Saturday, June 22, 2013

TV on DVD Review: V - Season 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Great acting, interesting characters, good stories
Cons: Increased violence; no ending
The Bottom Line
Plot never resolved
Since characters so real
I need to know end

Was Resistance Futile?

Are serialized, big budget shows on TV dead?  We'll find out in the next couple of weeks when two more of them debut on TV.  But it looks like the trend is dying, and the latest casualty was ABC's remake of the alien invasion drama V.  The 10 episode second season would also prove to be the last.

The season opened resolving the climax of the first season.  Anna (Morena Baccarin), the duplicitous leader of the V's (short for Visitors) has unleashed Red Sky on the Earth.  This is the first time she's showed a hint of her true colors (pun intended) to the humans, most of whom still love her.  Is this a wakeup call, or will she smooth things over so most people trust her again?

It would be nice if more humans understand the danger they were in.  Very few humans are working to figure out how to fight the invasion.  The show focuses on a small group in New York City lead by FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell).  Among her allies are Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) and freelance terrorist/soldier for hire Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure).  Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut), a V who has rebelled against Anna, used to be part of the group, but with Anna holding on to his new born daughter, where does his loyalty lie?  Similarly, news reporter Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) appears to be thinking his initial enthusiasm for the V's was incorrect.  Can the resistance trust him?

The biggest divided loyalty goes to Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), Anna's daughter.  Through her assignment to make Erica's son Tyler (Logan Huffman) fall in love with her, she begins to embrace humanity.  Will she prove to be the biggest ally the resistance has?  And what will she make of discovering her grandmother Diana (original mini-series star Jane Badler) being held prisoner on the ship?

Have you gotten the idea that the show is complex yet?  There are lots of characters and stories, but I felt the writers did a fairly good job of balancing everything.  At times, it did make things feel a little slow, but most of the time, I was hooked in what was happening.

One thing to keep in mind is that this was very much a character driven show.  Those looking for non-stop action were sure to be disappointed.  Instead, we explored what the actions they were taking were doing to the characters.  This was partially reflected in some romantic entanglements that showed up late in the season, although that was one thing I didn't care much for.  There were enough things going on already, and it just felt forced.

However, we did get plenty of intrigue as the resistance characters attempted to take down the V's.  There were lots of close calls and tense moments.

And the special effects were always outstanding.  I could never fault them on that front.

Which brings up another issue with this season, the increase of graphic violence.  Maybe this was a way they were hoping to increase ratings, but every episode had at least one scene that featured more blood than was necessary.  Yeah, it might be realistic, but I don't need realism to enjoy my TV shows.  In fact, I appreciate it when the violence is understated.

Anyway, the acting seemed fine to me.  Lots of people seem to want to attack Logan Huffman, and I'll admit his acting was on the weak side.  However, I didn't think it was that bad.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin are amazing as the leads.  These two outshone the rest of the cast every week as their characters led the various sides.

Then there's the ending.  Yes, the show was canceled after the ending was filmed.  However, it was obvious to everyone with a brain that the show wasn't going to get a season 3.  Heck, the episode order for this season was cut early in production down to 10 episodes.  If that's not a sign the end is coming, I don't know what is.  But the writers didn't head the writing on the wall and left us with a major cliffhanger.  And it was very dark.  I'd love to see what happens next, but that will never happen.  As a result of that, I wouldn't start the show.  But then again, I hate to start something when I know I'll never know the outcome.

Despite the fact that the show was canceled, we do get some extras, including deleted scenes, a gag reel, and two featurettes on the character development over the course of the show and how the visuals were done on a TV budget.  Something about how they would have moved the story forward/concluded it would have made this set something I would rush out to buy instead of something I'm not super excited about.

So, because of the cliffhanger ending and the increased violence, I'm torn on the second season of V.  It had some good characters and compelling moments, but I'm not sure it was worth watching in the end.

Season 2 Episodes:
1. Red Rain
2. Serpent's Tooth
3. Laid Bare
4. Unholy Alliance
5. Concordia
6. Siege
7. Birth Pangs
8. Uneasy Lies the Head
9. Devil in a Blue Dress
10. Mother's Day

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