Sunday, June 2, 2013

TV on DVD Review: V - Season 1

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Captivating stories with characters we care about
Cons: A few minor ones, but none worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line
With this show you can
Join the fight against the V's
Addicting sci fi

"We Are of Peace.  Always."

Hollywood seems to be recycling itself more and more these days.  Quite often, I come to a property clean, never having seen the original.  Such is the case with V, a science fiction series that aired on ABC during the 2009-2010 season.  The ratings were low, but personally, I liked it.  And with the release of season one of DVD, you can catch up on this great show.

The world is surprised when one day alien space crafts arrive on earth and start hovering over big cities all around the world.  But it isn't long before Anna (Morena Baccarin) speaks to all of humanity.  She promises that they want nothing but peace and offers medical and agricultural help.  At first, her promises seem too good to be true, but as time progresses, she keeps her word at every turn and people are lining up to sing the praises of the Visitors, nicknamed V's.

Not all of humanity is fooled.  FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) has an early contact with them while investigating their first appearances that leads her to believe that they aren't quite as they appear.  With no one prepared to listen to her, she must team up with anyone she can who will join the fight to free humans from the coming danger.  In her rag tag group are Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch), a priest, and Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut), a V who is no longer under Anna's control.  But can this group keep their identity secret while still driving the V's away?

This is a classic David versus Goliath story since our heroes are against overwhelming odds every week to keep fighting, much less actually achieve a victory.  And since they don't know who to trust, they can't enlist very many people for help.  This suspense keeps me coming back each week to see if they will be able to make any headway.  The V's ultimate plan is also shrouded in mystery, although it is quite obviously very bad.  The story is very serialized, and I just can't get enough of it.

The production shut down after the first four episodes (which aired in November of 2009) to be retooled.  While I was enjoying the show so far, the 8 episodes that aired in spring of 2010 did seem stronger.  The story advanced quicker and the characters became deeper.  I really do care about what happens to them, which makes their frequent narrow escapes even more harrowing.

The acting from the two female leads is amazing.  As anyone who watched Lost knows, Elizabeth Mitchell is an amazing actress.  Morena Baccarin manages to go from menace to benevolent between breathes.  It's actually quite amazing.  The two share some scenes late in the season that are amazing because of what isn't said as much as what is.  The writing for these was perfect, but both actresses nail the scenes.

The rest of the cast is fine as well.  Laura Vandervoort plays Lisa, Anna's daughter who is more than she appears.  Scott Wolf is a TV reporter given great access to the V's as long as he reports what is requested.  The weakest link is Logan Huffman as Erica's son, but even he grows into his character by the season's end.

Being a science fiction show, there are a number of special effects, and they are quite good.  It's not a special effect heavy show, however, making them part of the story instead of writing the story around great effects.  I much prefer that.

As I already mentioned, the season consisted of twelve episodes, and they are all in this set.  There are a number of behind the scenes featurettes talking about the special effects and make up as well as creating the world for this remake.  Finally, we get a few commentary tracks, bloopers, and deleted scenes.

So sit down and watch the first season of V.  You'll be hooked before you know it as you wait to see what happens next.

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