|Summary: Fifteen years after a permanent global blackout, a group of revolutionaries seeks to drive out an occupying force posing as the United States Government.
Creator: Eric Kripke
Starring: Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, David Lyons, Elizabeth Mitchell, Zak Orth, JD Pardo, Stephen Collins, Maureen Sebastian, Daniella Alonso, Zeljko Ivanek
PLOT – SPOILER ALERT
The series is set in a post-apocalyptic near-future of the year 2027, where – fifteen years ago in the year 2012 – all of the electricity on Earth was permanently disabled, ranging from computers and electronics to car and jet engines. Trains and cars stopped where they were, ships went dead in the water, and fly-by-wire aircraft fell from the sky and crashed. This event came to be known by everybody in this new world as “The Blackout”. Over the next fifteen years, people have soon adapted to a world without electricity and due to the collapse of government and public order, several areas were ruled by militias and their generals.
It begins with the surviving Matheson family: Ben Matheson and his two children: daughter Charlie and son Danny, who now live in a village near Chicago. He wears a small pendant around his neck (later revealed to be a disguised USB flash drive) that is the key to not only finding out what happened fifteen years ago, but also a possible way to reverse its effects. However, Sebastian Monroe, the General of the Monroe Militia and self-appointed President of the Monroe Republic, whose borders are the Mississippi River and the old states of Kentucky and the Carolinas, is searching for the pendants, so he can use their power to take control of the entire North American continent. The remaining Matheson family, joined initially by Miles Matheson, Aaron Pittman, and Nora Clayton now are on the run from the Monroe Militia. Monroe’s new benefactor, Randall Flynn, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense who 15 years earlier ordered the deployment of the weaponized technology that caused the blackout, now works with Monroe in his efforts after Ben’s wife Rachel (working under duress for Monroe) escapes from his custody. This technology is later revealed to be a form of nanotechnology whose ability to drain electricity can be countered by the pendant.
We lived in an electric world. We relied on it for everything. And then the power went out. Everything stopped working. We weren’t prepared. Fear and confusion led to panic. The lucky ones made it out of the cities. The government collapsed. Militias took over, controlling the food supply and stockpiling weapons. We still don’t know why the power went out. But we’re hopeful someone will come and light the way.
In Season 1 Episode 5, “Soul Train”, a map of the former continental United States, Canada, and Mexico is shown and shows the former North American Union divided into six “Republics” (parts of Canada and Mexico became part of the contiguous United States): the Monroe Republic, the Georgia Federation, the Plains Nation, Texas, the California Commonwealth, and the Wasteland. In the same episode, it indicates that the Georgia Federation and Plains Nation have allied against the Monroe Republic and border skirmishing in southwest Illinois, near St. Louis, is mentioned. According to the wife of Captain Thomas Neville (Julia) in a letter to her husband, the Monroe Republic capital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is relatively safe; however, life outside west of Pittsburgh is subject to rebel attacks and other dangers such as bandits.
In April 2013, the series was renewed for a second season of 22 episodes. The new season aired on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm (ET) as opposed to the previous time slot of Monday at 10:00 pm (ET). The season premiered on September 25, 2013, took a mid-season break before Thanksgiving 2013, and returned with new episodes on January 8, 2014.
Nicole Ari Parker was cast in a recurring role as Secretary Justine Allenford. Patrick Heusinger and Jessie Collins were also signed. Supernatural alumnus Jim Beaver was cast as John Franklin Fry, “a hard-ass, whip smart Texas Ranger who allies with Miles.” The second season takes place six months after the events of the first season.