Tuesday, November 03, 2009

'V' review - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review ABC's remake of "V," which debuts tonight. Didn't love the pilot, but didn't hate it, either. Will give it a few weeks (at least through the end of its November run, before ABC pulls it off the air until March) to win me over. Don't think I'll be doing a separate blog post tonight, so feel free to discuss it here.

UPDATE: Bumping this up so those who watched can talk about it here.

69 comments:

Shopshopshop said...

I think Baccarin also deserves some geek cred for being on Stargate SG-1.

JustJoan said...

Alan, cut to the chase. Were any gerbils harmed in the airing of this pilot?

Henry said...

I had mixed feelings about the pilot as well when I saw it at Comic-Con. I had no prior knowledge of the miniseries so I was going in with a fresh take on things. I will cop to being vividly shocked at one particularly icky moment (when it's revealed what the V's look like), but aside from that, the characters written in the pilot didn't really bring me into their world. I guess that takes time, but it seems limited with the four episodes airing this month and then the series won't be seen until March? If it builds any momentum, they will lose the audience by March. Why not air it against the Winter Olympics. Not all of us like sports... there has to be some alternative.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You know my No Spoiler policy, JustJoan.

All I'll say is that if they don't try to recreate the gerbil moment, in the pilot or elsewhere, they've made a serious miscalculation.

JustJoan said...

Mea culpa, Alan. It's just that it is the question that has been haunting me ever since the announcement. I claim irresistible impulse, but will now go stand in the corner.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Henry, so you were shocked even though the guy had explained what the V's really look like a few minutes before? Interesting.

Byron Hauck said...

Just based on the 10 minutes on Hulu, we're looking at bad actors (Ms. Mitchell excepted) playing very flat characters. And Ms. Mitchell seems to be stuck with the worst character of all, just a screeching mom. At least they found a way to turn Ms. Baccarin's complete inability to deliver dialogue like a human being into an asset.

Henry said...

I may have missed that part. LOL. I guess that means I may have to tune in to tonight's airing. To be fair, it was Preview Night at Comic-Con and I was coming off work and I think I was just going along with the audience and expressed audible shock at how the V's looked. I'm gonna have to listen for the explanation.

I'd prefer the V's look more like Laura Vandervoort or Morena Baccarin than their true colors, but that's just me!

Anna said...

Ms. Mitchell excepted

Thank you. Love her. But, oh no, I predict I'm going to be very disappointed by this pilot now.

gina said...

Alan and JustJoan, that was the part that I remember the most vividly from the original series! lol I will be so disappointed if they don't recreate it for the new show.

I'm looking forward to tonight. I've been massively disappointed by the mess that is FlashForward, BSG is long gone and LOST will end soon. I've gotta have hope that V will somehow fill that quality sci-fi void for me.

*folds hands in prayer*...Just be better than FlashForward, please. That's not too much to ask, is it? (no, it isn't)

Anonymous said...

I still find it strange that V is being remade. With this, and the Red Dawn remake in the works, I start to wonder what's going on in the collective unconsciousness.

Then I think about how Surface, Threshold, and Invasion all flamed out around the same time a few years ago, and just dismiss it as reading too much into things.

Anonymous said...

Heh... when Independence Day came out, I remember thinking, "Man, they copied the opening of V almost frame for frame." Now this show has to worry about (and explain) looking like the film that copied them. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be the "Vs" and not the "V's?"

theblackw0lf said...

So what's better (so far) the original, or the remake?

theblackw0lf said...

Also, any thoughts on Scott Rosenbaum (writer for "Chuck") becoming showrunner/executive producer?

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118010788.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Hatfield said...

I take umbrage with the notion that Baccarin can't act, and not just because she's gorgeous and therefore I feel strangely compelled to defend her. I just watched Serenity with my girlfriend last night, and though she's not in it as much as she was the show, she has some strong scenes.

Of course, I haven't seen V yet, so if that criticism was specific to this performance than I rescind my umbrage, I've had too much candy, and toodleoo!

