Five reasons V didn't work for me
by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 8th 2009 2:02PM
You probably heard that ABC's V premiere got off to a big start in the ratings. In fact, it was the biggest drama series premiere of the season, seen by 14.3 million viewers and netting a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49. What does all that mean? To me, it says that even without the skywriting promotion that was canned, ABC marketing had raised awareness and drew the curious, the sci-fi fans, the nostalgic and a few more watchers for the launch.
Despite the big number, there's a good chance that V will sink in future outings because viewers like me were not hooked. I wanted to fall in like/love, but it didn't happen. Here's five reasons why:
Did I expect too much from a remake of V? I did. I remember the original and it was a dazzling mini-series. For its time, it had great effects and it looked amazing. But more than that, I was captivated by the story. I still remember the feelings I got watching it, which were a mix of wonder and fear and shock. Sadly, I didn't feel any of that with the new V. I was unmoved.
2. Too many characters
The scope of V is big enough with the aliens -- oops, visitors -- and the whole world in rapt attention. The show didn't need a dozen characters right from the start. I felt like I was in a pinball machine going from one character to the other, never staying long enough to get involved. Why was Elizabeth Mitchell's son a problem case? What made Morris Chestnut's character feels so apprehensive about proposing? Was the priest really supposed to be the main man in this? We got some answers after an hour, but I thought less would have been more for the pilot.
Oh, yes, I know all about V. That's not what I mean by familiarity. I'm talking about the big, special effects, shock opening. We've seen it too often. V jokingly had a character say that the ships arriving was like Independence Day. It was. Other images were like FlashForward and Lost. It's becoming a cliche to have a big splashy first act like this.
4. The unknown
V suffers in that it's a remake and the mystery is gone. I know that the visitors are aliens, and they weren't so different in the ABC remake that I'm sucked in by the peaceful front. In the original, you didn't know that they were lizards. In the original, that girl giving birth to the alien's baby and it sticking out its lizard tongue was a shocker. It creeped me out for years! If the new V does that with Morris Chestnut's girlfriend, only newbies will get the creeps.
5. The future
Ultimately, did I like V enough to stick with it? I don't know. Maybe I'll DVR the next episode and see if I was too hard on the pilot. Maybe it's going to progressively get better and better. That would be nice. But right now, I don't care about any of the characters. Not even Scott Wolf, whom I loved since Party of Five. I want to care about sleeper cells of infiltrating alien terrorists, but even that was too real for me. Jason liked it, but I preferred the World War II allusions from the original more.