Last night saw the series premiere of ABC's remake of the classic '80s sci-fi series, V and kittens, it's good. We're both old enough to have some very fond memories of the gerbil-eating lizard aliens but because we haven't seen the original show in 25 years, those memories are hazy. In fact, "gerbil-eating lizard aliens" just about sums up the totality of our memories of the show. Oh, and the hybrid baby. Everyone remembers that. And the deliciously Alexis-Carrington like villainy of the V's leader, Diana. Any geeky gayboy of the '80s surely remembers her.
Anyway, V was something of a pop culture phenomenon for a very brief period (even by pop culture phenomenon standards) and after 2 highly regarded and much watched mini-series and one ill-advised and lackluster one-season series, V faded into memory.
Well, apparently there are some middle-aged geeks out there in TV land with better memories than us because after a quarter-century of dormancy, V is back in the public eye, re-tooled for the hyper-partisan, post 9/11 world of 2009.
The new show first came to our attention because it was the reason our beloved Elizabeth Mitchell was leaving behind her ass-kicking portrayal of Juliet on Lost to go and pursue bigger things. Since Lost is ending this season, it was a smart choice on her part. She's going from a supporting character to the star of a series. And how nice to see an adventure series where both the hero and the villain are portrayed by women.
Of course, there are multiple heroes and villains on this show, but Elizabeth's character of Erica, the FBI agent who unwittingly becomes involved in the resistance is definitely front and center and it simply can't be argued that Morena Baccarin's Anna, the delicious and charismatic High Commander of the Vs (she's an alien in Prada) is one of the biggest draws on the show. With the poise of a supermodel and the charisma of a political leader, you simply can't take your eyes off her in every scene she appears in.
It just occurred to us that we've gone this far without explaining the show at all. It's simple, really. If it's anything like the original series, it's an examination of fascism using aliens as the aggressors. In last night's episode, the V's (for "Visitors") suddenly appear in massive spaceships hovering over all the world's major cities. The public rightfully panics until the face of the beautiful Anna appears, broadcasting a message of peace and cooperation worldwide. After that, it's a matter of dueling political philosophies and an examination of propaganda and public devotion. If that sounds a little heady for an "alien invasion" story, you're right. But that's what set the original V apart from other, lesser sci-fi shows and if this one is done correctly, it will do what good science fiction is meant to do: examine the real world through the lens of a world that doesn't exist.
Thankfully, it's not all philosophical discussions. There's some suspense, intrigue and a little bit of action in there too. In fact, jaded as we two are, even we were shocked by two "didn't see THAT coming" reveals near the end of the episode.
It's too early to say if this is going to work. The show has gotten some press for running into problems and to our frustration, the network is only going to air the first 4 episodes this month and then go on hiatus until March. Still, we're looking for something to be the new Lost and after the distressingly bad performance of the much-lauded Flashforward (Anyone else watch that? AWFUL.), we have hope that this will be the show to fill the void. If next week's episode is as good as the premiere was, expect us to geek out here on the blog with a weekly recap. If you didn't catch the episode last night, according to Hulu, the episode will be available online on Saturday (you can watch the first 9 minutes here). We make no guarantees about the future of the series, but the premiere was damn good (not flawless, but very, very strong) and set up multiple intriguing plotlines.
[Photo Credit ABC TV]
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Labels: V Season 1, V Series