Anonymous said...

Have to second the emotion of Anonymous 3:18. The "Independence Day" line was a dig at the movie ripping off the original V.

Anonymous said...

What actors do you find were bad? I mean a lot of the critics like Morena Baccarin

Anonymous said...

I had hopes, but that was crap. Didnt hold my interest. Are we giving up Juliet for this?

J said...

It's always nice to see a couple Firefly actors getting work.

I wish it was a lot smarter and made a bigger splash out of the gate; maybe once they get the old series/knockoff baggage out of the way they'll find some stories to tell. Playing to the paranoia set is good business, right now, even if that target demo is a little unnerving.

I didn't realize they were remaking Red Dawn, too. Yikes.

Bobman said...

I didn't think it was bad. For a pilot it covered a lot of ground. Certainly worth seeing where it goes.


Shouldn't it be the "Vs" and not the "V's?"

With acronyms, both the apostrophe and non-apostrophe constructs are used to denote plural; the apostrophe is preferred by quite a few people, myself included. While a single letter is tough to characterize as an acronym, it still seems like it would follow the same rules.

Jim said...

As was noted, I really hope they didn't kill off (?) Juliet so Elizabeth Mitchell could drag this carcass of a show around. It's sad that I feel compelled to give ABC credit for at least trying to make shows, unlike NBC, but this and Flash Forward are duds. Stop giving me 15 characters if they're all going to be cutouts and stereotypes. ... about the only thing they successfully copied from Lost was the most annoying part of that show -- its format of listing the actor credits atop the show, so folks like us, who know the actors by name, can figure out off the bat which characters will show up. (I have to block the opening Lost credits with my hand these days.) That really didn't help me maintain suspense tonight.

Hayley said...

omg I have not watched this yet. I mean, what can compare to 'true blood'?

ithor6 said...

I, for one, found it to be wonderful. Never saw the original and I am pumped to see what comes next. Best pilot of the season with the exception of Modern Family (and the two are so different it's hard to really compare).

When Alan Tudyk jumped on Elizabeth Mitchell I was shocked, and then the black guy revealed himself as a V, too, and was very intrigued by dissenting V's. I also loved the back and forth of Anna giving her interview about how great the V's and the V's coming is, juxtaposed with crazy guy telling it how it really is.

I don't really mind the casual reveal of the lizardness of the V's. There were only 2 things I knew about V, it was about aliens coming to Earth, and they are revealed to be lizard aliens (who eat hamsters). I think most people know the lizard thing already, no reason to hold it out.

All in all, I look forward to next week, especially since this is the first time in years I have zero shows on Tuesday.

Eugene Freedman said...

I was a huge fan of the original and V:The Final Battle. I've actually been wondering if Marc Singer or Michael Ironside would make cameo appearances. Singer would have been better as the priest. Old enough to be more credible.

I loved the sleeper cell angle. It paid good respect to "They Live" starring none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Without the electronic voice from the Original, maybe they'll find a box of Roddy's sunglasses to differentiate the Vs.

I was relatively pleased overall. It's got potential, even if it's just nostalgia potential.

Matt said...

It was an exceedingly proficient pilot (particularly the tech work,, which was pretty damn incredible), but it leaves me with the big question of sustainability. How long can they keep the story going--I see how it sustains itself for 13 episodes, but beyond that? It gets very tricky.

I'm also a bit uncomfortable with how the show is being "read" politically (as an anti-Obama tract), which I don't think was the intent of the folks behind the series, though I can see how it can be read in that way.

Tyroc said...

I agree, reading too much into the Obama analogy ("embrace change" "universal health care") is a bit much (especially as health care could've gone away by now as an issue) although I assume some of its there to spark conversations. I know this is a politics free zone, so won't go further into it, other than I think they sprinkled some in there to make it feel more contemporary and raise some fun discussions (a good thing in scifi, regardless of the politics of the creators.) I'll leave it to political blogs to comment further about that.

