Each of us recall the moment we were told about the World Trade Center attacks. Every adult remembers where they were when JFK was assassinated.
ABC’s revival of ‘V,” an old science fiction drama, uses these monumental, terrifying moments in history to introduce us to the events of a typical morning in the lives of the world’s population.
Scott Peters recreates the successful NBC mini-series from 1984-85 about an alien invasion on earth and has very elegantly updated it to modern day.
Peters follows in original creator Kenneth Johnson’s footsteps by telling the story of the arrival of this alien raceon earth in enormous spaceships above 29 cities throughout the world.
While I have not seen the original version of the show, it is by no means a prerequisite for ABC’s updated reincarnation of the show. The plot unfolds with a fast pace and immediately presents us with intriguing possibilities.
The Visitors (as they call themselves) quickly deliver a message to the world’s population through their leader Anna (Morena Baccarin of ‘Firefly”). The beautiful and eloquent Anna quickly gains the approval of the watching crowds around the globe who applaud in awe after her proclamation of peace and equal opportunity. In return for use of the Earth’s water, the Visitors will offer help with technology, disease and universal health care.
To a world in economic turmoil, wars waging and disease spreading rapidly, the Visitors may as well have swooped in with capes proclaiming themselves to be modern day superheroes.
But seriously, since when, in the history of science fiction television and film, has an alien race who states, ‘We come in peace” really ever come in peace? Anyone? Anything? No, I didn’t think so. Except maybe E.T. or the little green toys in ‘Toy Story.”
While the majority of the world seems to be more than willing to drink the Kool-aid of these visitors to earth, FBI Agent Erica Evans (‘Lost’s” fabulous Elizabeth Mitchell) isn’t quite as willing. Mitchell gives a great performance as a tough FBI agent trying to balance her career while playing the mom to teenage son Tyler (Logan Huffman) in the midst of a failed marriage. Tyler, to his mother’s dismay, quickly finds himself tempted by the Visitors whose good looks get the better of his testosterone.
As Tyler takes a tour of the incredibly well done spacecraft of the Visitors, Erica spends her time following a lead on a spike in chatter in a certain terrorist cell with her partner Dale Maddox (Alan Tudyk of ‘Dollhouse” and ‘Firefly”).
If you don’t want any plot spoilers from the show, skip over the next few paragraphs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the end of the episode, Erica realizes that there have been sleeper Visitors inhabiting Earth for years, studying and learning about humans in an effort to mirror our ways to their advantage. We discover that the human mask the Visitors wear is in fact just a skin easily shed to reveal their true reptilian structure. What the Visitors truly have planned for Earth is unclear, but it is certainly intriguing.
‘V” does an exceptional job at demonstrating the kind of effect an event such as this would have on our world. Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) finds himself with a church known for its lack of attendance, suddenly filled with people looking to faith for answers. Scott Wolf portrays the handsome news anchor Chad, who is given the chance of a lifetime when offered an exclusive interview with Anna.
Despite her apparent charm, Chad finds himself taken aback by her forward attitude, but hangs in there for the sake of climbing the career ladder. Erica finds herself amongst the few skeptics willing to rebel in a dangerous war against these creatures.
The recycled premise of this show offers a gripping and exciting pilot episode. Throughout the first hour of the series, Peters focuses much more on developing the plot than the characters. While Mitchell and Baccarin do a particularly good job capturing the audience’s attention with Erica and Anna, a lot of the others seem to lack immediate depth.
But this seems to be a side effect of an episode that needs to unravel much of the plot in a relatively short amount of time. It will be interesting to see how the following episodes unravel.
ABC has chosen to release the first four episodes for the next few weeks; however, the rest of the series will not be released until March. I can guarantee we will be left on the edge of our seats with a nice large cliff- hanger to bring us back several months from now. In the meantime, sit back and watch a show that will most certainly make your skin crawl.
Watch ‘V” on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Rosenberg is a member of
the class of 2012.