V - The Series Premier
For those who remember (or the generation like me who caught the reruns), the original V was a miniseries in the early 80’s that involved aliens coming to earth making all kinds of promises, but turned out to be attempting a take-over. This turn of events prompted a group of regular folk to band together and rebel against their pseudo alien overlords.
By today’s standards, that miniseries, and the regular series that followed, is painfully cheesy. The acting is not very well done, and the special effects are woefully dated. The one element that still holds up is the story, which is a universal tale about normal folk overcoming great odds and achieving immeasurable success.
Naturally, the higher-ups in TV land thought that the "success" of the Bionic Woman remake and the Knight Rider remake (read: epic fail) could easily be applied to V. After the premiere, only one word came to mind… meh.
First off, let’s just say that the show definitely gave V a fresh coat of paint. This is a series for high-def. The scenes of the spaceships are gorgeous. At one point we get a very detailed fly-through of the interiors of the mothership. Obviously scenes like this were done at very high expense.
Sadly, that was the only real highlight of the premiere. What the show loses from what that mini-series was able to achieve was a slow build-up. The original rebellion had a very organic feeling, as you watched it build up from very humble beginnings to a full-on attack force. The modern retelling just jumps right into the fray with a rebellion already formed (it quickly gets deformed, but that’s for a future episode to explore). And while the original had the feeling that this was all done by ordinary people who were just trying to figure things out as they went along, this new take has professionals doing very uncommon people jobs. For instance, the main heroine is changed from a doctor in the original to an FBI terrorist hunter. Plus, the reveal that the Vistors are up to something is way too apparent way too quickly.
It’s odd that the only thing that makes the original stand out today is the one thing that got pushed aside so they could bring in name TV actors and flashy CGI graphics. I know you shouldn’t judge a series by its premiere, like judging a book by its cover. However, this show really needs to remember that at it’s core, it’s always about the story and the characters, everything else comes second.