The reviews contain spoilers!
But the ingredients are certainly right. After her role as Juliet on “Lost,” it’s tough to imagine another actress who balances empathy and brains as well as Mitchell, a smart choice for the lead hero of “V.”
Tuned In: ‘V’ invades ABC | Remake of sci-fi drama keeps aspects of original with tweaks | Sunday, November 01, 2009
If you are of a certain age — in your 30s or maybe early 40s — odds are good you’ll remember “V,” NBC’s 1980s sci-fi saga about aliens who come to Earth promising peace but turn out to be lizards in disguise keen on making humanity their food supply.
There have been a few attempts to revive “V,” which originally was an allegory for Nazis and the holocaust, but ABC’s remake is the first effort to actually make it out of development and onto a network schedule.
Against all the odds stacked against remakes, the new “V” (8 p.m. Tuesday, WTAE) begins with an entertaining, well-made pilot that tweaks aspects of the original story but generally retains many of the show’s familiar elements.
Giant flying saucer-like motherships descend over the world’s largest cities, including Manhattan where the new “V” is set. The show introduces its characters by showing their reactions to this potential invasion.
Single mother FBI counter terrorist agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell, “Lost”) immediately wonders where her son is. Turns out Tyler (Logan Huffman) has been out getting into scrapes and he’s likely to get in more trouble once he meets a few Visitors, aliens who look human and who are uniformly attractive.
TV news anchor Chad Decker (Scott Wolf, “Party of Five”) is showering after sex with the vice president’s press secretary — the himbo expects to get a one-on-one interview out of the one-night stand — and soon he’ll find himself in even more dicey ethical circumstances when the leader of the Visitors, Anna (Morena Baccarin), offers him an exclusive interview with a last-minute stipulation.
“Just be sure not to ask anything that would portray us in a negative light,” Anna says, much to spineless Chad’s discomfort.
Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) isn’t comfortable with the alien arrival either, especially after the Pope declares the Visitors are “all God’s creatures.”
“Rattlesnakes are God’s creatures, too,” Father Jack tells another priest, “doesn’t mean they’re good for us.”
But the Vs, as they are sometimes called, sure seem helpful, offering to cure diseases and even provide universal health care in exchange for water. Once they get water, Anna says, “We will leave you, hopefully, better than we found you. We are of peace, always.”
Not everyone believes those promises and resistance efforts, which look like a terrorist cell to Erica, begin to spring up along with theories about the Visitors’ true intentions, which appear to be different from their motivations in the original (humans may no longer be the aliens’ hamburger helper in this remake).
The pilot, written by Scott Peters (“The 4400”), efficiently introduces the characters, conflicts and story potential for subsequent episodes, which is why murmurs of discontent in the project are troubling. Following a production shutdown for creative retooling, ABC has decided to air just four “V” episodes this month with the promise of more to come in March, which is not the most positive sign that the success of the pilot will carry forward.
But the ingredients are certainly right. After her role as Juliet on “Lost,” it’s tough to imagine another actress who balances empathy and brains as well as Mitchell, a smart choice for the lead hero of “V.” Gretsch offers solid support as a rock of a priest; actor Morris Chestnut intrigues as an engaged businessman with a secret past unbeknownst to his fiancé (Carnegie Mellon University grad Lourdes Benedicto) and Baccarin displays a scarily serene coolness that positions Anna as a formidable adversary to humankind.
Once again we have Visitors — time will tell if viewers and ABC executives welcome them with open arms.
Source: Post Gazette
Review | ‘V’: The saucer-shaped bandwagon
Imagine this. At a time of political turmoil, a charismatic, telegenic new leader arrives virtually out of nowhere. He offers a message of hope and reconciliation based on compromise and promises to marshal technology for a better future that will include universal health care.The news media swoons in admiration — one simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question: “Why don’t you show some respect?!!” The public is likewise smitten, except for a few nut cases who circulate batty rumors on the Internet about the leader’s origins and intentions. The leader, undismayed, offers assurances that are soothing, if also just a tiny bit condescending: “Embracing change is never easy.”So, does that sound like anyone you know? Oh, wait — did I mention the leader is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who’s come here to eat us?
