Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pilot Screener Review - V

V (script review: V)
Status: Midseason on ABC

I'm very much looking forward to comparing this to Day One, once I actually get a copy of Day One. I liked V's script much more than I liked Day One's, but as visual effects-heavy, alien invasion series... it's all in the visuals. You all know exactly what this series is about. Aliens, subterfuge, a select few humans fighting against the aliens while the rest of humanity buys into their lies.

I was very impressed with the effects work and the production design in this pilot. The aliens' spaceship, from the outside and in, is cool, as is the massive projection of Anna, the aliens' leader (Morena Baccarin... sporting a tragically too short pixie haircut... someone transfuse some extensions, stat!) We get one glimpse at the real aliens underneath the human guise, and it's good and creepy (if not as jump out of your seat as I recall from the original series... but there's plenty of time for that).

There were two annoying production issues from me right in the first minute, that made me gird my loins to watch the rest... and I was pleasantly surprised with the rest. First, when we meet Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), she is asleep. With her badge open that shows her FBI credentials. That annoyed me. I mean, who does that? But I forgive it... as it's an extremely fast, visual way to meet her.

Less forgivable, but hopefully reshootable, is the exterior of Father Jack's church (Jack is played by The 4400's Joel Gretsch). There is a small flight of stairs leading down from the doors, a platform, then more stairs leading to the sidewalk. What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, we meet Jack as he leaves the church. Waiting on the platform is a lonesome man in a wheelchair. How did he get up there (there are no ramps)? No one seems to be there to help him up or down. Yes, this is nitpicky, but it's such a stupid location management mistake and it bothered me.

Anyway, after that, you're just sucked straight into the "alien spaceships! OMG!" storyline. I'm never going to be Scott Wolf's biggest fan, so I can't really comment on whether he does a good job as the self-serving Chad Decker, the reporter chosen by Anna to be the aliens' liaison with humanity (through interviews where he isn't allowed to ask negative questions or portray the aliens in a negative light). I felt that Erica's son (played by Logan Huffman) needed to be recast. He's supposed to be a loser who finds purpose and meaning by following / obsessing over / being devoted to the Visitors (Vs for short)... and he just didn't feel right in the role.

Solid entertainment, that has the benefit (versus Flash Forward) of a constant, in your face, antagonistic presence. Week to week, there's a source of story drive... the aliens are up to no good, how can we win this war against them, piece by piece, moment by moment, plot by plot (whereas Flash Forward is an investigation into a larger mystery that we know won't come to fruition for a good long while).

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