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Reviewed by Will Harris
f all the past television series that have recently been bandied about for possible reboot, one suggestion which received relatively little derision was “V.” Even viewers who still recall the show fondly are generally able to admit that the special effects haven’t exactly aged well, but the storyline of alien invasion was so gripping that it’s surprisingly easy to find yourself thinking about the possibilities of trying the show again, this time with CGI effects.
Some fans of the original “V” were disappointed when ABC’s take on the show started anew rather than continuing where the old series left off, but, really, what’s the point in telling a story about alien invasion if you’re going to start after the aliens have already arrived? Executive producers Scott Peters, Scott Rosenbaum, Yves Simoneau, and Jace Hall therefore decided to play with the angle of the Visitors arriving in their gigantic ships into this post-9/11 world of ours, suggesting that we’d actually been visited earlier, albeit in a less dramatic fashion, with Visitors quietly infiltrating humanity by setting up “cells,” not unlike terrorists.
Cue the introduction of Elizabeth Mitchell, late of “Lost,” as FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans, who discovers that some of the people she’s been seeking aren’t from this world. Hell, some of the people she works with aren’t from this world – like, for instance, her partner Dale, played by Alan Tudyk, late of “Firefly.” He’s not the only alumnus of the Whedon-verse to find his way into “V,” either, though you need only have seen a single commercial for the series to recognize Morena Baccarin as Anna, High Commander and Queen of the Visitors. You already knew that Baccarin was gorgeous, but watching her in this series will show you that she’s a heck of an actress, too, as she proves herself up to the challenge of walking the necessary line between emoting in an ostensibly human fashion while desperately avoiding being too emotional. There’s also a younger generation involved in the show’s storylines, with Erica’s son, Tyler (Logan Huffman), intrigued by the life offered to him by the Visitors even as his mother is trying desperately to keep him away from their ship. It’s hard to resist, though, when he’s being tempted by Anna’s blonde bombshell of a daughter, Lisa (Laura Vandervoort).
Additional storylines include Ryan (MOrris Chestnut), a Visitor who’s been on Earth for many years and is preparing to marry a human woman, Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto), who is blissfully unaware that she’s engaged to an alien. He has no interest in pursuing Anna’s plans of world domination, but he and Valerie both fall onto Anna’s radar when it’s discovered that Valerie is pregnant. There’s also Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch), who’s torn between the “miracles” offered by the Visitors and those promised to him by his God, and if this show was on FX or AMC, you can bet that we’d be getting a lot more religion-centric stories than we do here.
Season One of “V” suffered somewhat from ABC’s decision to split it into halves, airing four episodes in the fall and the remainder of the season in the spring. It’s hard to blame those who opted out of returning with the show after its network-instigated hiatus, as it hadn’t really started to fire on all cylinders at that point, but those who stuck with the series found that the later episodes did a fine job of exploring some of the character intricacies while still offering up awesome stuff like Anna on the attack and Valerie’s alien pregnancy. By the final episode of the season, there were lots of reasons to come back. Here’s hoping some of those who left will risk a return as well.
Special Features: Although the set includes deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and audio commentary by executive producers Scott Rosenbaum and Steve Pearlman on Episode 11 (“Fruition”), it’s the featurettes that will probably please fans the most. “Breaking Story: the World of V” looks into the challenges of bringing “V” to a new generation of viewers, while the various effects of the series are explored in “An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of ‘V’” and “The Visual FX of ‘V.’” Lastly, there’s “The Actor’s Journey from Human to V,” where the cast talks about the challenges in tackling the material.