Welcome to ABC’s V, the final, the most fascinating and bound to be the most controversial new show of the fall television season. Nominally a rousing sci-fi space opera about alien invaders bent on the conquest (and digestion) of all humanity, it’s also a barbed commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the president’s supporters and delight his detractors.
“We’re all so quick to jump on the bandwagon,” observes one character. “A ride on the bandwagon, it sounds like fun. But before we get on, let us at least make sure it is sturdy.”
The bandwagon in this case is conspicuously saucer-shaped. V starts with the arrival of a couple of dozen ships from outer space, piloted by creatures who look like humans except a lot prettier. “Don’t be frightened,” says their luminously beautiful leader Anna (Morena Baccarin, Serenity). “We mean no harm.”
The aliens — who quickly become known as Vs, for visitors — quickly enthrall their wide-eyed human hosts with their futuristic technology (they set up a chain of medical clinics and promise “to provide medical services to all”) and their mushy we’re-all-brothers political rhetoric, the latter tinged with faint reproach.
“Unlike you, we don’t divide ourselves into countries,” Anna explains. “We’re all one united people.”
A handful of dissidents holds out against the rapturous reception given the Vs. Some are simply uneasy, such as the youthful priest Father Jack (Joel Gretsch, The 4400), who sharply criticizes the Vatican’s embrace of the Vs as divine creations: “Rattlesnakes are God’s creatures, too.”
Others range from Internet rabble-rousers to incipient terrorists. FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost), in pursuit of the latter, infiltrates the anti-V underground — only to discover that the skeptics are right: The aliens’ munificent friendship is literally only skin deep. And the skull beneath this skin is very, very hungry.
V, an ambitious remake of a 1980s NBC show, in many respects stays close to the original’s story line. What has changed — radically — is the political subtext. Kenneth Johnson, who wrote and directed the 1983 miniseries (it spawned a sequel and then a regular network series over the next two years), took his inspiration from a 1935 Sinclair Lewis novel called It Can’t Happen Here that depicted an imaginary fascist takeover of the United States. The aliens in the original V were patterned after Nazis, and, just in case anyone missed the point, an elderly Jewish character who was a Holocaust survivor periodically hammered on the similarities.
But ABC’s series takes aim not at a German dictator from the misty past but a sitting — and popular — U.S. president. From the fawning reaction of the news media (sample press-conference question to V leader Anna: “Is there such a thing as an ugly visitor?”) to the recruiting of human supporters into an alien front group that could easily be mistaken for “community organizing,” the parallels to Obama are unmistakable.
The anti-V underground, in its frustrated insistence that the aliens have a covert agenda, resemble nothing so much as the anti-Obama teabaggers. And even the president’s repeated attempts to suborn Republicans into making his program bipartisan get a scorching reference.
“Compromising one’s principles for the greater good is not a shameful act,” a V leader reassures an erstwhile opponent who’s just been bought off. “It’s a noble one.”
But enjoying V does not require an official membership card in the birther movement, any more than you had to accept H.G. Wells’ belief that the British class system would devolve into chaos and cannibalism to be entertained by the war between the delicate Eloi and the voracious Morelocks in The Time Machine.
With or without the political sheen, V is sweeping television storytelling at its best. Whether you choose to view it as a blood-and-guts war story, a spy thriller (unlike the original show, these Vs are perfect replicas of humans, so you never really know who might be sitting beside you at the bar), a high-stakes family drama (as households divide over the intentions of the Vs), a religious allegory (the Vs make a crippled man walk, filling up churches again) or just a sci-fi throwback to the days of Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and The Thing, V is irresistible. This bandwagon is definitely worth jumping on.
Source: Miami Herald
‘V’ hopes for victory
“V” (Tuesday, 8 p.m., ABC) ABC goes the “Battlestar Galactica” route by resurrecting a mediocre sci-fi series from decades past and updating it with better actors, like Elizabeth Mitchell from “Lost,” and special effects. Mama fears it will have more in common with the recent update of “The Bionic Woman,” but will withhold judgment for now.
Source: NY POST
They’re here. Elizabeth Mitchell, Scott Wolf and Morena Baccarin invade the new ABC series “V” Tuesday at 8 p.m. on WCVB (Ch. 5). The aliens say they want to promote a message of peace, but there wouldn’t be a show if that was true, would there?
