Tuesday, November 3, 2009

20cc reviews: V

Recently, I've decided that multiple APs, College Applications, and other school related responsibilities have failed to eat up enough of my time. To cope with this boredom, I am reviewing the pilot episode of a new show, the background of which I know little about, which is a reboot of a miniseries that I've seen part of. Obviously I should be considered an authority on the subject.

The series, for those who didn't read the title, is V, based on an 1983 miniseries. The basic premise of the series is that aliens arrive above Earth, calling themselves the Visitors and offering the secrets of their advanced technology in exchange for a particular chemical that can be easily obtained on Earth, but of which the Visitors' planet is starved. It also happens to be a giant metaphor for the resistance fighters in Nazi controlled Europe.

The remarkable thing is, in many ways, the original series was more subtle and suspenseful than the new one. I don't know why this surprises me, given the average modern American's inability to perform complicated procedures like independent thought. Perhaps I'm simply biased, based on the fact that the '80s produced something in the area of absolutely nothing of value. (This is of course hyperbole, since several noteworthy graphic novels and a few good movies are indeed from the '80s, but that decade's crimes against music significantly outweigh the positives.)

For instance, it was some time into the miniseries that we discovered that the aliens are trying to take over the world and that they are--spoilers--actually reptiles with manufactured skin to make them appear human. Granted, the discerning viewer should be able to figure this out much sooner since, obviously, the planet spanning, super advanced empire couldn't be all good.

Sadly, today's viewer is not expected to have this presence of mind, so the Visitors' great secret is revealed in the pilot episode.

That flaw aside, I honestly don't have all that much to complain about. The show falls prey to a few typical character stereotypes, but in reality, that is preferable to the '80s stereotypes we were forced to endure in the original. The main characters are, so far, a little less likable, but this could easily change. Furthermore, there are a few things that appeal to the easily pleased sci fi lover in me. A couple of instances showed some very impressive special effects--something I feel is almost pointless to complement in an age when just about any show with a decent budget can have near flawless special effects. Also, Morena Baccarin and Alan Tudyk (from Firefly, for you poor uninitiated) both have semi lead roles.

All things considered, it's a show I'll keep watching, if for no other reason than I'm easily attracted by portrayals of alien technology, i.e. floating spy orbs that fire volleys of crystalline spikes. Should make for good times.