Pilot: V (ABC Tuesdays at 8/7c)

by Judi



ABC, I don’t know. I might have to take back all the smack-talk about your terrible programming. Granted, that smack-talk may have resulted from endless viewings of that commercial for your AWFUL summer programming and I still hold you accountable for that. But Modern Family, Cougar Town and now V? To quote Mike Myers in that damned harness, I think I love you again.

Not that the first episode of the 1984 mini-series/series remake, aka “Hot aliens come to town promising peace but they’re really out to destroy us all”, didn’t have its issues. It’s a pilot. Pilots have issues, they just do. They try to cram in too much action and they get lazy about exposition. It’s a tough market and they have to grab you fast.

So, let’s fast-track the bad parts of last night’s series premiere. Some of the acting is, well, less than stellar (Roy in the wheelchair, Morris Chestnut trying to emote, and oh, holy rollers Scotty Wolf). Some of the dialogue made me want to die a little bit (“So, what do we do now?” “Now, we start the resistance.”) And there were a few too many leaps in what would’ve benefited from a slower build (did we need to find out right away that Ryan is a V, albeit a rebel V? And did Tyler have to join the V’s quite so fast?). Also, congratulations to the execs for using the old tried-and-true “all of the bad guys are super hot” trick. God forbid anyone on TV be less than gorgeous at all times.

And now for the good parts. Scott Wolf is back on my television screen (“Bay!” “Jules!” “Claudia!” “I’M SICK!”). Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost‘s Juliette) is pretty much the poster-child for high-concept, conspiratorial TV-dramas and rightfully so, I love her.  Alan Tudyk (our beloved Wash from Firefly) plays a bad guy! Impossible!  He of the lovable face. And though I lament that this whole “we need to start a resistance!” thing could’ve played out over the season to a more dramatic conclusion, that scene where the V’s come in and annihilate the secret meeting of would-be resistors was pretty fun to watch. A fight scene of that scale is what I always hoped for on Heroes, as it’s a fun comic-book staple, and I was always cruelly denied, forced instead to watch Angela Petrelli sulk in the back of a limo.

So, we’ll see. Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker wisely pondered in his review if we, the high-concept conspiratorial drama public, even have the time and energy to devote our hearts to ANOTHER of these shows. It’ll be especially interesting once Lost comes back in January to start its final season- it could very well be that the only Elizabeth Mitchell we’re pining for is dearly departed Juliette.


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