I thought it was pretty good if certainly not great. Weird not to have any reaction by the worlds' military (would the Chinese really allow a giant ship in their airspace? Would the USA after 9/11 not shoot down a giant ship over NYC?) Much like with "Flash Forward" when these big questions aren't addressed either until much later or at all, it seems very unrealistic.

Will there be rebels in other countries? Or only the ragtag group in Manhattan was wise enough to figure out what was going on? (Much like the ragtag group in L.A. on Flash Forward.) If this is the case, they should soon explain why.

I was nicely surprised by Juliette's potential romantic partner turning out to be a visitor. Nice twist at least.

rosseau said...

I don't see this as anti-Obama at all. Mitchell's last line about the V's best weapon was that they had "devotion" not hope. Universal health care is part of many industrialized democracies. Why not let Doctor Who be about Obama? And any allegory about the real world is done in by the clapping and cheering reaction nobody on THIS planet would have to aliens. What you could point to as relevant here is not a critique of this President, but of the last one. The Vs no critical questions policy was a mainstay of the Bush Administration's media policy. (Remember the fake journalist at the press conference and the rigged town halls?) Alan, sorry if I am breaking your no politics rule; it's kind of difficult with this show being read in this manner.

As for the show itself, a big "meh" from me. It was well done, I suppose, but nothing we haven't seen a million times before. But if they include a 12 minute fistfight scene between two guys, I just may watch.

Jim Treacher said...

How many minutes does it take to make an alien invasion boring? I, II, III, IV... V.

belinda said...

I've never seen the original (or anything else in any other medium, so I don't know anything about this story, but I found the premise interesting, the pilot was pretty exciting and surprisingly, I did like this better than the FF pilot (if we're comparing new scifi-ish shows).

Though, who knows, maybe after a few more episodes, I'd feel the same way about V as I do about FF now (not that it's bad, but it's very uneven - some good bits here and there with more majorly bad/dull ones). I sure hope this will fare better, because as with FF, I also like this cast very much and how nice to see Wash, Inara, and Juliet getting some (longer term) work.

Sperber said...

So the Space Pope is reptilian, eh? Because, otherwise... man, those wacky Catholics, always the first to jump on any bandwagon. Oh, and Father Gretsch seems to be woefully unaware that his church has spent a couple of centuries contemplating the integration of potential extra-terrestrial life into their faith. I guess when you have a priest shortage, you can't afford to be picky about your applicants.

"In the pilot's most awkward moment, [Peters] reveals what the V's really look like — perhaps the most memorable thing about the old show — in an offhand piece of dialogue by a minor character, rather than letting the audience witness it first."

That was actually one of the few bits I really liked. Most of the audience, even if they'd never seen the original miniseries, probably knew about the lizardy appearance of the Visitors. By telling us about it offhand and then combining the reveal of the lizard skin with the reveal that Alan Tudyk is a lizard, they managed to get at least some surprise out of what almost everyone knew was coming; sort of how Nicholas Meyer had Spock's fake death at the beginning of "Wrath of Khan" to put the audience at ease.

Apart from that... well, the spaceship porn was hot. Morena Baccarin was hot, too. But the characters were all cardboard cutouts, the dialogue was too on the nose, and they not only rushed through the initial reactions to the Visitor's arrival to get to the standard resistance plot, but then they also rushed through the standard resistance plot by giving Father Gretsch the plot-convenient evidence. Meh.

By the way, am I the only one who was confused about that underground leader guy? For me, when about-to-be-engaged-Visitor showed off his reptilian skin, the big reveal was that the other guy wasn't an alien himself. When about-to-be-engaged-guy began getting phone calls, I just assumed they were both Visitors.

Robin said...

I liked it. I didn't LOVE it, but it was a solidly entertaining hour of sci-fi TV. I agree with a previous commenter about the lizard reveal. I would say most people who watched the show already knew what the Vs really look like and I was happy the reveal was more "shocking."

