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"V" Screens at Comic-Con: A Review

Just got back to my hotel following a triple screening of Warner Brothers pilots during Preview Night at Comic-Con: Human Target (based on the DC comic of the same name, and much better than anyone might have expected it to be), Vampire Diaries (which does feel as though it's trying to cash in on the Twilight craze, though the bottom line is that no one is going to believe the two vampire brothers can possibly pass as teenagers) and "V".

V - Promo Image_thumb    It should be noted that "V" got the best response of the three pilots (followed closely by Human Target), and for good reason. The performances by the cast are universally good, and it successfully updates the premise from the '80s original, replacing the allegory to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust with many modern concerns, among them terrorism and the cause of our current financial crisis. Also separating it from the original (though how successful this will be is something that will be revealed as the show goes on) is the notion that the Visitors have been living among us for some time and that they've been undermining our society for decades.
   The biggest problem with the pilot is the pacing, and it ain't because things unfold too slowly. Perhaps positioning itself as the anti-Lost in terms of not wanting to be so convoluted in its storytelling that it overwhelms the viewer, this "V" is an express train in terms of plot development. The pilot is about 43 minutes in length, and in that time we meet (oh-so-briefly) the different characters, literally setting them up in about a minute each. From there, the Visitors arrive in 29 motherships hovering over major cities of the world, their leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) addresses the world via a giant holographic image of sorts projected from the underside of the vessels, she tells us that the Visitors "are of peace, always," and for some dopey reason everyone breaks into applause on the street (didn't get it in the trailer, don't get it now), the populace instantly takes to them and starts looking at them as deities, especially when a crippled man is cured in one of their "healing centers"; we learn the Visitors are recruiting the young, discoverthey've been secretly living among us, are told that their plans are actually nefarious, and the early stages of a resistance movement is pulled together, declaring that they will fight the so-called Vs.
   All in 43 minutes!
   As noted earlier, those 43 minutes are pretty terrific and the cast does a nice job (a more elaborate review will be offered over the next couple of days), but there seems to be more of a need for nuance in the storytelling. Some of these things should be unfolded more slowly, or else the show can very quickly become an "us versus them" set-up that could become tiresome. Again, maybe this is being purposely designed for the audience that lives on the web, seeking and getting instant gratification. It will be interesting to see how the stories will unfold from this point forward. 
   All of this may sound critical, but I'll definitely "V" there, and it's recommended you do the same. -- Edward Gross

1 Yes
0 No
EdGross
7/23/2009

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4 Comments

try, try, try as i might, I just can't seem to get excited about this (even though I seem to be the only one!)... I'm having no deep response to this (unlike the original) and for me, if the pacing is all wrong (and this was my initial response when reading the leaked pilot) and it crams in 43 mins what the original built up beautifully and ominously over 4 hrs- then that's a MAJOR problem! This show has apparently 4 years to work through it's story, yet I'm incredibly sceptical this isn't simply going to be yet another non-magical network tv sci-fi show... and yes, i judge it against the original which was indeed something extremely special... regardless of the hype, this still sits uncomfortably with me... (nicely written review though ed!)
cwg - 7/23/2009, 2:18 PM
Aloha Ed.. Yeah, I feel the same about the applauding.. Honestly, haven't these people seen the original "V"? I'm still waiting for the day we have "Visitors" whether they here in peace or not, I'm going Donovan on their ass! LOL.. Look forward to seeing your full review..
MadBeeOtch - 7/24/2009, 1:27 AM
Was able to see screening as well and agree with almost everything said.I will forgive pacing as it is the pilot episode. They are always a bit clunky - that being said - it's still one of the best pilots I've seen yet. I also find he storyline that the visitors have been here for ages extremely interesting. Are you going to Saturday???? I need to find out about where they are taking the George/Ryan story. What happened to them the first time with the Visitors and where do they plan on taking us. Also - after watching pilot and the way they introduced George at the end (Georgie?) - why is David Peck not at Comic Con. Fantastic performance, cool idea, and mysterious introduction to character. I also LOVED E.M. and Morena B. - Just an awsome cast overall. I'll be giving my friends I (heart) V buttons when I get back.
jen5forever - 7/25/2009, 1:45 AM
Having met members of the cast and the producers for interviews over the course of Comic-Con, I can say that "V" seems to be in good hands. I really think they've got something here that will connect with people.
EdGross - 7/27/2009, 1:22 PM

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