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V: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2009)

 



V: The Complete First Season (2009)
 

Actors: Morena Baccarin, Elizabeth Mitchell
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs: 3
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: November 2, 2010


Special Features

  • The Actor's Journey from Human to V featurette: Featuring the principal cast of V discussing the techniques, challenges and rewards they faced in terms of bringing V alive for a new generation
  • An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V featurette: Contemporary techniques of special effects makeup application and execution are revealed
  • Breaking Story: The World of V featurette: An in-depth look into how the producers were able to create a fresh perspective on the V mythology
  • The Visual FX of V featurette: A primer on the visual effects used to help enhance V, featuring a guided tour through ZOIC studios, the visual FX powerhouse responsible for the amazing CGI
  • Commentary by executive producers Scott Rosenbaum and Steve Pearlman
  • Bloopers
  • Deleted scenes
     

Movie:
 

Results are decidedly mixed in the 2009 remake of V, the 1980s TV series about alien invaders pretending to be our friends, and interest vary from episode to episode.

Slow-moving and dull at times, things pick up towards the end in time for the season finale cliff-hanger which ups the ante. Perhaps the second season will be better, but one gets the idea that the writers have been tasked with stretching out the story for as many seasons as they can.

V kicks off promisingly, but gets mired down pretty quickly. At times it forgets that it is actually a remake of V, a show about popular resistance to alien invaders, and comes across as any show in recent years that had mismatched FBI agents investigating alien conspiracies. Yup, this V feels more like the X-Files! (Turns out that the alien visitors have been infiltrating human society for years before their spaceships appeared over our cityscapes – a visual cue writer Kenneth Johnson no doubt stole from Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End.)

The original series was trashy yet fun; the sort of thing you were ashamed to admit to watching, but still devotedly followed each week. The new series updates the material with modern fashions and up-to-date special effects, but it loses the sense of fun along the way. It takes itself, oh so, seriously as it tries to pull a Battlestar Galactica and hang all kinds of deeper post-9/11 allegorical meanings onto the narrative.

However, the show can never fully wrap its mind around the truism that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The original series was egalitarian in spirit. Anyone could be part of the human resistance against the aliens whereas our heroes here are a representative of law and order (an FBI agent) and a representative of organized religion (a priest of all things!). The ‘Eighties series was a cautionary tale about the dangers of fascism, the remake is about the hazards of having a family member join a cult it seems. In fact, V stood for Victory in the first series but here vees refer to the alien visitors themselves. Perhaps the producers figured that PSP-addled teens wouldn’t know the first thing about WWII and think that V stood for Vendetta in any case . . .

THE DISCS: The DVD offers good quality. Beyond the uptick in visual quality and the fact that it uses two discs instead of three, the Blu-ray offers nothing discernibly different from the DVD. Both formats include a routine array of extras: producers’ audio commentary in episode 11, some cut scenes, and four 10-to-15 minute featurettes (covering the genesis of the new series, the make-up and visual effects, and cast interviews about the challenges of the show). Unless you really need to see that extra bit of visual quality, you don’t need to spend an extra $10 on the Blu-ray set.

WORTH IT? Average sci-fi is better than no sci-fi at all and right now is a bad time for science fiction fans when it comes to TV. There aren’t a lot of SF shows out there and V does have its moments. However it is kinda unjust that V got renewed for a second season while a superior show such as FlashForward got cancelled.

RECOMMENDATION: Slow pacing undermines this new V. So does the fact that it is a remake. Still, it has its moments and if you can lower your expectations then it is a passable way to help pass the evenings.


- James O'Ehley, with additional reporting by Rob Vaux


 



 

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