Last night, NBC’s ratings darling from last year, Revolution, premiered its second season on the network. Today’s ratings came in and they weren’t particularly pretty for the post-electricity drama, which came in fourth place during its brand new timeslot. This means the show got beat by ABC’s comedy block, CBS’ Survivor, and Fox’s The X Factor, a show that also has not been faring so well in the ratings this season. Apparently, The X Factor is still doing well enough to beat out Revolution, which only brought in 6.8 million total viewers during its premiere, a drop of 56% from last year’s opener, per EW. Here’s three big reasons why Revolution didn’t fair so well last night.
First, the new timeslot is a killer. The 8 p.m. Wednesday hour has been a tough one for NBC to compete in over the last few TV seasons. Last season, the network chose to launch Animal Practice--a show which didn’t even make it for a full month on the network before getting cancelled—in the slot. Wednesday’s a pretty big night for television, and somewhere along the line, it got hard for NBC to compete.
The new timeslot is also not particularly great for Revolution, which earned an added ratings boost last year, thanks to airing directly after The Voice. This wouldn’t have been nearly as big of a deal if NBC hadn’t completely screwed Revolution during the second half of the TV season last year. The show developed a decently loyal audience during the fall season and then NBC opted to just stop airing the drama until The Voice returned in the spring. By the time Revolution returned to the schedule, it was during a weird time in the spring when audiences had pretty well settled into their viewing schedules. Plus, by the time the last few episodes aired, some people were already into their summer vacation schedules. The weird hiatus for the first season of the series was ill-planned and showed that NBC had no faith in the series pulling in viewers on its own merit.
It’s not all NBC’s fault, however. While I personally have trouble with the fact that the drama will just kill off characters all willy-nilly, and frequently without rhyme, reason or purpose, that’s the least of Revolution’s problems. Recently, Eric Kripke revealed that the biggest mystery surrounding the series, the fact that the power has been shut off, would not take front and center during the second season of the drama. (If you want more details on where the electricity is going, you can read more on our sister site GFR.) If you caught last night’s premiere episode, which jumps a short time ahead in the future, you will find that Kripke is not lying. The show is headed in a new direction, leaving the electricity mystery as a thing of the past. While this should open the drama up to the exploration of some of the other territories that have been created out of what used to be the United States, it’s also expanded the drama and it means the show is already dealing with a more convoluted plotline during the second season. I sense Once Upon a Time problems cropping up, and soon.
There’s a lot that did go right in Revolution’s season opener. The characters have changed and grown in some cases, and there is a mystery with fireflies, an invading nation and more. Revolution might very well end up being a better show in its second season, but I worry that viewers may never show up to find out.
NBC’s Revolution airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.