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September 1, 2014

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: 'V' Stars and Producer Dish on Season 2, Wild Stunts and the Controversial Finale

by Maureen Ryan, posted Feb 8th 2011 1:50PM
When 'V' returns from a short break 9PM ET Tuesday, expect a lot of intrigue between alien leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) and FBI agent Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) at a swanky party. The two women will finally meet again in Tuesday's episode of the ABC show, and according to executive producer Steve Pearlman and stars Baccarin and Laura Vandervoort, there are many more twists to come before 'V' finishes its second season March 15.

But before we get to the scoop on what's coming in the remainder of the season, one question has to be asked: Is it fair for the sci-fi drama to leave its viewers on a cliffhanger at the end of season 2, given that the show's return is not a sure thing?

"There are a number of different cliffhangers that I think fans will enjoy and there are some holy-[crap] moments that I think they won't have expected," Pearlman said of the season 2 finale. Some stories will be resolved, but he and the show's other producers also want to leave fans "in a place of wanting more," he added.

"Will [fans] be pissed if there's no third season? I think fans of show are going to be pissed there's no third season under any circumstances," Pearlman said.

I've got much more 'V' intel below, but before we get to that, check out an exclusive clip from the show's Feb. 22 episode. It's one of the most elaborate, complicated stunts 'V' has ever done, and it involved the production taking over two floors of a Vancouver hotel for two days.

[Spoilers ahoy.]

In the Feb. 22 episode, Erica travels to Hong Kong to carry out a Fifth Column mission against the Vs. She and Hobbes (Charles Mesure) track down a woman who turns out to be a V, but as they pursue her through a tall building, she runs out on to a balcony and flings herself off.

But she never hits the ground. Watch the clip to find out why.


As viewers saw last season, the Vs have their own version of a poison pill. When they take it, they catch fire and their entire bodies are destroyed; that way, V operatives don't leave any scaly lizard remains for the authorities to find.

The balcony stunt, which producers had wanted to try for some time, involved lots of logistical issues, safety measures and special effects, Pearlman said.

"Even finding a building tall enough that would let us shoot" was difficult, he noted. Once the production got permission from the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, there were still challenges for the show's team.

"We needed to figure out a way to get a camera close to her so that we could record this visual effect as it was happening," Pearlman said.

In the end, the production hired a crane that held not only the stuntwoman but the episode's director, David Barrett, who filmed the woman as she was falling. After the balcony scene was shot 27 times, it was time for the post-production and special-effects teams to take over. They added the immolation sequence, removed wires, balanced the lighting and made the city in the background look like Hong Kong.

It was a challenge, but "we had always wanted to do a scene where someone jumps off a balcony and you expect to see a body and then you don't," Pearlman said.

Before Erica gets to Hong Kong, other adventures await the 'V' characters. Tuesday's episode finds adversaries Erica and Anna at a gala the Vs throw to celebrate an urban renewal project. In the Feb. 15 episode, there's "a hostage crisis," Pearlman said. And for those who've been waiting for family reunion of the show's trio of queens -- Diana (original 'V' cast member Jane Badler), Anna and Lisa -- that is on the way as well.

But the Anna we're seeing this season is not the controlled woman we saw last year: She's far more prone to theatrical rage, in private anyway.

"I think we're amping up everything across the board, but Anna is definitely feeling more human emotion this season, so she's going further," Baccarin said at an ABC party in January.

So which kind of scene does the actress enjoy more, the restrained Anna or the "No More Wire Hangers!" Anna?

"I don't know, somewhere between punching my daughter in the face and eating my mate's head off," she said with a laugh. "Somewhere in there."

Speaking of one of Anna's informants, I put Pearlman on the spot regarding Ryan. The conflicted V is allegedly a member of Erica's Fifth Column cell but he is also feeding intelligence to Anna, who is holding his daughter hostage. I said that it seemed odd and not very believable that Erica and Hobbes and the rest of the Fifth Column would trust Ryan at this point.

"We totally agree with your criticism and by the middle of the season that will change," Pearlman said. In fact, later in the season, Ryan's Fifth Column friends will "shut him out completely."

Pearlman added that we'll meet more leaders of the Fifth Column as the season progresses, which is part of the show's effort to make the anti-V fighters more proactive.

"Last season, it was, 'We must fight, we must win this war,' but we weren't really doing it," Pearlman said. "In order to win a war, you really need more than three or four people in bunker."

But it won't be easy for the anti-V types to escape detection, from either Anna or the Earth authorities. Erica's new partner, her old friend Chris Bolling (Jay Karnes), is keeping tabs on her for the FBI, which should make things more difficult for the Fifth Column. And Pearlman teases that "there's a very interesting twist with Jay's character in the season finale."

Speaking of that finale, Vandervoort said at the ABC party that she is "amped for the season finale -- it's huge for [Lisa] and you're not going to expect anything that's happening."

But what about Tyler? Does Lisa really love him? She does, Vandervoort said, but she added that this season, Lisa is growing closer to the humans and Tyler is getting closer to the V society, which causes its share of problems.

"I think she's seeing a side of Tyler she never knew existed," Vandervoort said.

Speaking of Tyler, viewers will find out this season why he's "the chosen one." Or, as Vandervoort put it, "one of the chosen ones."

What does that mean?

All Pearlman would say on that topic is, "I think Anna is too smart not to have backup plans." (Another one of Anna's schemes: Getting Joshua to spy on Lisa, whom Anna suspects of not being loyal to the V cause.)

In any event, by the end of season 2, fans should have much more knowledge about "why Tyler is 'the One' and why the Vs are here," Pearlman said.

By the way, original 'V' actor Marc Singer will guest star in the finale as "a member of a top secret organization comprised of high-ranking military and government leaders from around the globe who have long suspected that the Visitors -- despite what they tell us -- are very much not here in peace," according to ABC. (Other upcoming guest stars include Oded Fehr in a continuing Fifth Column role, Nicholas Lea and 'Supernatural's' Samantha Ferris.)

But what are the show's chances of returning to answer any lingering questions left by the season 2 finale, given that 'V's' ratings have been moderate at best?

"The feedback from the network has been a lot more positive [in season 2] than a lot of what I've been reading on websites and in the press," Pearlman said. "We are clearly the bright spot on ABC's Tuesday night. I'd love for it to be brighter... but I know for any show to be building on its lead-in the amount that we are is pretty unusual."

Much will depend on what ABC has in development for next fall, Pearlman noted, but he says that if future episodes see an uptick from the numbers the show got in late January, "I think we've got as good a shot as we could have of being contention for a third season," Pearlman said.

Speaking for myself, as the show progresses through its second season, I'm hoping that it becomes a bit less mechanical in its plotting and focuses on its more compelling characters. As I noted in my Season 2 review, I'm still not convinced that the 'V' reboot is fully living up to its potential (and as TV bloggers Tom and Lorenzo point out, the Anna melodrama over human souls is particularly frustrating), but I like actors such as Mitchell, Karnes, Vandervoort and Baccarin so much that I'm still watching. Some of the intrigue is still pretty fun, and I'm hoping that going forward, 'V' finds an ideal balance between sci-fi suspense and relatable human drama.

For more from Laura Vandervoort, check out this interview.


Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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