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STUDIO: Warner Bros. Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 425 minutes (10 episodes)
- Deleted Scenes
- Blooper Reel
Sexy aliens. Evil aliens. Evil sexy aliens.
Created by Kenneth Johnson. Developed by Scott Peters. Acted by Elizabeth Mitchell, Morena Baccarin, Laura Vandervoort, Scott Wolf, Joel Gretsch, Morris Chestnut, Logan Huffman, Charles Mesure, and Jane Badler.
Months after the arrival of the Visitors (an outwardly peaceful alien race secretly plotting to take over Earth), tough-as-nails FBI agent and single mom Erica Evans, oddly chiseled-looking priest Jack Landry, unscrupulous British mercenary Kyle Hobbes, reporter Chad Decker, and V turncoats Ryan Nichols and Lisa (the V queen Anna’s traitorous daughter) continue to try and prevent the invasion. Meanwhile, Erica’s teenage son, Tyler, continues being infatuated with the V’s, and Anna continues plotting to wipe out our women and turn our (genetically modified) men into breeding machines. Also, original V baddie Jane Badler turns up from time to time and acts all enigmatic and stuff.
I’m not sure why this series failed. Maybe it’s because two other alien invasion shows – The Event on NBC and Falling Skies on cable – were already in the pipeline, not to mention a handful of spiritual predecessors like Invasion and Threshold having tried their luck and failed a few years earlier. Maybe the sad truth is that, with a very few exceptions, genre shows just don’t have the kind of mass appeal necessary to make it on network TV. (It’s tempting to point to something like Fringe, which has been on the air for several seasons, but many viewers probably don’t realize that show barely gets renewed each year). On the other hand, maybe shows like Lost (which downplayed its supernatural elements at first) and Heroes (which alienated viewers by recycling the same plotline year after year) have exhausted whatever goodwill the mainstream audience ever had for such fare. The original V, while remembered as a sort of camp classic these days, only lasted one full season, after all.
What I do know is that, while V is certainly no Lost – it’s not even an Event, in this boy’s humble opinion – it’s an entertaining enough show, and if it had stuck around, I would have kept watching. Or at least, you know, picking up the Blu-Ray sets every year or so.
We’ll start with what I like about the show. Though Elizabeth Mitchell never seemed to garner much love among the Lost fanbase, I’ve always found her perfectly pleasant, and she’s given a lot more to work with here, dramatically speaking. Erica Evans runs the gamut from concerned, teary-eyed mom (when dealing with prodigal nincompoop Tyler) to badass, Jack Bauer-esque action hero (most of the rest of the time). Hers is the main character arc in Season 2, charting her evolution from a woman of principle, to a morally ambiguous figure who at times rivals Anna in terms of ruthlessness. She even gets to torture someone, which seems to be the preferred TV shorthand these days for implying that a previously heroic character is skirting dangerously close to the dark side.
Morena Baccarin is another favorite as Anna. Baccarin has a sort of otherworldly look that fits the character well. It’s nearly impossible to tell what Anna is thinking or feeling at any given moment; that ambiguity is usually a plus, since it makes her unpredictable and hard to pin down. It can also be a weakness, though, since whenever we are clearly supposed to know what’s on Anna’s mind, the show’s way of conveying it can be, shall we say, less than subtle.
Most of the remaining cast is serviceable as well. Scott Wolf continues to be the best imperfect clone of Tom Cruise working today; Hobbes acquits himself well enough doing the “ends justify the means” schtick; and Joel Gretsch provides a pretty good counterpoint as Father Jack, who usually occupies the “we must do what’s right” position on the moral spectrum, in opposition to Hobbes. Oded Fehr even shows up for an episode or two, playing his usual stock terrorist role.
Now for the bad. First: Tyler. He’s basically every rebellious/whiny teenager besotted with a pretty girl cliche you’ve ever seen rolled into one, and Logan Huffman is absolutely vacuous in the role. What makes it worse is that Tyler is SO central to the plotline of the show, on every level; he often provides a big chunk of Erica’s motivation, and Lisa is supposedly in love with him (despite the fact that the actors have zero chemistry), so he’s presumably a prime motivating factor for her rebellion against her mother as well. To venture into (light) spoiler territory, he even winds up being central to Anna’s plans for humanity. For the love of God, writers; if you’re going to center your whole fictional universe around a single character, at least make that character interesting or compelling.
Also… not to get off on a political rant, but considering the main character’s permissive attitude toward torture, the heroes’ increasingly “with us or against us”-style tactics, and the show’s spiritual themes – one of the leads is a priest, and a central part of Anna’s plot involves her trying to figure out how to extract the human soul, which is supposedly the seat of all emotion – I sometimes forgot I was watching V instead of 24. I bring it up because I remember, when the show first premiered, at least one reviewer likening the Visitors and their promise of “universal health care” (among other technological goodies) to then newly-elected President Obama’s campaign platform. If anything, I’d say the show leans in the opposite direction.
A couple of featurettes. A blooper reel. Crappy, static menus. Nothing much to say here.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars