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September 30, 2014

Review: V - Pilot (series premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 4th 2009 1:30AM
V
(S01E01)
We were promised a modern re-imagining of the classic '80s V mini-series, and that's exactly what we got. Gone were the allusions to World War II Nazism and the treatment of Jews in Europe. Instead, we're offered allusions to the war we've been fighting for eight years now.

I wasn't sure how they could modify the storylines from the series I remembered to accurately find parallels to our war on terrorism, and the terrorist movements themselves, but they did. And they did it all while staying true to the struggles and fears that's kept the original series fresh in our minds for 26 years now.

Even better, I watched this with my 10-year old son who's never seen the original, and he was absolutely riveted. Everything I loved about V back then is here, and there's so much more to get excited about. I always thought V should be an ongoing series, and even though we eventually got one, I think this time they've finally got it right.

I'm very interested to see how they hook us for the long wait until the continuation of the season. V, circa 1983, was a four-hour mini-series that ended on a cliffhanger and led to the continuation of the series in another six-hour blast the following year. And here we go again.

We'll get four hours through November, and then the series will disappear until March of next year. That's a long time for fans to wait, so it's incredibly important that they hook us good to lure us back. I'm very worried about the series' future because of this strange scheduling strategy. Partially, because this pilot was so damned good I want this Resistance to fight on for several years.

I'll admit, in the beginning when Elizabeth Mitchell's FBI character Erica Evans was tracking down a terrorist sleeper cell, I made no connections between that and the arrival of the Visitors. I just thought it was a way the writers were showing us that this is happening in the real world. What they did, instead, is show us that the Visitors are coming at us just like terrorists would.

They have sleeper cells and agents already amongst us, in disguise, awaiting the next phase of their operation. This part seemed like a pretty heavy nod to the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica, with sleeper agent Cylons infiltrating the human colonies to lay the groundwork for the ultimate siege.

It succeeded in adding a whole new layer of malice to the Visitors. The big reveal that Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) is himself a Visitor was huge. Even Erica's friend and confidante at the bureau, the always delightful Alan Tudyk, is an alien in disguise. Which has me wondering just how widespread this infiltration is? Is it as bad as the Skrull infestation of the Marvel Universe a few years back? Did that question just mark me as a huge nerd?

It's great, though, that the war will be much more challenging. The Visitors now look and sound like us -- they had different voices in the original mini-series -- which means it'll be harder to know who you can trust and who you can't. And what about those aliens who have betrayed their original mission? Surely the Visitors will have something to do about that. And they're a lot more mysterious. We've seen far fewer of them and very few from the ships have interacted with anyone other than Scott Wolf's reporter Chad Decker.

How about the effects of this? Obviously, we've come a long way in 26 years, but the ships are absolutely beautiful. I love how open and spacious they are, but we've still seen so little of them. We've also seen very little of the Visitors themselves. We got the classic skin rip revealing their reptilian skin underneath, but the human layer of flesh is much thicker than the original Visitors, making me think these newer aliens are much thinner and sleeker than their counterparts from the '80s ... again, like Battlestar Galactica.

But you know, a comparison to the new BSG is actually one of the highest honors I can bestow, as it was one of the single best science fiction narratives to hit the airwaves. Time will tell if the new V can achieve anything close to those heights, but I think it's off to a great start.

It's a very smart move to shape the war like our war on terror, as it makes the series more accessible perhaps to fans who might not be so inclined to watch a science fiction series. I can't wait to see how it does in the ratings for this premiere, but I'm even more excited to follow along and see what's in store for us the rest of this month.

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Wes

"WHAT IS THE MINERAL they so sorely need??????
Shouldn't somebody on Earth have asked that question?"

Must be part of that "great writing" a couple people in this thread want people to believe.

Don't criticize a show because "writers are intelligent" and "people on the show work hard" and "you don't understand how many people in the process say, 'Do it this way,' 'No, do it that way'? Come on.

It's a major-network show, based on a series from decades ago, (further proving that Hollywood only has 30 years worth of ideas), made by people supposedly at the top of the entertainment food chain and who make lots of money doing it, but we're not supposed to criticize? Pfft. You heard me. I say, "Pfft."

November 23 2009 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
V for Viktory

I am a huge fan of the original miniseries (lets face it it the 80s miniseries was sci-fi-Dynasty) and i do love that ABC has brought this back. I want to love this new series but i am really forcing myself.

I just wish that they slowed down the first episode. make some more drama on an ALIEN arrival to earth.. 29 ships thats a big deal and the show just skipped right over that. the 80s miniseries did that much much better.
and where are the awesome uniforms and the giant cataract sunglasses - its fine that they dont have distorted voices, but i think if you are going to build on the whole fascism thing, show us a great uniform for the Vs not some cheesy Love-Boat like jacket.

November 20 2009 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sir Yuck-Yuck

I prefer the spaceships and the shuttles from the original also miss the symbol that appeared on there suits and the cars they drove hell there own flag had the same symbol I am to much into and for the original

November 11 2009 at 2:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
guy

I was very disappointed in the series premiere. The human reaction to visitors from another world is completely laughable. They lost so much opportunity for build up. When the ships appear for the first time. The original did a much better job in this area.

