V Review: Pilot

We are of peace. Sometimes.

If you missed the premiere, ABC.com will have it online November 7th.

Title: Pilot


Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans
Joel Gretch as Father Jack Landry
Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols
Morena Baccarin as Anna

And the rest on IMDB…


An extraterrestrial race arrives on Earth with seemingly good intentions, only to slowly reveal their true machinations the more ingrained into society they become.

High Points

  • I was pleasently surprised that the terrorism motif worked. I didn’t have a good feeling about it when it was teased, but it really works.
  • Very nice looking effects. Polished and clean.
  • No shaky-cam. I’m done with this trick in Sci-Fi.
  • Ryan’s “secret.” It’s not often a TV show surprises me, but this one got me and I liked it.

Low Points

  • Tyler. Not so much the character, that plot line will be critical to the overall story, it’s the performance. I just want to punch his smarmy face, not sympathize with him.
  • Too short a premiere. They should have gone with a two-hour premiere to stretch out the drama a little more.
  • Calling the Vistors “Vs” is annoying. The V in the original came from graffitti from the resistance (mimicking the Vs painted by the resistance during World War II for “Victory”). V can mean whatever they want, but “Visitors” has a far creepier ring to it.

The Scores

Originality: 4 out of 6. Remake/Reimagining of the original takes several points away, but it’s definitely different enough to set it apart.

Effects: 6/6. Excellent work from the same crew that brought us Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Minus the shaky-cam.

Story: 5/6. I’m hooked. I was a huge fan of the original and I’m liking the new version as well.

Acting: 4/6. The main cast is solid and believable. Tyler isn’t cutting it, maybe that’ll change as he gets in deeper.

Production: 4/6. There were some cheesy moments in the final fight scene, but all-in-all it looked good.

Emotional response: 4/6. Again, I’m hooked into the story and want to see where it leads.

Overall: 4/6. It’s not the original (and that’s a good thing, we don’t need a complete remake), but it’s topical with nods back to the original and the events it originally parallelled.

The V Pilot receives thirty-one out of forty-two.

21 replies on “V Review: Pilot”

  1. I, too, am roped in already. It did feel a bit short, a two hour pilot would have been better. They only get 4 episodes before the Olympics knocks them off the air for a while, so a longer pilot would also have helped establish the show more, IMHO.

    I like the terrorism angle, global destabilization and so on. Given the state of the world these days, it’s actually very timely and compelling.

    I like Morena Baccarin with longer hair, but I think part of the reason it is so short is that something in the shape of her face (naturally? makeup? cgi? who knows) made it seem like there really was a lizard hiding right under her skin. She does a great job at being subtly creepy.

    Side note: How should spoilers be handled with this? Some of the big points e.g. Lizard people[/spoilers] have been out of the bag for decades. :-)

    • It’s not a big secret. Hell one of the online ads show Anna with a slitted pupil, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

      Oh and King Kong dies at the end, the Titanic sinks, and Rosebud is…well, that movie you should watch for the ending.

  2. I agree that the pace of this episode seemed a little fast. But I can understand why. Myself, I wanted to see the lizards, but I also wanted a bit more tension. But its understandable because everyone knew it was coming. What was cool was WHO the lizards were.

    They’ve taken us a good way down the road of where the original series went, so now they can move a bit more within their own retelling.

    Also, did anyone else get the feeling that _this_ time the aliens will have control of the alien baby….. if that happens in this series…. You should be able to guess the storyline I’m referencing.

    • I did notice the gender reversal on that, but who knows how that will shake out. Of course, that assumes the whole star-child plot line will exist. It was probably one of the weakest plot points of the miniseries, and gave it a sort of Deus Ex type ending.

  3. Uhhh… nobody mentioning that 2-ton white elephant in the Dining Room?

    OK, I’ll bite: Clearly, all the hopey-changey talk, and that final bit of dialogue about the “most dangerous weapon — Devotion,” makes “V” the flag-bearer for Pop Culture Opposition to the New Administration.

    About, as they say, friggin’ time.

    I don’t know who the lead writer for the series is, but I hope he does a really, really buttoned-down job on the next tax return he files, cuz you know the IRS will be going over it with a fine-toothed comb…

  4. “Too short a premiere” is an understatement. This one hour contained about 4 hours worth of material. Way, way too fast. I’m hoping that’s because this first episode is designed to be a drawn-out version of “previously, on V.” They’re just getting us up to speed on what’s happened so far so that they can get to the story they really want to tell. If that’s not what they’re doing, then I fear for this show.

    Calling the Visitors “Vs” sounds like a very contemporary spin on what the 24-hour news cycle has brought us. Everything must be catchy, and I hope that this show is using “Vs” as a parody of that, rather than actually trying to be catchy. We shall see.

    I kinda agree with Uncle Coffee about the Obama criticism. I’m expecting it’s going to stop at the “here’s some familiar-sounding stuff to get your attention,” rather than a full-blown criticism, though. This series was likely written during the campaign, possibly going into the early weeks of Obama’s actual presidency. It’s kinda hard to criticise in advance, and if you’re going to go so far as to draw direct parallels from your lizard aliens bent on world domination, and the destruction of our way of life, to a new President of the United States, you better get it right. Otherwise you come across as about as sane as Glenn Beck.

      • You just had to make me read that, didn’t you… It was like reading a less deranged form of Timecube.

    • Too short a premiere” is an understatement. This one hour contained about 4 hours worth of material.

      Only in the united states of filler – 4 hours you gotta be kidding? You perceive things that slowly???

      What they showed us could have been reduced to 25-30 pure minutes (ie, real minutes, not commercially inflated)

      • I saw no less than 4 plot threads that were each worthy of 30 minutes. OK, maybe I like my stories to be a bit on the slow side. I like to see a fair bit of character establishment, followed by how people soak into the gravity of their situation in stories like these. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic, but the V premiere was nothing but short-attention-span-theater.

  5. I was cautiously optimistic, and I am glad to say it worked out well. Sure, it had its rough spots, but what pilot doesn’t. All in all, I was thrilled with it. Ryan’s “secrete” surprised me too, and that doesn’t happen very often. Not because I am an especially astute observer, but because television writers are generally lazy. Based solely upon this pilot, I think this show has much potential.

  6. I was generally pleased, even with the rough spots. The opening sequence, where the Visitors show up everywhere was good. However, what really spoiled it for me was when the National Guard troops appeared everywhere. Does New York really have a garrison on tap at a moment’s notice?

    I could have done with a bit more development of Erica’s relationship with her child. A single mother having problems with her child isn’t new, but he practically RAN to the Vs. I wanted more foundation for that. I liked how Anna waved the fruit of temptation in from of (the news guy), and how he took it. If you want allegory, to me that was the Serpent and Eve all over again.

    I am skeptical about the way the resistance underground was presented. Dramatically I can see why you need to put them in place. But how are they so well developed and informed (e.g. they know to look for human skullbone, vs have been starting wars for years), yet (so far) they are completely discredited as terrorists and crackpots. Has the infiltration gone that far? We need to see more on that.

    I’m not buying the Obama parallel except very superficially. A new wave upsets the old order and pushes it aside. Similar to an extent, but the second bump is that the Vs really are a powerful new external force, not an internal sea change in attitude. This whole thing is going to develop into a three sided “war”. The Vs and their supporters, the hard care resistance, and the wishy-washy middle. But practically every struggle breaks down that way. In this case, you are dealing with two species, not just two partisan factions.

  7. Funny how people are saying it was too fast.

    It wasn’t! Hell, it was borderline slow. As is most US tv today, slow slow slow – get a bloody move on!

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