One thing I will try to keep in mind going forward is that I need to avoid the previews at the end of the show. Stupid promo monkeys.

Tracey said...

Is it just me, or did this pilot feel like a 2-hour episode trimmed down to 1? There seem to be so many things missing here -- not plotholes, but just gaps in the storyline where basic things seem to have been skipped. I find myself wondering if there has been a fundamental cultural shift in storytelling for the ADD-Twitter age: don't bog me down in plotline or characterization, just show me the cool stuff, preferably in 140 bytes or less because that's all I can pay attention to. The pilot plunked us into the middle of the storyline (anti-alien groups already exist, etc.) without even a tip of the hat to backstory. Maybe they'll explain some of that later, if they can make a cool scene out of it.

The original V miniseries was rebroadcast on SyFy over the weekend, and though the effects and situations are dated, the essential message is not. The original was about how easily our society could get sucked into fascism, how easily we can give up our fundamental liberties when we get a pretty message from a pretty messenger fed to us by a compliant media -- and I'm sure both sides of the political spectrum will see the other side as the fascists of today, but that just shows how relevant the message still is. I'm not seeing any of that here.

FYI: In the original series, the "V" spraypainting was anti-Visitor statement, which makes me wonder if the people who developed this understood the original at all. Kenneth Johnson's name is in the credits, but I don't know how much he was involved.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

The original V miniseries was rebroadcast on SyFy over the weekend, and though the effects and situations are dated, the essential message is not. The original was about how easily our society could get sucked into fascism, how easily we can give up our fundamental liberties when we get a pretty message from a pretty messenger fed to us by a compliant media -

Hum... I watched the original mini-series a few weeks back and wished I hadn't. Seriously -- I'd forgotten quite how heavy-handed Kenneth Johnson was in drawing the analogy with the Nazis, and in the end I was quite sturprised to find it really got on my nerves.

Damien said...

I liked it overall, but they crammed in way too much into a single ep. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect that in the first ep they would discover what the visitors really were (reptilian), how long they've been on Earth, how they operate and what they planned to do. That should have been done over several episodes, at least. And if the 'resistance' already knew this for some time, wouldn't the information be common knowledge via the internet and conspiracy theory wacko sites? So that when they finally did reveal themselves, people would say 'hey, maybe there is something to those conspiracy theories'.

I liked the big, BIG screen effect on the underside of the saucer. :) And I still can't get over how much the reporter (Decker) looks like Michael J. Fox!

May said...

The only thing that impacted me in any way about this show came during the fight scene. I literally yelled, "Why does it always end with a piece of rebar through Alan Tudyk's chest?!?!"

Q Ball said...

I'm glad my expectations were lowered because I actually enjoyed the pilot. I imagine the Elizabeth Mitchell/son plot will start to get on my nerves soon, but so far it seems like V is going to be a much stronger show than Flash Forward (which I've already given up on).

RachelP said...

I liked this show better when it was about Nazis.

Zodin2008 said...

I liked the pilot overall, a mild thumbs up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Elizabeth Mitchell and as the star of the show, she's a big reason for me to invest.

My biggest complaint about the pilot was not about the actors (with the exception of one - I can't stand Scott Wolf...what a cheesy little bad actor he is...definite weak link and not remotely credible as some "ace" reporter) but its length.

That absolutely should have been a 2 Hour pilot. It was compressed into one hour so we get these immediate reveals about which two characters are the secret aliens (and which one is good and which is one bad) and that all happened WAY too quickly.

Also, completely unexplained was the past relationship with Morris Chestnut and the rebel leader guy? Just felt so, so random because there was no past history...the show literally jumps into quick cuts of the major players and boom, ships hovering over the major cities, and it felt rushed.

I think the story arc with Mitchell's teen son is going to get annoying and I can already tell the kid is going to be the Sookie Stackhouse of this show - the idiot character who keeps doing stupid things every week and getting everyone into hot water. Admittedly, if you are a 17 year boy and someone who looks like Laura Vandevoort wants you to hang out, it is believable you'd be seduced by that.

dez said...

