our infrastructure.

Large coronal ejections from the sun would have the same effect if they were to hit Earth.

It’s the ultimate Hollywood Leftist nightmare: the new majority will be those crazy right wing nuts with guns and stores of canned food. Oh, the horror!

Are they trying to tell us something?

Sorry, I won’t watch it. I watched the Jericho series which was OK, but it was enough for me.

“Will you watch?”

Surely you jest.

(Yeah, yeah, I know – don’t call you Shirley.)

My kind of movie but I don’t watch tv – prolly catch it on Netflix or

Would I watch: No. For several reasons:

1.) It’s NBC. They’ve had a really weak entertainment lineup for YEARS now. I like JJ Abrams work as much as the next sci-fi fan, but you can only do so much with so little.

2.) The premise is unrealistic. 15 years and no repairing of the electrical grid (at least in isolated areas)? No. Getting a low-level power generation facility back online would take some effort, but unless it was FULLY destroyed, the actual generation infrastructure could probably be brought back online reasonably quickly by salvaging parts and some makeshift-engineering. Yes, there would be a lot of re-wiring involved, and it might not be as efficient starting out as the plant was originally, but people who are adept at machining and mechanical repair would get a lot of tech up-and-running VERY quickly.

3.) The premise is unrealistic (part II). Any EMP powerful enough to fry the entire world’s electronics in one shot would kill every living thing on the planet (from radiation burns and UV exposure). If the small amount of metal in your radio generates enough voltage to fry your radio just imagine what your metal screen door would do. There would be lots of sparks, smoke, electrical arcing, and fires which would likely burn everything else.

stevewhitemd | May 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm

This is along the lines of Steven M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire series, though in his novels EVERYTHING breaks — electricity, gas laws, thermodynamics, etc. It’s as if a Finnish author gets his wish.

But I think the idea comes from One Second After, a decent but not great book. It might be good if the writers and producers would stick to the premise and the sci-fi, but this television after all, so it’ll be laden with sex and stupidity.

Then again, sex and stupidity does sell…

    Long time reader, long time lurker, first time commenter. Love the blog.

    Actually, you are right about Dies the Fire and S.M. Stirling. In the show, all modern tech ceases to function. That’s why the folks in the militia were shocked that someone shot a gun. Its not that people ran out of bullets, its that bullets were out of order. That medallion doesn’t magically repair tech damaged by EMP, it temporarily allows the tech to work by restoring the physical laws as we understand them.

I will check it out. I really enjoyed Jericho, with its post apocalyptic small town politics. Even though it was canceled early and came back for a quickie, unsatifying conclusion. But if it is filled with liberal sucker punches I will bail quickly.

Cautiously optimistic and frequently disappointed is my nature.

15 YEARS later and nothing works? What horsecrap. anyone with a moderate understanding of any kind of technology understands what BS this is.

It’d be fun if they add zombies. Oh, wait. That’s already on TV now….

As usual with TV, the science is gibberish. An EMP would fry a lot of circuits but fried circuits won’t destroy modern life. Mostly, it will just raise the price of new circuits, which will be hard to produce for a while, until new control systems can be wired up.

Dark Angel did it better. The pulse disrupted things just long enough for some evil right wingers (working with the evil corporations) to declare martial law and take over the government, thus allowing Jessica Alba to be bioengineered from a cat.

That’s MUCH more realistic.

No, I won’t be watching. Include me out.

Given the description “After 15 years of darkness, an unlikely group sets out to save the world” and NBC’s general affinity for totalitarians, it’s not hard to guess what sort of fascist thugs these “saviors” of the world will turn out to be. The scientific and technological implausibility of the show’s basic premise is also a turn-off. Fifteen years with no technology of any sort? Really?.

Perhaps the problem is me. I grew up reading the works of Isaac Asimov, Alan Dean Foster, James Blish, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke. These and many other SF authors at least tried to make their stories have some scientific accuracy, and were able to regularly impress their readers with the wonder of new worlds and new technologies. Not so with many modern SF authors who worship at the altar of Scientism, but themselves are depressingly ignorant about science and who see the genre as a vehicle to advance their creepy ideas about humanity and society.

Put another way: older SF was usually (though not always) looking outwards. Newer SF seems to look mostly inwards with copious navel-gazing.

    Michael47 in reply to rec_lutheran. | May 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t think this rises to the level of science fiction, or even speculative fiction. Too many fantastical components: batteries stop working? That means chemical reactions don’t work, a LOT of biological processes depend on electric activity, if electricity is stopped to that level, every one dies of cardiac arrest (no cardiac rhythm). And a magic key chain that turns it back on? Please. I’ll stick with great science fiction, like “Firefly”. A thousand times better than this antiscientific bilge. This is just a ripoff of Jericho and Falling Skies.

looks like a terrific concept given the usual schlocky network tv treatment. too bad the idea wan’t pitched to hbo or showtime.

