Good News and Bad News For V - Macleans.ca
 

Good News and Bad News For V


 

Scott PetersThe good news for the V remake, or “V-make,” is that the pilot got excellent ratings last night, boosted by critical acclaim and anticipation; it beat NCIS in viewers 18-49 and came in a solid second overall. The bad news is that I don’t know anyone who expects subsequent episodes to match the pilot. There were rumblings of dissatisfaction with the post-pilot batch of shows, and the network/studio seems to have confirmed this by replacing the remake’s creator/showrunner, Scott Peters. (He will still officially have the title of executive producer on the show; don’t you just love contractually-obligated producing credits? It’s also why Glen A. Larson was credited as a “consulting producer” on the remake of Battlestar Galactica, or why Sam Simon is an “executive producer” on The Simpsons even though he hasn’t been involved with the show since 1993.) The last remake of a popular science-fiction show to have a showrunner replaced in the middle of the first season was, of course, The Bionic Woman. We know how that turned out.

My conceptual problem with V is that ABC seems to want it to be their new Lost. Now, I know why the network wants to find a big, mystery-filled serialized show that can become their “event” production after Lost is over. But V seems like an odd fit for that kind of treatment, because it doesn’t really have all that interesting of a central mystery. The fun of something like V is watching the characters come to pre-determined, obvious conclusions: the aliens are not, in fact, benevolent. The actual nature of the alien conspiracy is not the biggest part of the appeal; the philosophical/political questions, as well as seeing the various forms of space-age fascist mischief perpetrated by the Visitors, are what’s interesting. It’s much closer to Battlestar Galactica than Lost in that respect.


 
Filed under:

Good News and Bad News For V

  1. I watched it last night and felt like they gave away too much too soon. Really,
    what will the other episode have to offer?

    • That's how I felt as well. Where's the mystery in the show if they ruin it all before the first episode is over?

    • I'm actually going to respectfully disagree with Mr. Pillar. I was worried they would take 2 or 3 episodes to reveal things that a large portion of the audience already knew.

      I guess that's one of the perils of a re-make.

      • I agree to a certain extent, and disagree in another sense. I do think it could have been pretty silly to "hide" that the Visitors are evil reptilian Nazis for too long, since everyone already knew that (then again, they could have messed with the mythology… we didn't necessarily know for sure how the new V would parallel the old, and how it would differ). However, (SPOILER ALERT) revealing that one of the resistance fighters is a Visitor in the very first episode seemed like a missed opportunity. Arguably we all know too (if the stories follow the original) that some of the Visitors are good guys. However, revealing that fact to the resistance fighters themselves, and also revealing that one specific person in particular is a Visitor seemed way too early for me.

        Having not read any spoilers, I was also upset (SPOILER ALERT) that they used Alan Tudyk as a bait and switch first episode death. I miss Firefly, and it was nice seeing him on my screen again… until he got stabbed to death.

        • You are better off than I. The "Guest Starring Alan Tudyk" in the opening credits kind of gave away the short lived nature of his character to me.

          Also, I thought the main appeal of V was supposed to be all the very, very pretty ladies. Yowza

        • When is someone going to give Alan Tudyk his own starring role in a comedic series?

        • By now, the existence of A.T. himself in a film guarantees a sudden untimely death! :)

  2. I think this is great time for an “alien” type of show. The show needs a group of people willing to be creative and pull from the original. As long as they can tie the reptiles into modern life and keep the invasion woven into the modern day, I think they will do well. As long as the keep integrating day to day life, the invasion, and the resistance plots it will keep it going. The trick is finding someone who can spin and weave the web. There are not many writers, directors, producers, etc. out there that can do this anymore. It would be sad to see what could be a great mystery-drama-thriller go down the tubes due to a lack of paasionate, creative writers.

  3. I think there was a disconnect between what the show is or wants to be, and how the show was marketed. It seems like the marketing focused more on making into a mystery show, whereas the pilot seemed to be more about 'freedom fighters'. I definitely went in to last night's episode expecting everything to be 'happy' at the end of the episode with maybe a few question marks, rather than the ending we got, which set it up more like a wartime scenario, with the battle lines drawn and all that.

    I really don't recall the first incarnation of V, but I'm hoping that they are willing to give their own interpretation rather than just literally retelling the old stories.

  4. I was amused that the show said that "the Vatican" (that's how secular lefties rather the papacy and curia) had made a decision in a single day on what role aliens play in the wider picture of the salvation of mankind.