I literally yelled, "Why does it always end with a piece of rebar through Alan Tudyk's chest?!?!"


I think Joss snuck in and added that to the script ;-)

My opinion of the ep is colored by the fact that I received some very bad news about a friend right in the middle of it, so I'm giving it another view next week. Plus, like another poster above, I don't watch anything on Tuesdays (save SOA, which I have to watch later in the week because of my work schedule).

Nicole said...

I was about 7 when the first show aired and I was seriously freaked out by the gerbil eating scene. It creeps me out to this day. Having then watched it again a few years ago, I was still creeped out, not by the cheesy 80s effects but by how easily people bought what the Visitors were selling. It can happen anywhere at anytime.

This version is missing something that I can't pinpoint just yet. Baccarin is suitably creepy, but the non Visitor parts bore me. And spray painting the V is a sign of support for the resistance not the supporters of the Visitors, so the idiots who let that fly really don't get what this is about.

The universal health care line also seemed silly because the rest of the industrialized world has already had it for decades, without lizards having taken over, and so applying a particularly American issue to a group that wants worldwide domination was lazy on the part of the writers.

Jape77 said...

The "Independence Day" line was a dig at the movie ripping off the original V.


Which itself was taken almost directly from Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" ...

I actually found myself enjoying this new version of V. It's not like the original was a classic anyway (in fact, all I can remember about it is how much we ended up mocking it in my college dorm ... oh yeah, and the guinea pig-eating scene. That was cool...)

The new twist with the Vs already here, and a resistance already underway was also nice. Sure, it "gave away" the alien's secret in an off-hand way, but really -- this is a remake; even if you hadn't seen the original the audience is aware of the Vs true form (in a pop culture subconscious way)

Bobman said...

The universal health care line also seemed silly because the rest of the industrialized world has already had it for decades, without lizards having taken over, and so applying a particularly American issue to a group that wants worldwide domination was lazy on the part of the writers.

They were talking to an American reporter, so it seems reasonable to me that the American would say that.

And just because other countries (hardly "the rest of the industrialized world" by any stretch) already have some form of universal health care doesn't mean they don't have problems with healthcare that might be helped along by the V's. Besides, I think it gives a new funny twist on the word "universal."

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

The universal health care line also seemed silly because the rest of the industrialized world has already had it for decades, without lizards having taken over, and so applying a particularly American issue to a group that wants worldwide domination was lazy on the part of the writers.

Nicole: I don't want to derail this thread into some RW political bun-fight, but if you think access to affordable healthcare is a dead issue outside America, well... I've got the London Bridge to sell you. :)

Rather than seeing some nefarious partisan agenda, I actually thought the Visitors 2.0 were pretty damn smart. Who among us -- no matter where we are, or how we hang politically -- isn't affected in some way by diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and the list goes on and on?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, everybody, let's tread really, really lightly here. It's kind of hard to not talk politics a little, given some of the material in the pilot, and thus far you've all been well-behaved, but I know how fast this conversation can turn ugly.

RKS said...

I loved it. I never watched the original so maybe that's a good thing after having read some of the comments. All I know is, at one point, I looked up at the clock and it was 8:45. When that happens (the quick passage of time, not the mysterious time of 8:45), I know it worked for me.
I only hope the writers can keep up the pace from last night. (V=raptor, Flashforward=brontosaurus)

Of course,Elizabeth Mitchell is always wonderful to watch so I hope this show works out. Can't imagine who, in their right minds, thought showing four episodes then taking a nice long break would be a good idea.

I hadn't read any spoilers so I appreciated the twists involving Erica's partner and Ryan both working undercover. In fact, I found myself caring about most of the characters more than I thought I would (except for the son and his stereotypically obnoxious, overweight friend--overweight teens are rarely obnoxious, Hollywood).

My only real complaint? The idea of New Yorkers applauding the cause of a massive traffic jam. Never gonna happen.

