V - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON...
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
An extraterrestrial race arrives on Earth with seemingly good intentions, only to slowly reveal their true machinations the more ingrained into society they become.
Is it good movie?
Everybody's doing it, right? Why not reboot another quasi-popular old TV series and repackage it for a new generation? To be fair, it worked really well for Battlestar Galactica. Anyway, we're here now with season one of V, the newest remake of an old show (and one that starred our very own Robert Englund, at that) to grace the Hi-Def shelf.
So, I won't bore you with a ton of plot (which is tough to avoid when you're reviewing an entire SEASON of a television show, but either way, I'll give you a general rundown) but here are a few things you need to know: Aliens have arrived and they're promising "peace always". Anna is the female lead of the Vs, and Erica Evans is the FBI agent who thinks the whole things smells fishy while the rest of the world begins to accept the visitors. Before you know it, Erica saddles up with a priest named Jack and a rebel alien (a sleeper) named Ryan to form a resistance group.
Anyway, before you know the aliens have infiltrated nearly every level of our life, especially the government which makes any sort of uprising or counterculture pretty tough to get off the ground. On top of that, the aliens are written well- they've got a super hot queen who promises awesome technology and healing powers. To the modern secular society, this takes on a sort of religious overtone and provides some really cool framework for the rest of the show. The Vs are exploiting our desperate want for a physical god and using our own insecurities, fears and beliefs against us.
As I mentioned, V has a lot going for it and can be an intelligent show but the pacing of the season is a bit off. The pilot seems to really be rushing things and I felt that there was a lot more attention given to fleshing out the Visitors rather than the human characters, which can leave one wanting a bit more. Erica's character (relatively well played by Elizabeth Mitchell) seemed to be a little morally weak when dealing with her son falling in love with the daughter of the Vs leader! As my main criticism of the show, I felt that at times it delved a bit too much into soap opera-esque territory than serious sci-fi but this doesn't happen enough to ruin the season.
Anyway, all that is to say that the show definitely works the kings out as it goes along and proves to get quite suspenseful. A lot of this is because of Morena Baccarin's strong performance as Anna, the evil queen. She's a nasty, nasty lady who gets worse as she goes along. There's a cool subplot involving super soldiers, sort of Terminator like creatures that really show off her evil muscles. Add to that some good turns from Scott Wolf (I know, right?) as a reporter, Morris Chestnut as the turncoat and Joel Gretsch as the priest and you have a pretty compelling season. Also worth mentioning is that the final episode, Red Sky was really awesome and redeemed a few of the episodes before it.
All in all, this is a good effort and I'll definitely be looking out for the next season when it drops.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 1.77:1 Widescreen in glorious 1080p, and isn't perfect but is quite presentable. The video can look soft at times but the level of detail when up close is pretty awesome.
Audio comes to us in Dolby Digital 5.1, but doesn't really impress due to the fact that the track seemed to focus almost completely on the front speakers. For shame!
The set spans across two discs, and there are deleted scenes on both discs, but they only run about 15 minutes long. I'm really not big on deleted scenes unless I love the movie. They're always out of context and can be bafflingly brief and often seem less than crucial. These are no different.
Breaking Story: The World of V is the best feature on the disc, running almost a half an hour long. It talks about bringing the story together again, who created it, how to present it to today's audiences, how it was written and how painstaking it was to shoot certain scenes with modern effects.
An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V: This was pretty cool, featuring interviews with the make-up and VFX guys dealing with the effects of the season. Unfortunately, there are no 'full lizard' Vs in this season but one can certainly hold hope for the future.
The Actor’s Journey from Human to V is a bit of a fluff piece featuring all of the cast interviews you'd expect cut in quick fashion while they talk about how much they love the series and such. Fine, but disposable.
The Visual Effects of V can be redundant at times as they repeat stuff from other features, but it's still cool to see how ZOIC studios put together the visual effects. These guys worked their tails off and it shows in the final product.
There's also a commentary on the "Fruition" episode by by Executive Producers Steve Pearlman and Scott Rosenbaum and it's a weird choice. Why is it a weird choice? Simply because they chose to do commentary on the 11th episode of 12 and really gloss over the whole show instead of focusing on the episode. I have no idea why there's only one seemingly random commentary.
I dig this show and think it is off to a great start. Some of the ideas it presents can be a bit dramatic but it's clear that the cast and crew care and the show does tend to get better as it goes on. This is a great starting point and if it can stick to what it does well (as there are some good and heavy themes in there), then it'll do just fine.