VNovember 1, 2009
This is the first eight minutes of ABC’s new take on the classic V. It was put online, officially and above-board, as part of the network’s blitz of marketing for this new series, which premieres Tuesday night (Nov. 3).
I like what I see. There’s enough of the 80s original to please me and other decades-long fans of the concept, but it has been tweaked and sparked for a 21st-century post-9/11 audience. I particularly like the little nod-wink to Independence Day that’s tucked away in there. Cast-wise, I can say so far, so good; Elizabeth Mitchell was aces on Lost over the past three years, and that guy from The 4400 looks good in a priest’s collar. I have never been sure what to make of Scott Wolf, though; he’s always looked and acted a little too much like the love child of Michael J. Fox and Tom Cruise for my tastes.
I devoured the original V miniseries, and its followup a year later. I wasn’t as crazy about the ensuing series, because a premise like this can run out of steam pretty quickly. The 80s ongoing series, which had a weird kind of Dallas opening credits sequence, was just another action show, really. I have the comics, too, and they’re actually better than the TV series. Think about that for a second: I have the V comic books. Feel free to steal my lunch money.
There’s an opportunity here to take the lessons learned in long-form serial TV — Lost, 24, Heroes — and apply them to the V concept. I hope that’s what happens. So far, I can say this new version of V seems taut and thrilling, but that’s just based on eight minutes. If the producers can’t find a way to sustain that power without it turning into fight-the-Visitor-of-the-week, I can’t see this lasting.
But like I said: take a lesson from Lost. Originally described as a show about people stranded on a desert island, Lost became much, much more than that. V is described as “aliens land on Earth.” Been there, done that. Let’s hope the new V offers us more.