Craig Ranapia said...

Alan:

Fair enough, and apologies if I was nuzzling up to the line. :) My point was that, seriously, I think a single throwaway line is going to go straight over the heads of most viewers outside the US, while the seductive power of the Visitor's offering miracle cures to diseases that affect millions of people all over the "developed world" has a universal resonance.

Because, really, I don't know if I'd ask too many questions if someone came to my house in a spaceship offering a cure for cancer -- a disease that's taken away too many members of my extended family. Hell yes -- take all the water you want. And if you want to eat my really annoying next door neighbours, far be it from me to stop you. :)

I think the story arc with Mitchell's teen son is going to get annoying and I can already tell the kid is going to be the Sookie Stackhouse of this show - the idiot character who keeps doing stupid things every week and getting everyone into hot water.

For the sake of narrative plausibility, how do you write a teenage boy who isn't irritating? :) And weren't you thinking about Jason Stackhouse -- and since this isn't HBO, we're not even going to have oodles of gratuitous male nudity to dull the pain.

Nicole said...

I don't think the V writers have a particular agenda, but my point was that viewers outside of the US are well aware of the health care debate occurring in the US, and so that line is jarring when comparing it to curing cancer.

Universal health care already exists whereas curing cancer is not yet possible so it was a silly thing to include. I had presumed that the interview with Anna was being broadcast worldwide, if only because if an alien did land on Earth and give an interview, it would be something done worldwide. Anna's message of saving the world in exchange for water wouldn't logically include something that already exists, even if it doesn't happen to include the US.

It's things like that, and not understanding the point of the V graffiti that have left me overall unimpressed with this remake.

fgmerchant said...

I hadn't seen the original (well before my time) so this show was completely new to me. The guy explained that they were reptilian, but it seemed just like crazy talk. I didn't believe him for one second so it was a complete surprise when it turned out to be true!

The episode felt a bit rushed, like it should have been longer, but it still worked for me. I will definitely be revisiting this show next week!

I'm curious about how long they have really been on earth, since I can't imagine those ships being built on earth in secret.

One of the biggest shocks was Ryan being a V! Thinking of that moment brings up questions about how many others know about the true nature of the V's and how long a resistance has been occurring!

P.S. The comments have spoiled that they are going to eat something! That would have been a great scene if they revisit it.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

The episode felt a bit rushed, like it should have been longer, but it still worked for me.

I agree with you, but I'm wondering how much of that was a sense that the network would freak if they delivered a pilot with lots of plot threads up in the air or ending on a cliff-hanger?

I love heavily "serialised" shows like Lost and BSG where you've got to invest the time and effort into the story arcs and overall mythology. I also have a pretty high tolerance for ambiguity and loose ends (as long as they don't stay that way forever).

But I totally get why networks and even many viewers feel differently. After all, you commission any show then you're taking a very expensive gamble -- and will come up snake eyes more often than not. Frustrating as it is, I get why "suits" get nervous around anything they think might be complex, or controversial enough to alienate potential viewers. It's much easier to say "bring me something like X. -- which was a big hit last year" than say "OK, let's do something challenging and see if we can build an audience for it."

Dennis said...

I like the premise and the special effects were OK and we know it's allegorical and that could lead to some great storytelling.

I'll stick around for awhile but some of the dialogue in the debut was weak-bordering-on-laughable.

Henry said...

Alan, totally off-subject here, but are you planning on reviewing Battlestar Galactica: The Plan since it's out on DVD?

cgeye said...

I've held my tongue, but I've got to throw down about the huge holes in logic and worldbuilding that could have been cheaply fixed in the script.

First, the guy in the wheelchair, so destitute his daytime job's going to church. OK. How does such a man get photographs of all the cell members of the local V splinter group? *Why* does he have them?

