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After our success winning the 2010 New York Television Festival, we decided to produce a drama for the 2011 Festival. Early that year, we conceived Powerless, a sci-fi drama about what would happen if the Earth suddenly lost all power.
And here is where you say "J.J. Abrams' Revolution." And here is where I tell you the story.
Powerless came out first. It was shot in May 2011, entered into the festival, and accepted in June/July. At the festival, we met with an NBC executive who was highly interested in the project, and asked for a Season Arc and outline of first full pilot. We gave it - then radio silence. In February, we find out why - J.J. Abrams has sold them a drama about the Very. Same. Thing.
Our conspiracy radars went ping ping ping, but after digging a bit we decide there is no proof of anything other than synchronicitous creativity, and certainly not enough to sue. End result, Revolution is on TV but sucks, and Powerless is not.
This is most frustrating not because someone else did my idea (because that truly happens all the time), but because they did it poorly. The question of what would happen to humanity should electricity suddenly really not work is, I think, a fascinating one. And the best way to explore that would have been to start at the moment that it did and stay there, work alongside the characters as they slowly figure out how to survive. Instead, what Abrams/NBC did was jump to the narrative safety of fifteen years in the future, with perfect hairdos, all kinds of magical macguffins, and a plot cribbed directly from Star Wars. It is a profound waste of a good idea.
The pilot of Powerless represents one storyline (out of 3 in the original TV pilot), following the discovery of three young Appalachian Trail hikers played by Kelli Giddish, Joachim Boyle and Sean Hudock. The show also features Richard B. Watson, Alexis Dow, Robert Campbell, Michael Pesavento, Tom Dente, Rob Bergenstock, Michael Pizolato, Jessica Richline and Mike Kiefer. It was directed by myself and Johnny North, produced by us and Ashlea Hartz. I think the overall pilot, though not perfect, is exemplary of what we can do with very little money and two and a half days of shooting. I am proud of it, and it was also one of the more enjoyable shoots in recent memory.
You can watch both the trailer and the full pilot below. The pilot is also here.