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V. Not as bad as Knight Rider. But it’s no Lost either.

V_2009_IntertitleI was very excited at the beginning of the fall to learn that the series V was being revived, and luckily not by it’s original network NBC, but by ABC. ABC has, in my mind at least, done a good job of establishing good dramatic shows like Alias (now almost a decade ago, yikes) and of course one of my favorites, Lost. So on that front I was encouraged.

After watching the initial four episode run to open the series I’m torn if this will be a long term reboot series or not. The production is slick enough, the acting is good and the visitors arrival (as much of a rip-off of independence day as it was) did make for a dramatic open to the show. Unlike how I felt after watching the pilot for Lost and the mini-series introduction of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, though, V left me….well unimpressed.

I’ve read a lot about how many critics and blogger’s have been deconstructing V as nothing more than a thinly veiled criticism of the Obama Presidency. Many have gone as far as to say that the show’s debut, exactly one year to the day after he was elected President, show’s it’s blatant connection. Although I can’t deny that the visitor’s (annoyingly referred to as “V’s” in the show) storyline features a number of elements that reflect the current state of the world and the major issues Obama and his administration are facing (Health Care being the biggest), I’m still not sold on that there’s any intent by the creator’s to directly lob criticism at the White House. With a town like Hollywood, though, you never really know.

Cast_of_V_2009Character and cast wise, I think V has done a better job than some recent reboot efforts of not filling the show with pretty looking yet empty characters. The 2008 NBC reboot Knight Rider is to me a great example of putting completely “pretty” albeit useless characters into a show simply to fill space around the true star, the car Kitt. I also have my own strong opinion about how they cast the voice of Kitt in that series as well.

While I am nowhere close to dropping V into the reboot reject pile just yet, there are a few plot devices that I think need to be more fleshed out before I will be willing to pass judgment on whether the effort has been a success or failure:

  • Show us some angry Anna. We’ve seen that however subtley, Anna has some balls. She is quite unlike the V’s leader in the original series, Diana, who was a vicious nasty fire breathing terror who kicked as much visitor ass as she did the humans. And chomped on live rodents to boot (using SFX that even my kids would laugh at now). Anna is like an ultra PC June Cleaver version of Diana. While she obviously has authority and, she’s rules by way of treating the V’s like junkies, giving them hit’s of “Bliss” to keep them loyal to her. Maybe bliss is more effective than Diana’s fear mongering, but it doesn’t make for as good of a plot driver. Anna has to get meaner in the next half.
  • The fifth column. I like where they have started to go with the fifth column and I think Ryan Nichols character Morris is a good start for a column of fifth column agents. Martin from the original series was likable, but way too sensitive. Nichols Morris can be affectionate to his fiance, but still maintains the masculinity the role requires.
  • Revisit Cham Tyler. Tyler added some grit and humor to the original series as one of the hard core military leaders of the resistance and the new show would benefit from someone a little harder core than Elizabeth Mitchell’s Erica and Joel Gretsch’s Father Landry, FBI and military backgrounds notwithstanding.

V has thus far caught my attention enough to get me interested in watching all four of the first episodes and to look forward to the next set of episodes to begin in March. With the final season of Lost starting in January 2010, if V doesn’t deliver, It will quickly fall off my radar.

jfox015

Jeff Fox is an almost twenty year web front end/ digital user experience technology leader. He cut his teeth in the web's early days and has worked for fortune 100 companies, small startup agencies and several companies in between. In addition to being a passionate developer and technical speaker, Jeff is a dedicated tech and sci-fi geek gladly indulging in Doctor Who and Star Wars marathons. He is also a talented musician, writer and proud father of three little Foxies. And don't get him started about his San Francisco Giants.

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