Reviewing V‘s first season is really like reviewing two separate shows, in more ways than one.
First, there was the unusual (if no unsettling) way in which the first season was broadcasted: 4 episodes during November sweeps, followed by a 4 month break during which rumours began to swirl about the show’s success (or failure) and it’s odds of getting picked up for a 2nd season.
Then there’s the actual way in which the show began slowly turning from sub-par sci-fi for teens (at best), to something with actual substance, looking like it could go a long way, and become far more interesting than it first seemed.
Being a kid in the 80’s I do have certain memories of the Original V mini-series, and remember actually being quite scared in one of the episodes when the first Alien/Visitor got his eye peeled off to show the lizard underneath, When I heard V is being remade I thought it could go two ways, I just did not imagine it would go BOTH, and within a single 12 episode season.
V started off like a sci-fi network version of Smallville, by which I mean it has good looking actors & actresses (Hell, the shows even share one of those actresses – Laura Vandervoort), and good source material, but the plot is not very complex, and doesn’t have that “edge of your seat, Can’t wait for next week” kind of feel. But that all turned around not long after the show returned from its winter slumber.
The show started going in the proper direction with the Joining of Hobbs (Charles Mesure) to its regular cast of characters, as he was, in my mind at least, the first character with less than clear motives, and far more depth than anyone we met up to that point (the protective mother, doubting priest, alien with a secret, in love teen etc.), most of whom felt like cardboard cut outs of people, having him join the “crew” brought on the added tension that was missing from the early episodes, and set in motion quite a few events that seemed unlikely at first, the Character’s terrorist/guerrilla warfare approach to the conflict with the V’s would force our heroine Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell, who got blown up by an H bomb on Lost only to be deported to a universe in which earth was invaded by aliens…poor woman) and reluctant “warrior” priest Jack (Joel Gretsch – with some very deep experience in dealing with aliens and sci-fi shows after turns in Taken and The 4400 to make some very hard choices indeed, choices that basically would turn the show in the direction it’s headed.
It seems like these days, Sci-fi shows are being shown the side exit to network television, with Lost finishing it’s run, Flash Forward taking a nose-dive in the ratings into self destruction, V now remains as one of the few truly Sci-fi shows that fans of the genre can expect on their weekly schedule, and with the way their shortened 1st season ended up, specifically the last 4 episodes, there’s definitely promise in them going ahead with the story.
Anna’s actions at the end of season one, as well as those of Erica, father Jack, Ryan, Hobbs and their brothers (from a very different mother) in the 5th column seem to guarantee that the 2nd season will continue in the same line it started in season 1, I can only hope that a probable mid-season start (current news are of a 13 episode 2nd season pick up, unless something has changed in the week or so since I’ve checked) will work for V and not against it, as sometimes, as we all know, in the land of TV, out of sight = worse ratings, and V‘s ratings were not that awe inspiring to begin with.
As for a quick summary/highlights of the 1st season, and reason to watch the 2nd season here we go –
Slow start, Strong finish, can only get better
Hobbs playing for both sides (or neither)
The scene with Anna ordering Lisa’s legs broken…truly a deserving winner of the “cold hearted bitch of the year” award
As a big Sci-fi fan (could you tell?) I think Morena Baccarin on TV = good, even if she’s much less of a sex-symbol this time around than her time in Firefly & Stargate.
We need some Aliens on our TV if we don’t have smoke monsters, sexy terminators or ridiculous over-acting by Joseph Fiennes.
That’s it for this week; up next week we have sophomore show, and possibly the best drama that very few people watch – Sons of Anarchy.
Funniest line of the week, courtesy of Shioban from Hell’s Kitchen: “scallops, really? You can’t fry scallops?” (About 90 seconds after she put pasta into non boiling water…)