Source: Boston Herald
The TV shows you can’t miss this week
In the gripping sci-fi remake “V,” aliens drop in on Earth, preaching peace and harmony. But is it a ruse? Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost”) plays a suspicious FBI agent. 8 p.m., ABC.
Aliens return to Earth with a new take on ‘V’ | The aliens are coming. The aliens are coming. | 11/1/2009
1983: Giant spaceships appear over 51 cities around the world with aliens announcing their intent to help the humans, but their plan is take all of the Earth’s resources for their own and use some of the humans as soldiers and as food. Some learn of the aliens’ true reptilian nature and organize resistance. But it’s hard to tell who’s a human and who’s not.
Probably due to the economy, giant spaceships only appear over 29 cities around the world this time. The V’s (Visitors) seemingly come in peace and are generous with their technology and supply universal health care. While many in the world populations applaud their arrival, there are those who question if they have a malevolent agenda in mind.
“We have come on behalf of our great Leader, him who governs our united planet with benevolence and wisdom. We have come because we need your help. Our planet is in serious environmental difficulty, far worse than yours; it’s reached the stage where we will be unable to survive without immediate assistance. There are certain chemicals and compounds which we must manufacture, which alone can save our struggling civilization. And you can help us manufacture these and in return, we will gladly share with you the fruits of our knowledge.”
“Don’t be frightened. We mean no harm. Please accept our apologies. We are truly anguished by the turmoil our arrival has caused. This is a momentous day. Until now we believed we were the only intelligent life in the universe. We are overjoyed to find we’re not alone. My name is Anna and I am the leader of my people. We are delighted to meet you but we need your help. We are far from home and require water and a mineral which is common and abundant on Earth in order to sustain ourselves. In exchange, we’d be willing to share some of our technological advances with you. Technology that will help enrich your lives in all areas. After we have replenished ourselves and shared with you what we can, we will leave you, hopefully, better than we found you. We look forward to getting to know our new friends.”
“They come in peace to enslave mankind.”
“We are of peace. Always.”
Michael Durrell as alien leader John.
Jane Badler as Diana, the second-in-command alien, who speaks with a forked tongue and swallows whole guinea pigs.
Faye Grant as medical student Julie Parrish, who reveals the aliens’ reptilian makeup and real intentions.
Marc Singer as journalist Mike Donovan who joins Parrish in her quest to get the truth out.
Elizabeth Mitchell as FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans.
Scott Wolf as Chad Decker, TV news anchor.
Logan Huffman as Evans’ teenage son Tyler who is enamored with the V’s.
Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, who questions his faith and the aliens.
Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, the alien Visitor who sets her sights on Tyler.
Morena Baccarin as Anna, the leader of the Visitors.
Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, who faces his own life-changing decision.
May 1, 1983: In a commentary track on the DVD release of the miniseries, Ken Johnson reveals that “V” was originally intended as a political thriller, charting the rise of a fascist movement in America, according to IMBD.com. But NBC wanted a sci-fi series to build on the success of “Star Wars.” It started as a miniseries (1984), then spawned a second miniseries (“V: The Final Battle”) and a weekly series (1984-85).
Nov. 3, 2009: Scott Peters, Emmy nominee for “The 4400,” is the writer-executive producer. “Whenever I mention ‘V’ to anybody, they still have a lot of good memories about the original movie and series,” Peters said in an interview with Variety. “Everybody has that imagery of their uniforms, or the visitor eating a hamster. It’s a science-fiction icon and too good to pass up.” The original “V” served as an allegory for the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, he said. Peters told the magazine he’s not “duplicating that concept, but the new ‘V’ will still focus on what happens when the masses have blind faith in their leaders.”
Robert Englund (the original Freddy Kreuger in “Nightmare on Elm Street”) had a role in the original “V” as the good-hearted alien Willie.
In the first “V,” the music that played when the ship was first seen consisted of three short notes followed by one long note. It’s the letter “V” in Morse code.
Famke Janssen turned down the role of Anna in the new “V.”