And why the frak does he have them after going to the Visitor healthcare center, to get wounded instead of cured? Did his iPhone have on his calendar "9:00 go to church; 10:30 ponder my doubts about the Visitors 12ish: Join the Resistance, get photos; 3:45: Learn that miracle cure, wasn't?" Really? That's not a character; that's a plot device put to too much use.

Also, why the frak does he have *black and white photographs*? Not B&W prints off a computer but old skool prints on photographic paper? How would he get such prints -- why would they avoid digital cameras and media?
Wouldn't the use of traditional photo equipment be as blatant a sign of resistance activity as getting that stupid bone-deep scar in a place visible by just about anyone? (Don't get me started on using a detection method that's more dangerous and blatant than merely sticking a sterile needle deep into the muscle tissue near bone, then see if green blood comes out.)

And did I see any guns in that group, should a Visitor be detected? Did they have any defense at the ready, so that massacre would have been less one-sided? And since when do Visitor infantry goons consider knifework more efficient than guns? Guns could signify a drug deal gone wrong, with enough powder thrown about. If the Visitors could get away with all that gutting, then it's true kids: Aliens run the CSI labs. Eew.

Anonymous said...

Weird not to have any reaction by the worlds' military (would the Chinese really allow a giant ship in their airspace? Would the USA after 9/11 not shoot down a giant ship over NYC?)

It wasn't a question of "allow" - it's a question of ability. Or didn't you see the F-16 falling from the sky that almost hit poor Ryan upon the arrival of Anna's ship in NYC?

Michael said...

Excuse my spelling, i am german.

I was disapointed by this first episode.

I loved the original TV-Mini, even have it on DVD. Nice Story, trashy old school Sci-Fi, just loads of fun fun fun.

I get the idea that they are aproaching a more current topic with terrorisem instead of Nazi Germany... but i felt that they paced it way to fast... the old mini did not give it all away at first sight... in this new version we prittymuch knew right away that the visetors are evil, that there are rebelions among the humans and traitors among the aliens.

I hope that they gave all of this away so fast to make it less of a remake and more of a sequell to the original series.... sort of getting people that have not seen the original show up to date and move on to new things. But somehow i doubt that.

fgmerchant said...

@cgeye, wow. OK one at a time:

1. The guy in the wheel chair was not the guy with the photographs.

2. You can print from a digital photograph onto photo paper. It is extremely common, they do it at any photo-processing place.

3. They did have guns. Did you really not see the guys with the big machine guns at the entrance?

4. Rewatch it! Seriously! It sounds like you missed A LOT.

cgeye said...

1) There was a guy in a wheelchair, Roy. He told the priest he was going to be healed at a V clinic. He comes back, walking. Then later he says he's been betrayed, shot, bleeding from his gut, and hands the bloody pack of pictures to the priest.

2) Being able to print photos from digital media doesn't explain why they're in B&W, since you have to *change what the camera sees to take out the color*. That's a silly stylistic choice, since it takes away information from the photo.

3) Having machine guns at the door's no damn good when V commandos kill the guards before they even react. If this militia's so hardcore, everyone who could carry a gun should have one -- especially if an infiltrator starts attacking through means not detectable in a front-door search? That's still illogical, and if you don't think so, watch the original miniseries where Marc Singer's character tries to leave the cell's hiding place -- and gets everyone's gun pointed at his face.

4) If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I'm not wasting time watching it again. If a show's sloppy in the pilot, the most expensive episode it will shoot, it's going to go uphill in quality? Really?

Greg said...

Say, did someone say this is repeating? I'm curious enough to watch if I can see the pilot.

Oh, and can we get some love for "Earth: Final Conflict"? Similar ideas - aliens posing as helpful while having hidden agendas, factional infighting, etc., but not so heavy-handed on themes.

Madame George said...

I was about to (carefully) ask if anyone thought the chatter elsewhere about politics was overdone. It was answered for me, and it seems others see it as I do.

I think some reviewers get lazy and run with a reference without thinking it, through.

I thought it was rushed, also and not really as much fun as I remember the original being.

