Thursday, April 01, 2010

TVOD: V jumps the lizard (UPDATED)

We'd heard reports that V's long hiatus was due to ABC's unhappiness with the new scripts, so I don't know if this episode was written before or after the shutdown. I hope to God it was written before. This is terrible sci-fi, rehashing every alien invasion trope you've been sick of forever.

Not a single one of these characters are credible- they're all stock cutouts. The asskicking female cop, the earnest priest (a hideous anachronism in this day and age), the evil queen, her slimy henchman, the noble rebels, the opportunistic reporter, the hardbitten soldier-of-fortune- it's all comic book stuff. And by that I mean pre-Stan and Jack, never mind pre-Alan Moore. We're told these aliens have no emotions and then spend an hour watching them express emotions. If Morena Baccarin's character had a mustache, she'd have spent the entire episode twirling it.

The conflict we're presented with could barely sustain a miniseries, never mind an ongoing one. All the more so given the fact that this is a remake. The Scientology analogies were all that kept me watching until the end, but the writing itself (including some of the clumsiest character exposition I've ever seen) was on the level of a Steven Seagal movie.

This is binary conflict of the lowest variety, really a terrible comedown given the pedigree of talent involved. What an incredible disappointment. I must say I'm not surprised this show lost over a million viewers in its second half-hour.

I'm not giving up on this series yet, but I am damn close to it. These people need to show me something new, for frak's sake, and soon.

Non-US readers- poke around for a vid. But don't go out of your way.

PS: I also hope to God this Family Guy episode doesn't explain the "new and improved" V.

Vintage Morena

UPDATE: Ah, now I get it. From the Den of Geek review:

Did you enjoy your V-cation? While you and I had a break from the show for a few months, the powers that ABC were busy little beavers. The show runner from the first four episodes, Jeffrey Bell, was taken off the show permanently. Scott Peters, creator and executive producer, lost his power.

The show is now the baby of a guy named Scott Rosenbaum, a writer and producer for NBC's hit Chuck, because a guy known for writing light spy comedy is a guy I want in charge of my hard-hitting sci-fi drama!

Yeah, me too.

The DoG reviewer picked up on the tired old "action" hash the show is slinging now:

They seem to be moving in that direction (Anna's black widow snack attack, the new character's proclivity for violence, how this episode started out with Erica killing a V ambusher), but I don't know if it's going to work. It was awfully quippy this episode, like a bad 80s action movie.

So V suddenly feels like a completely different show because the original producers (the ones who worked for the past two decades on classic sci-fi shows like Outer Limits, X-Files, Angel and 4400) were replaced by a novice showrunner with less than 40 episodes of TV under his belt.

OK, good. Now I can stop watching.


  1. Among the UFO research community and the folds with direct "experiences" this show is dismissed with contempt.

    The real and on-going contact experience is intensely complex, and hauntingly dramatic (and not in the exploitive FORTH KIND way!). There are folks with REAL stories to tell, and researchers uncovering extremely strange data. Conclusions are elusive, but there is something profound happening.

    "V" is awful. The Spielberg thing (TAKEN) from about 7 years ago was okay. It's too bad, because there is SO much fascinating material in the literature - any script writer with the patience to read some books and make a few phone calls (to researchers and "experiencers) would be overwhelmed with story ideas.

    The more I look into this, the more I realize that 2001 was (sez me) the greatest movie in the history of cinema - and it exquisitely deals with the issues in grand mythic visual terms.

    Oh well.

  2. From anecdotal evidence, Paul Shrader's original script for Close Encounters was much less explicit about what the UFO were and what was making contact and why.

    Personally, I think people would be pretty disturbed if any show attempted to deliver the actual experiences of abductees and aliens.

    Has anyone see The Fourth Kind movie that just came out about this?

    2001 is still way ahead when it comes to delivering the impression of a truly alien and advanced intelligence.

  3. Well, given Scott Peters' work on The 4400 I was hoping that he'd take V somewhere more interesting. But this is just cookie-cutter xenophobia (or Xenuphobia, as the case may be). I don't think it's very timely having the Visitors being unrelieved villains, but if that's the route you want to go then get them the hell off screen. It's the worst of both worlds- we're constantly being exposed to these characters we will not relate to. Which also means that there's no mystery about them either and hence no fear. We're not afraid of these aliens at all- they're just pushy space yuppies. Morena Baccarin is way too sweetfaced to be believable the way she's written. (I have a fetish for pixie cuts, but she's too lanky to carry the look off).

    I'll give it a couple more tries, out of respect for Peters' past work.

  4. When a network wants to get rid of a TV show, changing producers/directors mid-stream is often the tactic employed, never mind the archetypes.

    Anonymous is right, '2001' is still the premium aliens/gods archetype standard.

  5. I haven't seen any of V, but an interesting sync is that I just finished a video review of Atlas Shrugged, wherein I mention that Ayn Rand was born Alisa Rosenbaum and worked out in the Holy Wood.

  6. Absolutely horrible... I agree. I Can't understand why they made all their pants literally pulled up to everyone's bellybuttons either.