    The Papacy and the Roman Curia has never, ever, made a decision in a single day. It is one of its greatest strengths. A far more likely scenario would involve months (if not years) of deliberations interwoven with consultations with scripture, tradition, and the writings of church scholars. Then there would be a papal bull or (more likely) a declaration by a congregation (such as the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, or the Congregation of the Evangelization of all Peoples).

    Lazy, lazy writing. If you are going to have priests and the reactions of the Holy See as a large part of the storyline for your opening episode, you should do 5 minutes of research.

    • It's not necessarily "Lazy, lazy writing". I can think of two scenarios where they did the research (that the decision should have taken months) and decided to write it their way anyways. The first one is where they concede that it's not realistic, but they decide to sacrifice realism for storytelling reasons. Granted, that's still not great writing, but they needed the Father to see the whole world (including his own faith) embracing the Visitors so that he could then question his own faith. Normally that's the kind of plot hole you try and avoid, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they didn't know it should take months.

      The second scenario would be where the Visitors had infiltrated the Vatican to the point where they can influence their decisions enough to get such a declaration immediately.

      • The general way the priests spoke and acted was jarring enough to me to assume that they aren't really putting much effort into understanding the church. They are just using the Catholic Church because we look better on film than the protestants do, but aren't so rich in liturgy as the Orthodox that they would seem to exotic to the average American.

        The second scenario might be interesting, as long as they didn't make a visitor the pope or something cheesy like that.

    • Sorry, this mangled aside: (that's how secular lefties rather the papacy and curia)

      should read (that's how secular lefties refer to the papacy and curia)

    • Not properly displaying procedure would also invalidate almost every law program in existence as well. Your complaint is trivia.

      • Not only just improperly displaying procedure, but methods and culture as well. If we were to compare what they did here to a law program, this would be similar to how CSI displays forensics. You know, with a basic misunderstanding of how forensic science works and with a what its capabilities are.

  5. The problem with V is that it doesn't work as a long form series at all: largely because it has one trick and one trick only – 'OMG, they're not friendly, get them!'

    Once the reveal is made it's just a bunch of stalling actions/clifhangers until, finally, someone gets to "win" because there's really nothing else to do with it. It's a great mini-series, or BBC style one-and-done, but it really has no business being pitched as something that can run 5+ years and 'SYNDICATION HOOOOOOO!". You'd think they'd have learnt that the first time. It's gonna drop in the ratings faster than Heroes once folks get over the nostalgia glow.

    • Isn't that kinda like saying "World War Two doesn't work as a long form series at all: largely because it has one trick and one trick only – 'OMG, they're trying to take over the world, get them!'"

      It may not be successful, but I don't see how a protracted underground guerrilla war against a publicly popular and technologically superior foe who've infiltrated most of the planet with skilled sleeper agents is somehow a premise bereft of dramatic potential.

      • WW2 hasn't been used as the basis for anything other than a mini-series for a good long time, in case you haven't noticed.

        Partly because we've largely abandoned A-Team style: "mission of the week" shows in general and partly because it's much much easier to tell "war stories" with defined ends where you can keep the plot tight, reveals coming, and characters can actually come to a "OMG, burn them from the sky!" POV and/or win. V makes a great 13 episode season, or a 4 night mini, but it quickly devolves into Cackling Evil Doer's plotting once it starts to go past that. At that point, folks start to get bored with the reality that half the characters are carrying the idiot ball in order to maintain the ignorance required just to keep story going when there has to be people who believe the aliens are actually "good". There's a reason Earth Final Conflict basically blew itself up every season to try and keep folks watching and yet was never successful at doing so.

  6. I only vaguely remember the original series, and I don't think I watched a single episode. But even as a newcomer, I thought the plot last night moved along at a punishing pace. I wanted to slow it down several times to see what was going on.

    On balance, I liked it a lot. I thought the hovering spaceship was every bit as good as the one in District Nine; there seems to be no end to the plot and character possibilities from here on in; the eye candy is delightful. Anna's digitalized beauty is especially breathtaking.

  7. Hahaha TedTylerZero — as a lapsed Catholic, I had EXACTLY the same reaction.

    "Oh yeah, sure they'd embrace them that fast."

    Unless…are they saying….wait aminute….

    ooh.

  8. Jaime, I bow to your knowledge and I love your TV love, but if you ever dis THE BIONIC WOMAN again I'll have to cut ya.

    Oh wait.

    You're talking the remake, right?

    Wow. I'd already forgotten that EXISTED.

  9. I remember watching the original series but I was a kid, so the details are fuzzy. I don't remember how long it took to reveal that the Visitor's were lizards, or that there was a resistance.

    I look forward to watching it, and seeing how it develops. You could even make a joke about the central resistance characters: "A priest, a cop, and an alien walk into a bar…"