Sounds like a show about what happens when the environmentalists take over and destroy all of our energy sources.

If the show tries to teach them a lesson it may be worth watching. But I doubt it will.

Will it have a mega hotty with pouty BJ lips who is cross bred with a cat (Dark Angel)? Then I’m in.

As others noted, an EMP would be disruptive and bust some things (no Facebook for a while), but I’m skeptical of it turning all copper wire to dust.

I’m a little concerned about our Nuke facilities ability to shut itself down though.

Otherwise, If all were hit equally, devastation would be far less than a Katrina.

    Estragon in reply to Andy. | May 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

    You can’t have an apocalypse without a hottie. I think it’s a rule or something.

Simple answers: Farraday cage; older diesel car, before 1980, meaning no computer running things; enough of and a variety of firearms and ammunition to supply your family; a defenseable location; at least a 30 day supply of water and canned goods; solar powered recharging device; CB radios; medical supplies; willingness to defend yourself; books; anything else that you think you might need in such a situation.
No, I will not be watching because there will be an “Obama” type hero who will ultimately save us. Someone who can stop the rising tide and is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. What a load of crap.

EMP would keep the liberal MSM off the air and our city could be saved.

Until that day my city, Chicago, and my state, Illinois, will keep deteriorating under Democrat rule.

This ‘end times’ video virtually depicts the political insides of both Chicago and Illinois.

EMP isn’t so easy to inflict. You have to be able to deliver an ICBM, because it requires a high-altitude nuclear detonation. That stuff isn’t easy; in fact, it IS rocket science.

The point being that if you can deliver a payload like that so far, you could wipe out a city. I suppose if you only had one or two, an EMP detonation might make sense, but there is no way to test it and no way to be sure it will work as theorized. Really wanna launch a nuke attack on the US that could end up just pissing us off?

The more realistic threat would be a solar event. One in the 19th Century killed the telegraph lines, but there wasn’t much electricity in use to fry back then. We have no record of previous events – no electronics to mess up! – and no idea how often major ejections of that sort may be expected.

So it’s pretty far-fetched, like all apocalyptic fiction, but they’ve seen the audience for Walking Dead and Falling Skies on cable, and decided to give it a run.

Put Hawaii 5-O on notice: better plan on a lot more of Gracie Park in a bikini!

Personally, I find the Zombie Apocalypse scenario the most plausible, especially after the last Presidential election.

They walk among us, and they vote.

Will you watch?

Just for laughs.

People tend to forget that the military used to design their equipment with EMP (not to mention gamma rays) in mind. (There are these funny stories of how they used to put equipment at one end of an underground hallway and a nuclear device at the other end, then setoff the device with stone hatches falling like something out of an Indiana Jones film to protect the equipment before the blast got to them .. sometimes the hatches failed, oopps) Even the phone company (prior to the 1983 breakup) used to make the system EMP tolerance.

[…] » NBC show to depict EMP-aftermath society – Le·gal In·sur·rec&midd… “Revolution,” a new drama from NBC‘s fall lineup, depicts what life would look like in the aftermath of an EMP attack. Producer JJ. Abrams (Iron Man) sets the action in Chicago, 15 years after all electricity on the planet is wiped out. In the teaser, the narrator sets the scene: “We used electricity for everything, even to grow food and pump water. But after the blackout nothing worked. Not even car engines or jet turbines. Hell, even batteries. All of it, gone forever. Governments fell; militias and generals and warlords rose up. So, what the hell happened?” […]

Dear Hollywood,

Before you (censor) this up, I would like to give you some advice.

1) Hire an actual physicist, who has not signed onto Global Warming, or any other “Humans are going to destroy the environment” idiocy. Give him/her total veto power over the writers stupid plot ideas. (Yes that sounds neat. No physics doesn’t work that way. Try again)

2) Decide on the “Rules” of the series before-hand and STICK TO THEM. If it is a one-time event (like solar storm or nuclear EMP) that flattens existing electronics, then the possibility of humanity putting together more low-tech electric gizmos is OK. If it is an ongoing event such as the flipping of the magnetic poles that causes a constant multi-year EMP event, no. See 1)

3) Decide on personalities of your characters in advance and stick with it. Negative characteristics should have balancing positive characteristics, or the poor schlub would have been kicked into a hole years before the series starts. (In GURPS-speak, 30 pts Advantages, 30 pts Disadvantages or so) Character advancement/regression should be plotted out in advance, not just flung into episodes at random.

4) People lie. People have secrets. The audience will empathize with People. Even after 15 years, people will still have areas of their past too painful to visit. People have a whole conflict spectrum to explore. People tend to fall in love and out of love. People are *interesting*. People are the foreground of your series, the physics and the hardware is the background. Don’t get so caught up in making huge elaborate sets that you forget the main reason for the series. People.