  7. V was very pretty eye candy with seamless f/x. the 'last' episode 4 ending with a fleet of alien ships waiting to fall on earth, was a nice image. More like -a return to earth.
    The 'V' have an esoteric touch, Aleister Crowley's thoth tarot deck has as card XIV Art, Temperance. Crowley called the card The daughter of the Reconcilers the Bringer forth of Life. Is not Diana trying to created a 'hybrid' of alien-human?
    On the card the Huntress Diana is seen the card ruled by Sagittarius as an archer. Sagittarius of course points to the center of the milky way, the dark cauldron the maya saw as the 'creator' of all life.
    The V itself can symbolize alchemy, the vitriol universal solvent. Alchemy is about 'seeking' the secrets of the earth underground, and then the stars. So our 'hidden' ultra-terrestrial lairs deep underground and in the oceans?
    A Canadian museum created some 'saurian' descendants if the Dinosaurs had never met their end, years ago. They do look like the aliens of the 'stars', and the Abyss.
    Card 14 of thoth tarot, also uses the Hebrew Letter Samekh (serpent), the same 'symbol' that is the g, serpent knowledge, custodians, G, as seen in some secret society lodges. The pre-biblical nephelim, and technology of the 'gods, figures prominently in secret lore. Some of the initiates i've met say, lost atlantis is code for 'lost civilization' living under the oceans. Lucas even tackled that with the undersea kingdoms, and 'alien' water world 'genetic' makers or breeders of 'human' stormtroopers. In a way i think the V show does link to the esoteric even if the 'viewing' audience is way too into the paranormal than even hollywood realizes.

  8. The show is purposely bad because this may be scheduled year we all make contact with the real V's.

  9. I have to agree with jenny. Like all major network TV shows, we have to look at this for what it really is...propaganda / programming. The only reason I'm watching this show is to try and figure out what TPTB are trying to sell us. Like the original mini-series from the 80's there's lots of hype and heavy promotion of this show. The story line is extremely spoon-fed, which is all the more reason to view this as some form of social engineering. And as Chris pointed out, it's painfully stock and cliche. This is usually the result of the producers wanting as large of a demographic as possible tuning in. Something anyone can digest. And did anyone notice that last week ABC even aired an hour long recap of last year's mini-series, just to make sure everyone is on the same page? Has this been done before for any other TV show?

    So again,what's the message being sent? what's being peddled to us (besides the commercial products)? I basically came up with 3 different possible motives behind this show. The first one being a fictional account of present day reality. The deceptive nature of the Vs mirrors the deception we see more and more of from not only the U.S. govt, but western governments in general. It's interesting to note how the vitamin shots being mixed with the r6 reflects the swine flu scam and the aggresive govt campaign to get people to take the jab, even though testing was insufficient and the threat didn't warrant it. But this theory doesn't hold much water. When was the last time mainstream media actually set out to increase awareness?

    My second theory is similar to my first except for the whole 'art imitating life' thing could be a means to cast such notions like swine flu conspiracy, and facism into the realm of sci-fi fantasy. As in, "If you believe such things are really happening, you watch too much TV"

    But my third theory feels to me to be the most-likely, and at the same time the most absurd. That would be, to intenionally promote xenophobia in the event that the "gods" do return. It's as if the PTB know time is running out. Someone's due to return sometime between now and that ubiquitous year of say...2012. Think about it. The greatest threat to the status quo power structure is to be instantly deemed irrelevant by not only a technologically superior group of beings, but a more spiritually, and ethically motivated group of beings. Beings that can have a profound lesson to teach humanity. So if this theory of mine happens to be in the ballpark of truth, we can see why it would be of utmost importance to sell the public on the idea that it will be us vs. them. TPTB need to preemptivley set the stage for when that time comes. Just a thought, but one I can't seem to shake.


  10. Christoper,

    I've been meaning to share a couple interesting video links with you and the readers in case you guys / gals haven't seen them yet:

    Bizarre Pleiadian-esque BBC ad for internet season:

    NatGeo's at it again. This was featured on Microsoft Network last week.

    "Aliens might look more like us than we think. "


  11. You know, I remember watching the original when I was a teen way back when, and it never made much of an impression on me, both versions seem to play on bad cliches, and it's a great example of why Science Fiction can have such a bad rep (or rap) with the public.

  12. hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

  13. I didn't see the decline from the first 4 to the most recent as that dramatic. From bad to worse isn't a huge disappointment.

    I think if this is propaganda for anything it's in favor of a rebel band of domestic terrorism in the face of despotism - for those people who know what's really going on. With people drawing Hitler mustaches on Obama and militias on the rise, that's not such great news.

    But Morena Baccarin is most definitely from outer space. Man.

  14. It's shame about the Changing of the guard.
    V was really looking to be good. and now that I know of this Chuck guy's doings I know now that the show will not be getting better.
    HE clearly did so well with Chuck and all.

    thank you for saving me the time of Having to watch this show. I loved the Actors in the show. But I knew this show was destined for Cancellation the episode when they killed Alan Tudyk

  15. Way Bigger Jaws versus V!

    I wonder if the Breaking Bad show will help fill the void? Not to say Vince Gilligan is Chris Carter, but he was a heavy contributer for the X-Files. I'm only 3 episodes deep, so who knows...