NBC hasn't had many success stories this season, especially with its new shows. But one that has found a home and audience is Revolution, which combines family angst and futuristic drama while earning top status among the 18-49 demographic for first-year programs (though it trailed CBS' Elementary by a wide margin in terms of total viewers).
As the show concludes its first season tonight at 9 p.m., things have come full circle for several characters. Once-close friends and allies Monroe (David Lyons) and Miles (Billy Burke) are now facing each other down with guns, while it seems Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) has been hiding a lot of secrets regarding what's contained within the tower. It's true power can be restored across the world by just flipping a switch, but it's also possible this action will trigger a global disaster.
The fact Rachel doesn't seem to care whether the world survives or not puts her on a collision course with her daughter Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos). There's also the question of threats inside (murderous types) and outside (rebellious troops about to switch loyalties) the tower.
Revolution got off to a quick start, then was pulled for several weeks by NBC, who felt it made sense to keep the show paired with The Voice. While the finale is coming after the sweeps have ended, it's providing the network with new material on a night when most competitors are either airing reruns or shifting into summer fare.
Show runner and creator Eric Kripke promises fans will definitely see some major events during the finale, among them the death of two major characters. There's plenty of online speculation brewing about which ones don't make it to Season Two.
Burn Notice fires up
After six solid seasons, USA Network's Burn Notice returns for a seventh and final year with everything in turmoil. Thursday's opening episode at 8 p.m. sees Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) once again working for the CIA, but at the cost of his relationship with almost everyone that matters to him. His girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) remains angry and estranged, and his mother Madeline (Sharon Gless) still blames him for his brother's death.
Westen also ended up disappointing and betraying friends Jesse (Coby Bell) and Sam (Bruce Campbell). He's not even in America. Westen's been relocated (at least for this episode) to the Dominican Republic with new boss Andrew Strong (Jack Coleman). His first assignment is to befriend a mercenary (Adrian Pasdar) the agency wants kept under close surveillance.
Burn Notice's success was largely predicated on the interaction between Westen, his friends and family, plus the on-again, off-again relationship with Fiona. It's tricky business changing a show's focus and direction for a last campaign, but that's precisely what's happening here. The producers are even bringing aboard a new boyfriend (Stephen Martines) for Fiona, starting with the second episode.
Still, with Jeffrey Donovan offering the best portrayal of a resourceful and clever secret agent since the days of Richard Dean Anderson on MacGyver, Burn Notice's final shows should be memorable.
Falling Skies third season
While visually impressive and appropriately diverse in terms of casting, the Steven Spielberg-backed sci-fi thriller Falling Skies has never been as good or compelling as promised, particularly considering its pedigree.
Maybe there've been one too many post-apocalyptic series in the past few years, but over much of its first two seasons Falling Skies has been long on suggestion and implication but short on impact. But the last half of the second season featured stronger episodes, with more twists and fewer lengthy, pretentious expository scenes.
The third season begins Sunday (TNT, 8 p.m.) with one-time history professor and recent military leader Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) now an elected official. Anne (Moon Bloodgood) is also about to have her child. With seven months passed since the last encounter, everyone's also on edge anticipating more threats from the alien invaders.
Among third season highlights will be more revelations regarding the aliens, plus complications for Mason, who quickly discovers political life poses dilemmas just as thorny as combat.
Thrones alone: Season finale Sunday
HBO's current hot show Game of Thrones wraps its third season 8 p.m. Sunday with the return of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to King's Landing for what promises to be anything but a happy family reunion. It doesn't help matters that Lannister's now missing a hand, or that he has to face his father Tywin (Charles Dance), who's never exactly been the warm and cuddly type.
But Lannister does have some allies, notably Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), who remains loyal to Lannister in spite of his numerous character flaws. Game of Thrones has proven the rare period piece that draws audiences both across demographic and gender lines, as well as loyal readers of George R.R. Martin's fantasy novels.
Though it won't equal the artistic levels of past HBO triumphs like The Sopranos or The Wire, Game of Thrones has proven a major success in its own right — as witness the outpouring of shock and horror last night's climactic "Red Wedding" bloodbath loosed online. Have you recovered?