NBC’s ‘Revolution’ Enlists UN Input to Depict a World Gone Mad

by | September 22, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Fall TV 2013, Revolution, TV News

"Revolution" cast members Billy Burke (top left), Tracy Spiridakos (top right) and Giancarlo Esposito spoke at the UN last week. Also pictured: Elizabeth Mitchell (Photos: NBC)

UNITED NATIONS — NBC’s futuristic drama series “Revolution” depicts the chaos that can overrun a society in the absence of electric power, but here in the present-day real world, millions are living in that very same situation everyday.

That was the word from United Nations officials who joined “Revolution” cast members and show runner Eric Kripke last week for an event at UN headquarters in New York that was held to call attention to the plight of millions living in precarious, primitive conditions around the world.

They also revealed how the show and the UN have formed a working relationship under which UN experts are advising the show’s writers and producers about aspects of the world they are depicting on the TV show.

Kripke spoke alongside cast members Billy Burke, Giancarlo Esposito and Tracy Spiridakos, plus two UN officials, on a panel moderated by actor Fisher Stevens in one of the UN conference rooms where UN delegates ordinarily sit.

UN officials said an estimated 3 billion people live without electricity and/or without access to modern fuel sources for basic activities such as cooking.

Catch up with NBC’s “Revolution” by watching last spring’s season finale:

“Three billion people are still using wood and animal dung for cooking and heating,” said panelist Bahareh Seyedi, energy policy specialist within the Environment and Energy Group of the UN Development Program. “For them, [the world depicted in "Revolution"] is a day-to-day reality.”

For this event, which included a screening of next week’s season premiere episode of “Revolution” (Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 8/9c on NBC), the audience was filled with diplomats, UN employees and a smattering of reporters.

Kripke said it was the UN that initiated the contact during “Revolution’s” first season last year after the show apparently caught the UN’s attention with its ongoing storyline about a society without electricity that devolves into tribal, territorial conflicts between various warlords. It was a situation that looked all-too familiar to the UN officials who have witnessed the same devolution in poor countries around the world.

He said the UN asked if they “could use ‘Revolution’ as a platform to get that message out [about the real-life plight of millions] and, in return, we could have access to the incredible researchers of the UN,” Kripke said.

“Writers are all about research,” he said, “so to be able to sit down and talk to them and really get a real boots-on-the-ground perspective of what life is actually like in a powerless society was something that was just valuable to the writers and one of the great unique experiences of my life.”

Kripke said the UN’s input was especially helpful in the creation of the episodes he and his team are producing for the new season, the show’s second.

The new season of “Revolution” starts on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 8/7c on NBC.