Iconic clips: tulsaworld.com/V83
Replay: The original “V” miniseries repeats at 11:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday with “V: The Final Battle” airing from 4-10 p.m. that day. Episodes of the ’80s TV series air 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday on Syfy, cable 45, Dish 122 and DirecTV 244. To hear the theme music, go online to tulsaworld.com/Vtheme
The new “V” has a huge budget, the latest special effects and a cast to die for. The writing is first rate (excepting a few cheesy lines) and the script is written with modern ideas in mind. The opening few minutes should have viewers wanting more.
Source: Tulsa World
When worlds collide ‘V’ is smart, entertaining television. But will that fact avoid being lost in partisan politics? We can only hope.
V is captivating entertainment. The premise is suspenseful, smart science fiction. Spacecraft the size of Disney World, populated by armies of aliens, suddenly hover over major cities around the globe. The alien leader appears as an apparition in the sky, proffering friendship and access to her people’s superior technology. But they are not what they seem and their overtures are camouflage for their malevolent intentions.
The cast is attractive and appealing and the special effects are out of this world.
Yes, V has been done before, in 1983 and ’84. But that’s long enough ago for there to be a new generation of viewers to whom it is new.
However, the artistic merits of the ABC remake could get lost amidst a partisan brouhaha over parallels to the current administration in Washington.
Promotional teasers have been running for weeks on ABC with the tagline, “They gave us hope. We gave them our trust.” Hope, of course, was a keynote buzz word during last year’s presidential campaign.
Isolated, this coincidence would not be an issue. However, the parallels to contemporary politics are relentless.
Visitors, whose case is made by an extremely telegenic leader, endear themselves to the people of Earth with, among other things, the promise of universal health care.
Their leader, Anna, is a proponent of one-world government.
Anna also is a compelling speaker as well as a master at manipulating media. Though a smile never leaves her face in public appearances, behind closed doors she is ruthless and controlling. One of her decrees is she will deal with only friendly TV news organizations. Any tough questions and the interviewer and his network will be ostracized.
Behind the friendly overtures and promises, the Visitors’ true agenda is horrifically malevolent. The only obstacle to their nefarious scheme is a grassroots resistance.
It’s probably fruitless in attempting to head off political controversy to note that V is faithful to the original, which was intended to be an allegory to Nazi Germany and was created when President Obama was an unheard-of college student.
Nevertheless, ABC is treading gingerly although continuing to run the inflammatory promos. The tardy November premiere date has always been planned. Speculation is the network didn’t want to attempt to promote V and its other new science fiction drama, Flash Forward, simultaneously.
The events that set both series into motion are remarkably similar. The arrival of the Visitors sets off an initial panic, with all manner of chaos and destruction on the streets.
However, what is strange is ABC’s plan to pull V off the air after only four episodes — roughly the number that had been completed when controversy started to ignite — and to bring it back some time in the spring. This makes no sense, especially for ABC, which almost destroyed Lost with a similar hiatus.
The only plausible explanation is the plotting is going to be reworked so that similarities to current events are downplayed if not eliminated.
The concept should be able to stand this. At its core, V is a basic good vs. evil saga with sufficient romantic entanglements to expand its base audience beyond science fiction fans.
Morena Baccarin is a head-turner as Anna. TV newsman Chad Decker, played by Scott Wolf, who set hearts aflutter on Party of Five, falls hard for her professionally and personally. A one-on-one with her would be a career maker. A different kind of one-on-one would be serendipity.
Elizabeth Mitchell is customarily strong as FBI Counter Intelligence Agent Erica Evans, a professional skeptic, who digs into the secrets the Visitors harbor. However, her teenage son Tyler (Logan Huffman) is totally taken by a young Visitor, Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), who seems to return the interest, although this could be a tactic, since her main assignment appears to be indoctrinating young people. Tyler doesn’t want to hear that the Visitors are anything but wonderful.
Morris Chestnut plays an earthling named Ryan (Morris Chestnut), who has inside information on the Visitors but is reluctant to reveal it because of what it might do to his relationship with his beautiful fiancée Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto).
As a package, V is one of the finer achievements of this season’s freshmen class. It would be a shame if this gets lost amidst what seems to be inevitable political rancor.
Source: Sun Sentinel
‘V’ and ‘The Prisoner’ are successful remakes of old sci-fi TV showsDon’t look now, but we’re being invaded. That’s pretty much the premise of “V,” ABC’s superslick updating of the 1983 miniseries about huge spacecrafts suddenly appearing in our skies.