Don't our politicians have any interest in speaking with the V's at all or would they allow them to open all these 'centers' so easily? It seems so unwell thought out, unresearched.

It is also so rushed. In one hour they show up. People are already 'devoted' to them. And the FBI agent is saying, "Definitely we have to build a resistance". I don't even get the real sense they really are aliens.

The 'main' reporter comment "Show some respect" comes off as a very juvenile and unsophisticated retort. It's something a Billy Bush from Access Hollywood would say versus a Ted Kopple type and the highly intelligent V is super impressed with him? I can't stop shaking my head. I just hope it gets better.

November 08 2009 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
max

As for continuity - how the guy in the wheelchair get up to the middle landing in front of the church? There isn't a wheelchair ramp and it happened before the Visitors arrive.
Too much information too soon. I'd much rather have the characters build before it turns into another truth vs evil fight show in the dark warehouse (ho hum).

November 05 2009 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A_K

I'm puzzled what type of operations system they use in tier killer-ball. Open source or closed source? ;)
http://v-series-abs.blogspot.com/2009/11/vs-weapons-and-computer-interface.html - screen

November 05 2009 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
itsy

WHAT IS THE MINERAL they so sorely need??????

Shouldn't somebody on Earth have asked that question? At least find out whether they're planning to commandeer all of something WE really need? Even if they think the Vs are ultimately kind, benevolent creatures and not life-sucking reptiles?

WHAT mineral, dammit????

November 04 2009 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to itsy's comment
j0phus

I thought that was very odd too. Just the way it sounds. They mention water specifically. I hope it isn't something super cheesy. Do they require the carbon and calcium from our bodies?

November 05 2009 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim McCleese

Jophus:

Thank you.

Underneath the "New Users" boxes where you type your name and e-mail put a checkmark in the "remember me" boxes and TV Squad will e-mail responses to your posts. I have noticed other (new) posters uncomfortable with the posting system here, but Jophus, once you get used to it, it is quite easy and friendly.

I will look forward to reading your posts.

November 04 2009 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim McCleese's comment
j0phus

I have those selected, but I didn't even get this response. I came back on to see if anyone responded to any of the 20 long winded responses I've left. This is why I left this site a long time ago. The thing is I really like the "Lost" commentary and comments that is done here, and I thought I would come back and share my thoughts about the adam and eve scene with the apple on here. So much has changed here, except for the comment system.

I don't even see a sign-up button for the "current users."

November 04 2009 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim McCleese

I have been anticipating and eagarly awaiting the airing of "V" for a long time. Now, finally seeing the new version of a show I loved in the eighties, I think I am a bit underwhelmed in the early goings. It's not that I did not like or appreciate the show (it was entertaining), Its just that I don't have that MUST WATCH intensity that I have had with certain other shows.

I think I was expecting the opening to be a two-hour pilot. That and the whole installment seemed a little rushed to me. In the initial hour we have the coming of the visitors, the mass worship by the people, the formation of a resistance movement, the revelation of rebel visitors, and of course the tired subplot of the single parent and recalcitrant child (which by the way shares the name of my son....Tyler).

I was relieved when the terrorist investigation was tied into the visitors schemes. I was getting annoyed that this subplot was butting in to the "V" storyline. I should have seen that coming I suppose. Also, it was pleasing to see the attractive women in the show. Anna is so very kind to the eyes, and I give high marks to the overall acting and fine special effects.

I am going to read the reviews here to see what everyone else thought (I just got in). As for me, I like it overall and I think it will be a good show. It won't be a show that I will count the days to when it airs again. It is not a show that will elicit the heights of emotion and passion from me. It is not a show that I will laugh and cry and hope with. But I will watch it.

November 04 2009 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim McCleese's comment
j0phus

Tim-1:

If you are looking to have a discussion, as I am, please stick around for a bit. I have to shower. I only say this because this comment system kind of blows. I agree with a lot of what you've said and you seem like a really intelligent person. I'll leave a more detailed response in about 40 minutes.

Responses are not being emailed to me. How do you get it to do that?

November 04 2009 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cress d

Damn, dude. Very nice comments. I've got nothing next to you.

November 04 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cress d's comment
j0phus

Cress were you talking to me? I don't really understand this comment system. If you were, thank you. I really appreciate your comments too.

I want to pick these people up and shake them. Can they even conceive how hard it is to write the first words of alien contact? If we were them we would have a team of people working months to originate a script, then another few months for analysts to study every little comma, then even more months rehearsing the transmission.

Do the commenters who bash the writing have any experience in getting a story line so rich and grand down to 42 minutes? Do they understand that there are producers, advertisers, marketing departments, focus groups, directors, actors, and hundreds of people trying to put their own twist on the story? How many times do you think someone said, 'no it should be like this' or 'this is all wrong' or 'you need to do it this way or you're going to lose funding'

Just like getting a new job, this show needs to establish its pace and routine. With the internet and everyone being a critic, without understanding the process, productions like this are being wiped out.

When your child is learning to write and he transposes a few letters in the alphabet, do you chuck him in the bin? No you are patient and let him work it out. It is a mastery process.

November 04 2009 at 6:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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