ELizabeth Mitchell is excellent without even saying a word. The rest? For me, not so great, so far.

Daniel Thorpe said...

If V is working on an allegorical level, then it seems to be more about the dangers of blind devotion and falling for charismatic leaders (as made explicit in the final scene) than anything so specific as the Obama administration. I actually thought something interesting might be starting when the rumble from the arriving ships tipped over the plaster Jesus - almost killing the old codger in the church. However, the square-jawed young priest turns into one of the heroes of the resistance so I'm afraid V won't be about the the dangers of blind faith so much as the importance of choosing the correct blind faith (earthly religion, NOT lizard-like aliens).




Of course the real problem isn't that the philosophy is uninteresting, but that the surface story (which has to carry the freight of any such allegory) is so boring. We know pretty much from the beginning that the aliens are peaceful, yet the first ten minutes (it seemed like more) is wasted watching generic crowd scenes of our characters shrieking and wailing for their loved ones. And what a waste of the terrific Elizabeth Mitchell - reduced here to a standard issue strident Mom. In the whole pilot not one character says a single interesting line (indeed, any line that isn't exposition), shows any sign of a sense of humour, or gives any reason for me to want to spend more time in their company...

Charles King said...

SO many missed opportunities in this show, so many...

For starters, has Scott Peters never heard of spin? Does he really think any shrewd, manipulating politician would be as tactless as Anna at the interview? It looks like he was in a mad rush to cut to the chase here and ram home the point that these aliens are actually baddies. Maybe he just thinks that the series is aimed at 10yr old and any attempt to sow doubt before the reveal would confuse a brain-numbed public.

Very disappointing, and it looks like the series is going to be a set of straight us-v-them knockabouts.

legion said...

Alan, I must call you to task on one of your inflammatory statements, that the mini-series is dead. What about Torchwood Children of Earth, it definitely had mass-appeal? Okay, admittedly that's from the UK, where different rules apply, and most other examples I can think of are from HBO (Generation Kill or Band of Brothers). I realize you might be targeting your print reviews to US residents, but still.. the mini-series is most certainly not dead.. just exiled from US networks.

Oh, and enough nitpicking on my part. I completely agree with you comparison to flashforward. the whole "V" pilot I kept thinking how much better they captured the world wide nature and hinting at the potential ramifications then did FlashForward.

Greg said...

Watched it on Hulu today. Ugh, Mitchell is wasted on this material. So is/was Tudyk. Not only was the political allegory heavy-handed, the actions of both people and Vs didn't feel realistic.

If an alien race wanted to portray itself as peaceful (truthfully or not) they'd announce their arrival from a considerable distance, rather than appear at skyscraper level over the earth's largest cities.

And people would be way more skeptical - gratefully accepting medical cures is one thing, but we are way too paranoid to fall on our knees and worship. It's like nobody in government has seen or read any first contact fiction, or read the contingency scenarios already on file...

Perez Solomon said...

My review on "V" - it def sucks but now im sucked in. Just like "lost" and "24"

http://perezsolomon.com/?p=1392

Anonymous said...

Very helpful comments here. Not sure how I feel about V yet. But all I know is that I left the room to get a drink, and when I came back it seemed like 3 years had gone by already, and that guy is giving a 15 minute monologue of the history of the Vs on earth, in the warehouse. Guess I missed something!

The kid really bugs me, he's just too dang rebellious for the sake of rebellion. But there was the same kind of young guy who got seduced by the Vs in the original series though.

I agree, the long break is very troublesome, and sure to spell doom.

Sperber said...

But there was the same kind of young guy who got seduced by the Vs in the original series though.

True, but in the original series he ended up getting eaten by the Vs. I don't think there's much hope of that here.

Oh, and reading the comments here about the healthcare "controversy" I really wish they'd spend more time outside the US, or in fact, any industrial nation. If you're living in, say, Rwanda the off-chance of eventually maybe getting eaten by lizards might seem like a fair risk in exchange for getting healthcare now.