This weekly series gets off to a rollicking start at 8 p.m. Tuesday on WEWS Channel 5. Still, we’re talking about a bigger invasion. Bigger than world domination?
Well, bigger than ABC, at least. November will be a big month for remakes of science-fiction shows from yesteryear. We not only get the re-imagining of “V,” but, on Sunday, Nov. 15, AMC begins its highly anticipated three-night reworking of “The Prisoner,” a mind-bending cult hit for actor and series creator Patrick McGoohan in 1967.
Hollywood executives always have been great believers in time travel, reaching through the decades for fantasy favorites that can be remade as movies or TV projects. On the television side of the street, Syfy’s acclaimed version of “Battlestar Galactica” demonstrated how to attempt this feat and actually improve on the original. And, yes, you’ll find plenty of recent examples of remakes gone terribly wrong, from NBC’s “Bionic Woman” to ABC’s “Night Stalker.”
Both ABC’s “V” and AMC’s “The Prisoner,” however, are stylish futuristic productions wisely borrowing from TV’s past. They are radically different in tone, yet each succeeds on its own terms.
First, consider the considerable merits of “V.” The accent here is on rip-roaring comic-book action-adventure entertainment. And Tuesday’s opener delivers in a big way.
The original “V” starred Marc Singer, Jane Badler, Faye Grant and Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. A crafty hodgepodge of familiar science-fiction themes, the miniseries began with alien crafts hovering over major cities around the world.
The V’s (for visitors) said they came in peace. They said they were in need of certain elements to help their ailing home planet. They didn’t say that beneath their humanlike exteriors, they were carnivorous reptiles with a plan to take over the Earth.
“V” was such a ratings sensation, NBC immediately ordered a sequel miniseries, “V: The Final Conflict.” It wasn’t the final conflict because, in the fall of 1984, the Peacock Network turned “V” into a weekly series.
NBC had little to cheer about in those dark days. “Hill Street Blues” was a critics’ darling, but NBC was in last place and everything it tried seemed to go wrong. How times have changed. Oh, wait, strike that. Make that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Again in last place, NBC wasn’t savvy enough this time to call on the Visitors. Flash-forward 25 years from the first “V” series, and that move was left to ABC.
And speaking of “FlashForward,” the rookie science-fiction drama just keeps getting better on ABC’s Thursday lineup. With the addition of “V” and the midseason return of “Lost,” the Alphabet Network has taken the clear lead in the fantasy field. They may have a future here.
The new “V” launches similarly to the 1983 model, with spaceships hovering over those major cities. Promising an end to fighting and fear, the Visitors’ leader, Anna (Morena Baccarin), convinces most of the planet that she and her comrades are friendly.
It is a seductive message delivered in a seductive voice. Ambitious television reporter Chad (Scott Wolf) lands an exclusive interview with Anna, and, for now, he’s certainly seduced by the possibility of greater stardom. Tyler (Logan Hoffman) is a teenager who also sees the Visitors as a ticket to being part of something bigger.
There are some who start to question the aliens’ motives. They include Father Jack (Joel Gretsch), a priest with all kinds of doubts, and Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), an FBI counter-terrorist agent who makes a disturbing discovery while investigating a terrorist cell.
No one is more in doubt about what to do than Ryan (Morris Chestnut), who knows far more about the Visitors than he’s telling.
Although the new “V” incorporates themes drawn from today’s headlines, it rockets to success for much the same reason as the original — solid pound for pound entertainment value, from the performances to the pacing to the special effects.
Only one caution flag to raise here: This is all based on the stellar pilot episode. It works so well, you wonder if they can sustain such a high orbit. The original “V,” after all, fell apart, crashed and burned when it was turned into a weekly series.
Will ABC’s “V” keep aiming for the stars and reaching them? After Tuesday’s premiere, you’ll sure want to stick around to find out.
This week: ‘V’ debuts
The biggest debut this week is “V,” the last new broadcast series to arrive this fall. This lavish re-imagining of the 1980s miniseries lands at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ABC. It’s a doozy of a show about extraterrestrials making contact with the human race. Heading the fine cast are Elizabeth Mitchell, Joel Gretsch and Scott Wolf.
Source: Orlando Sentinel