So I watched the pilot for V this week, but have been putting off writing a post about it until I could assemble my thoughts. But if I wait much longer, everything I’ll have wanted to say will have been said already, and I don’t want my faithful readers (all two of you) to feel that I am unoriginal.
There are spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
So far, I’m cautiously optimistic about the show, but the reasons why are what’s really important.
To begin, I’ve seen the original miniseries and found it remarkable. It was well-paced, fairly well-acted (despite the involvement of The Beastmaster), and had an excellent subtext hearkening back to the Nazi rise to power before World War 2.
Having said that, I’ll explain what I liked about the reimagining. For starters, the opening 10 minutes is really solid, with a well-crafted portrayal of the various primary chracters going about their daily lives as the V’s arrive. A plane falls out of the sky, its pilot unconsciously parachuting to the ground. The ships appear overhead and cause fear and panic. There’s even an excellent tongue-in-cheek moment where a kid being interviewed for the news points out that the V’s entrance is right out of Independence Day, while his friend comments that ID4 was a rip-off of many movies that came before.
Another thing I like about it is that it’s going to give us the opportunity to see a lot more of the story, as the original incarnation of the show was canceled during its first season, leaving much of the story unfinished. Assuming this show makes it two seasons, it would be enough to complete the cycle satisfactorily.
The show has some excellent cinematography. The leader of the V’s and her right-hand man are often shown at angles that make them seem imposing or menacing. There are even scenes where Ana (the leader) is made to look even more lizard-like through the use of lights, shadows, and angles.
Lastly, the show hints that the current instability in our world is due to alien agents causing wars and economic depression. My wife has taken that to mean that the show is trying to tell us that GWB is an alien.
But unfortunately, there are things about the show that aren’t so great. For starters, having seen the miniseries, I was disappointed with how quickly the key secrets of the story were given away much too quickly. Essentially, the first 90 minutes of the V miniseries was compressed into one episode of the new series. I had hoped the series would go the opposite direction and stretch out the story, not shorten it.
Further, what made the miniseries so great was the use of a character that had survived Germany in WW2 and spoke about how the same shift in power and loss of civil rights was happening again. While it would not make sense to have the same character in this story due to the 20 year time difference, I do hope that some sort of parallels are drawn as the series progresses.
Lastly, I mourn the death of Alan Tudyk’s character so early in the show. Having a mole in the FBI during the course of the series would have been an excellent way to drive the plot and characters forward. Revealing their true identities so early and ending their characters’ lives eliminates the possibility of having those elements for at least several episodes while they set up new characters to replace Alan Tudyk’s dead one.
All-in-all, V is about what I expected it to be. I had little hope it would be a great show, and wasn’t even sure it would be a good show. I’ll tune in next week to see where the series progresses, but I’m not expecting anything extraordinary. But it’s fun sci-fi/action with pretty actors, so it’ll do to fill my down time at work.