The 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.