(Warner Home Video, 520 minutes)
BY CHRIS ZIMMERMAN
Recent years have seen a deluge of re-imagined sci-fi
classics hit the small screen with V being the most recent. The series gained popularity for its unique take on
alien invasions and has since become something of a cult hit among fans of 1980s
television. Apparently someone in ABC’s home offices thought enough of the
series to give the go ahead for a remake, thus giving viewers a sleek story combined with an
intriguing cast and more than a few 9/11 parables to go along with it.
Boasting a different premise than most alien invasion
archetypes, V chooses a subtler
approach in its story, instead presenting aliens that seek to bring about the
fall of mankind through the manipulation of the media. When a host of monstrous
city-sized UFOs appear over all the major cities of the world, panic hits the
streets – that is, until the extraterrestrial visitors deliver the message “we
are of peace”, earning a standing ovation and a warm greeting from a majority
of Earth’s population. Aptly named “the Visitors”, they offer the use of their
advanced technology in exchange for allowing them time to stay and replenish
However, there is more to the Visitors’ sudden arrival than
initially thought as a cadre of seemingly unrelated individuals find themselves
caught up in a widespread conspiracy that could spell the end of the human
race. FBI agent Erica Evans and Father Jack are among the first to discover the
V’s true intentions when they witness the slaughter of an anti-Visitor
resistance group by the aliens. At the same time, others such as rebellious V’s
like Ryan Nicholas choose to fight against their own race after having led
lives of comfort on Earth.
One of the core aspects of the series is the underlying
theme of trust, as demonstrated in numerous ways from the Visitor’s duplicitous
manipulations of the government, to Erica’s more than stressed relationship
with her son, whose deceit puts him at odds with his mother and makes him
perfect fodder for the V’s when he aims to become one of their ambassadors.
Having never seen the original series, I can’t comment on
changes made to the story and characters, though fans should take note that the
political commentary that allowed V to achieve its success is still at the forefront of its plot.
The story moves at an arduous pace, packing in as much suspense
and plot twists as its hour long episodes can bear. The characters are
thoroughly fleshed out to the point that each one’s motives are immediately
clear after the first three episodes.
It’s also in this way that V suffers its one flaw. The series moves too fast for its own good, sacrificing
moments that should be brimming with drama and suspense in an effort to move on
to the next plot point. While the series does slow down after the initial
freshman episodes, earlier scenes such as Ryan’s reveal and Erica’s struggle
with her son’s lies fall flat.
On the whole, V‘s
first season should be considered a hit. Solid writing that tackles more than
just the standard alien story combined with enthralling characters and a
heaping dose of suspense makes V one of
the best new shows to touch down in recent years.
Breaking Story: The World of V: Taking a Fresh Perspective
on the V Mythology
The Actor’s Journey From Human to V: Cast Members on the
Techniques, Challenges, and Rewards of Reimagining a Classic Tale for a New Generation
An Alien in Human Skin: the Makeup of V: Revealing the Face
of Special Effects Makeup Applications and Execution
Executive Producers Commentary on Episode 11
The Visual Effects of V: A Primer on the Series’
Jaw-Dropping Visuals Includes a fascinating Tour of FX Powerhouse ZOIC Studios