Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The League Watches "V" (the 80's TV remake, not the comic movie)

Well, they jumped right into that, didn't they?

Apparently aware that everyone was going to already know the big plot twist from the original 80's-era TV mini-series of the same name, the new V bypasses what could have been convincing plot and character development to jump right into the Rag-Tag Band of Misfit Rebels portion, which marked the original incarnation's climax and eventual decline.

There are significant issues to investigate were we met by a highly advanced alien race, and rather than unfold these issues, the producers insisted on blasting right past all that. It just seems like such a bad choice to never give the audience the opportunity to fall for the aliens the way the public does in the original movie (back when it was an analogy for the Nazis making friends of their European neighbors).

It wasn't entirely awful, and didn't feel quite as hollow as the pilot for ABC's "Flashforward", although it was certainly trying.

I dunno. It has Elizabeth Mitchell. I'll give it another two or three episodes.

Elizabeth Mitchell is commandeering my TV until I'm positive I can't watch anymore


Simon MacDonald said...

I will be waiting to hear what you think of the next 2 to 3 episodes as I'm not prepared to put the time in on this one until I know it's decent.

The League said...

I could tell I was dissatisfied immediately with Flashforward. The characters involved made little sense, and it all felt sort of like they were trying to create a scenario in which the wrong people were the characters we were told to follow after a global event, and no thought was given to what the massive implications would be.

With "V", I think it just disappointed my expectations and jumped the gun. But I am curious to see what they do with that idea, at least for another few episodes.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

The passage of time in V really was jarring. It's like they flashed ahead too quick and skipped every other chapter of the story. I am sure that has more to do with our familiarity with the story. They had to make a decision weather or not to string us along or get all we knew right out of the way early on and then present us with something original and different. Hopefully they will do that soon or I may jump myself. I already know how this ends.

One more point. Why not just take the dead lizard guys from the warehouse to the media and bingo bango bongo everything is revealed to the public and we can go from there.

Didn't Alex Ross' 'JUSTICE' miniseries play on the 'healing centers' where the benefits are reversed once things all go to hell?

I do like ex-Supergirl Laura Vandervoort as a sexy alien. She already has that outworldly look.

J.S. said...

Yeah, I was pretty disappointed with how quickly they jumped over the whole plotline about the "aliens ingratiating themselves with the government and the public before turning out to be evil" plotline. It seems like if they were going to jump over all of that stuff so quickly, they might just as well have had the aliens invade and take over by force (they could still include a resistance movement and stories about human traitors if they had gone that route). Of course, if they hadn't at least paid lip service to a plotline involving large scale deception they would have had a harder time calling their show V and cashing in on the nostalgia. I just think that even if the audience had known that the aliens would ultimately turn out to be evil, it could have still been cool to watch the population of Earth slowly figure this out (IF the show was well written).
I'm not sure whether this show will ultimately end up being very good or not, but I think it's already strayed from the themes and important plotlines that defined the original version (meaning the show might turn out to be ok, but it doesn't really feel like V).

Fantomenos said...

I was disappointed too, I'd been getting a kick out of the original airing on syfy, remembering how scary the aliens were when I was a kid.

I get why it's a good time to bring it back, cold war paranoia from the original time has turned to terrorism paranoia, but I felt like they really strained to put in "Universal Health Care" and "Useless Wars". If an allegory works, it shouldn't have to call attention to itself that blatantly.

Also, Elizabeth Mitchell's rebellious-motorcycling-tagging-horny kid who misses his dad? What kind of cliche generator came up with that one? It's a subplot that was handled much more deftly in the original, where the shy outcast kid becomes the brownshirt because he finally can belong to something, not because he has a hard-on for a blond alien who forgot to zip up her shirt.

Oh, and CCCoC, thanks for pointing out the "Justice" parallel. I guess the "foolish humans will give up liberty for health care" trope is a pretty robust one, in this day and age.

The League said...

I gotta jump on Fantomenos's anti-troubled-cliche-bandwagon. That kid's character is ridiculous. And, honestly, if they WERE going to do that with the character, having it occur on screen over a few episodes would have been a 10x more effective.

Good call out on the Justice parallel. Had to put on my 2006 hat to remember all that, but it sounds right.

What's odd is that they seem to want to continue with the infiltration storylines, but... its kind of already happened, so what's the point?

Sure, Lost could feel like its moving like molasses sometimes, but the writers could have learned a lot about dropping clues and a reveal from that show.

NTT said...

I didn't watch it. Strange that the producers would take that tact considering the slow burn of the infiltration was what made the original V enjoyable. Having not seen the first episode, but doesn't that just remove the whole allegory of Vichy France that gave the original its dramatic heft outside of a cliched alien invasion?

...On second thought. Screw all that. All we need is some popcorn, the prototypical Star Child and Michael Ironsides snarling one liners, toting a SMG and taking down aliens for the resistance. Sock it to me ABC.

J.S. said...

Yeah, well if Michael Ironsides shows up I will totally rethink my review.

The League said...

I did neglect to mention that the Visitor who was hitting on the cliche-troubled-kid played Supergirl on Smallville for two seasons. Badly.

Hopefully someone will do better with her here.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

HELL YEH if Michael Ironside shows up. Because if anyone can ramp up some snarling alien genocide its him, that beautiful bastard.

JMD said...

I just watched this on the DVR and was unimpressed. Too many one note characters, no slice of life moments, no real dramatic pauses to reflect on what has just happened to the world (which is the problem FlashForward had, and as far as I know, still has). Again, the television writers have done almost no independent research into what actual federal agents or priests do. Rather, they simply place the characters in situations or locales where they have seen such characters on other badly written shows. Finally, too many things happened in this episode for me to care about any of the characters therein, and of course, the characters were hollow to begin with. Sigh