"V: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Elizabeth Mitchell as ERICA EVANS
Morris Chestnut as RYAN NICHOLS
Joel Gretsch as FATHER JACK LANDRY
Charles Mesure as KYLE HOBBES
Logan Huffman as TYLER EVANS
Lourdes Benedicto as VALERIE STEVENS
Laura Vanderrvoort as LISA
Morena Baccarin as ANNA
Scott Wolf as CHAD DECKER
Studio: Warner Bros.
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Based on Kenny Johnson’s groundbreaking sci-fi mini-series from the 1980s, “V” is a story about alien invasion that comes with a friendly face. When massive alien ships appear over the major cities around the world, people worry an intergalactic war is about to break out. However, the Visitors announce themselves, looking perfectly human. They promise to solve many of our problems – from health care to starvation. However, a few people are suspicious and begin their own investigation of the Visitors. Soon, they discover that not only are the Visitor’s intentions not all that benevolent, but they’ve been here for a long, long time.
WHAT I LIKED
I remember watching the original “V” mini-series when I was in fifth grade, and it was a brilliant thing. As a self-proclaimed “Star Wars” baby, this showed Hollywood getting into the science fiction realm with full force. While it was not “Star Wars,” the two “V” mini-series were a lot of fun and also introduced a malevolent element that really clicked with me. Additionally, looking back on those mini-series (or at least the first one), it was a not-terribly-subtle but well directed allegory to the events surrounding the Nazi threat.
I give a certain amount of respect to this new version of “V” in that it tries to juggle the social issues of the day within the science fiction genre. On the whole, I like many of the actors, including Elizabeth Mitchell (fresh off her “Lost” run) and Alan Tudyk, so it’s great to see these television actors that I’ve enjoyed over the years get some work. Same goes for Morena Baccarin of “Stargate” and “Firefly” fame, who might look a bit goofy with the pixie hair-cut but is nonetheless fun to watch.
I can’t say that I’m a fan of the show, but I have hope. I hope this series can find its footing in the second season, tackling some less cliche plot points and improving its effects. “V” exists in such a beloved way in my pop culture experience that it’d be a shame to see it fade away into mediocrity like the eventual television series that followed the generally enjoyable mini-series.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This was not my favorite television series of the 2009/2010 run by far. In fact, while I watched it, I was pretty critical of it. The writing – and particularly the dialogue – isn’t that great. The characters tend to be two-dimensional. The effects don’t quite hold up. And the big picture plotline has some real focus issues.
All of these complaints I have seem to stem from the fact that “V” is just a bit too ambitious for the budget and time frame it has. This doesn’t necessarily forgive the writing mishaps, which play to cliche all too often. But it does explain the effects side. Virtual sets are used for the Visitors’ ships, and it plays as a virtual set every single time. It’s ambitious for television, but considering how cinematic TV shows have gotten over the years, it doesn’t play much better than the original effects from the old mini-series.
I like the concept of “V.” I really like the concept of “V.” But the show seems to be stuck in a TV mindset. It makes sense because it’s on TV, but it just isn’t thinking outside of the box like so many other series – like “Lost,” “24” and “Battlestar Galactica” – have in recent years.
Oh, and Scott Wolf. ‘Cause I just don’t buy him as the young (and short) Walter Cronkite of the modern age.
The two-disc Blu-ray includes deleted scenes (dubbed “Detached Memories” on the discs) as well as a commentary on one of the episodes. Disc 1 includes the featurette “The Actor’s Journey from Human to V,” which includes the cast and crew giving their thoughts on bringing the classic tale back to the small screen.
Disc 2 includes three featurettes, including “Breaking Story: The World of V” which examines how they developed the new background of the story, “An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V” which is a needlessly self-congratulatory look at the new effect which dump a little too much on the old series’ effects and “The Visual Effects of V” which examines the digital world of the show.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like sci-fi television to the point they’ll forgive some major problems.