Emily Rome
November 29, 2012 AT 03:13 PM EST

NBC’s new hit drama Revolution is the narrative answer to a big “What if?” Creator Eric Kripke and fellow executive producers J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau have taken a close look at how much our society depends on modern technology. The resulting TV show presents the answer to the chilling question “What would happen if all electrical power ceased to work?”

Also playing the “What if?” game is the show’s production design team, creating a new landscape that manages to be both futuristic, speculative fiction and period drama. In a piece originally published after the show’s debut, we find out how they did it.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

It’s a world that is both eerily post-apocalyptic and “sometimes bizarrely beautiful,” said Zack Grobler, who oversaw the production design of the show’s pilot.

Current production designer Doug Meerdink said he was drawn to the project for “the challenge and the excitement of being able to build a world, one that’s somewhat familiar to the audience but also one that deviates from our normal lives.”

Meerdink had worked on projects with apocalyptic characteristics before, like War of the Worlds and Abrams-produced Cloverfield, but the post-apocalyptic world of Revolution was new territory for him because “it wasn’t an annihilation or destruction of the world,” Meerdink explained. “It was sort of a soft re-correction…. It’s as if nature’s reclaiming society to some degree.”

Read on to learn about the designing and the making of specific sets and props on Revolution, from Miles’ broadsword to an action sequence-spurring steam train to the all-important pendants.

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