Typing Faster

November 11, 2009

Some Thoughts on “V”

Filed under: V — petertypingfaster @ 5:00 am

So, ABC’s halfway through the initial four episodes of V, and, well, I’m not really sure what to think yet.

I didn’t love the pilot, and my hopes that the second episode would deliver a bit more didn’t really pan out. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just kind of…meh. I can’t help but agree with Alan Sepinwall’s take.

The show feels a bit too ’80s, and not in the fun retro style of the dramas on USA – where they take the things that worked in the ’80s, give them a polish and make them feel contemporary – but like an actual ’80s show with better special effects and a cast with more advanced hair and skincare technology.

“There Is No Normal” moved pretty well, and I still like Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin, but I’m not especially engaged by the characters, nor by the larger story arc. The dialogue is still cheesey, and the teenage son stuff is even more annoying than usual for this sort of show. Too many empty calories, and they don’t even taste salty or sweet enough to compensate.

That pretty much sums up the way I’m feeling about the show so far.

The only plot that I’m enjoying at all is the sparring between Scott Wolf and Morena Baccarin. Nothing else is really working.

I’m not really buying into the Visitors as being all that scary or menacing or anything other than milquetoast baddies. The son’s “Ambassador of Peace” storyline is incredibly annoying. And Morris Chestnut has got a wicked bad case of “Magical Negro Syndrome” going on. Perhaps worst of is that they somehow managed to find a way to waste the not insignificant talents of Alan Tudyk (saddling an actor under nothing but technobabble is not the best way to let them shine).

Ranting aside, I haven’t checked out of the show yet. Like I said, I am really enjoying the byplay between Wolf and Baccarin. It feels like a much more organic way to launch into a story about burgeoning tensions between Visitors and Humans. You have a human who compromises his own integrity, gets in bed with the Vs and then starts to regret it when he realizes that maybe they’re not what they say they are. His suspicions feel justified given his knowledge, whereas everyone else’s reaction to the Vs seems to just be a knee jerk reaction dictated by the plot than a motivated reason for disliking them.

Other positives:

  • The work Elizabeth Mitchell’s doing. She’s been saddled with some unforgiving lines, but somehow she’s selling it.
  • The underlying concept. There’s something really attractive about a small band of humans heroically resisting an alien invasion.
  • Production values. This show looks slick. I’m not sure what the episodic budget is, but damn is a lot of it up on the screen.
  • The Nostalgia Factor. I never saw the original run of V, but I do remember it from reruns. There’s definitely a soft spot there.

I’m going to be sticking around for a couple more episodes at least, but unless it really picks up I’m not sure I’ll bother coming back in the new year.

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