REVIEW: V (2009) – SEASON 2

Starring

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Joel Gretsch (The Vampire Diaries)
Logan Huffman (Final Girl)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Scott Wolf (Go)
Charles Mesure (The Magicians)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jane Badler (Neighbours)
Christopher Shyer (J.Edgar)
Mark Hildreth (Planet Hulk)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Roark Critchlow (Batman: Year One)
Scott Hylands (Decoy)
Bret Harrison (Orange County)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Chilton Crane (50/50)
Jonathan Walker (Red)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Nicholas Lea (The X-FIles)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
Ona Grauer (Elysium)
Peter Bryant (Sanctuary)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Adrian Holmes (Skyscraper)
Samantha Ferris (Stargate SG.1)
Charlie Carrick (Reign)
Marc Singer (Beauty and The Beast)

I loved the original 1984 miniseries (and the spin-off and short-lived TV series) that spawned this big-budget televised reboot of V. It was good old-fashioned cult sci-fi fun, layered with a surprisingly morose setting, dark political subtext, some hokey but amusing effects, and a great little story about a rather horrifying alien invasion.The reboot goes in a few new directions, taking the source material a bit more seriously. The show is layered with popular cult stars and seasoned with some pretty ambitious visual effects for a series of this budget. Alas, while the high concept series did earn praise from fans and critics, it just didn’t have much of an audience.Like so many network sci-fi series before it, V was doomed from the get-go. An expensive show must yield big ratings, otherwise an already wary network will cut you loose. V is yet another show that really didn’t have a chance to find its footing, or its audience. Many, admittedly, were probably turned off by the show simply because it’s a relaunch of a popular cult miniseries. While others are turned away for the same reason any sci-fi show fails on network TV – they fear it’ll be canceled after a few episodes.Joel Gretsch and Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)True, V did make it into its second season, and I commend the network for sticking with the series for as long as they did. The second season of V did show some improvement, too. The narrative was tightened in certain spots, with a better focus on character. The mythos and mystery of the series worked quite well. And there were some solid episodes throughout the show’s second run. But the writing was on the wall at the end of Season 1. V would not last. And it didn’t.

REVIEW: V (2009)- SEASON 1

Starring

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Joel Gretsch (The Vampire Diaries)
Logan Huffman (Final Girl)
Lourdes Benedicto (Drive Me Crazy)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Scott Wolf (Go)

Laura Vandervoort and Logan Huffman in V (2009)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Charles Mesure (The Magicians)
Christopher Shyer (J.Edgar)
Mark Hildreth (Planet Hulk)
David Richmond-Peck (Pacific Rim)
Roark Critchlow (Batman: Year One)
Alan Tudyk (Doom Patrol)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Scott Hylands (Decoy)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Britt Irvin (Hot Rod)
Ingrid Kavelaars (Dreamcatcher)
Darcy Laurie (Chaos)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Kyle Labine (Freddy vs Jason)
Michael Filipowich (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Ryan Kennedy (Blade: The Series)
Nicholas Lea (The X-FIles)
Samantha Ferris (Salvation)
Michael Trucco (Hush)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Erica Carroll (When Calls The Heart)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behavior)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)

If you’re old enough, you remember the original incarnations of V and V: The Final Battle. Me? I used to stay up late to watch them when they were re-run as a child. I was fascinated by the Visitors and when I learned ABC has rebooting the show, I was on-board for, at the very least, the beginning. Did I want to stay after that? Find out after the jump.For those not old enough, or not nerd enough, to be familiar with the original V series, you needn’t worry as this series stands on its own legs. Planet Earth is in turmoil. We starve. We struggle. We fight. We repeat that pattern ad nauseum. You’re all too familiar with the drill. Imagine one day, you looked up to the sky and saw massive spaceships. It’s not you alone, either; it’s the whole world. My first thought, of course, would be “oh expletive!” because I’ve seen enough science fiction, but now imagine that a very pretty, and very human looking face, assures you that these newcomers are “Of peace… always.” Add to that an offer of cures and technologies to raise us up from our daily struggles. Sounds too good to be true, right? A small group of people start to peel back the layers and find the cold, reptilian heart beating beneath. Season One of V tracks the arrival of the Visitors and the formation and first steps of defiance of the resistance.Joel Gretsch and Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)This series rests on the shoulders of two mothers duking it out (not literally, at least not yet…) for the fate of their two respective worlds. Bringing it home for Team Earth, Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, The Lyon’s Den) in the role of Erica Evans, a counterterrorism agent who stumbles into the V conspiracy. Not only is she an actual mother, to Logan Huffman’s Tyler, but she also plays the part of our Earth Mother. With her on Team Earth, conflicted priest Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch – The 4400, Taken), a human-friendly, Fifth Column member Visitor Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut – Boyz in the Hood, Like Mike) and gun-for-hire Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure – Crossing Jordan, Xena: Warrior Princess). Fronting Team V, Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Serenity) in the role of Anna. Mother to Tyler‘s love interest Lisa, portrayed by Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Instant Star), Anna is the face of her people. It is the duplicitous nuances that make Baccarin’s performance so special. Christopher Shyer (The Practice, Whistler) plays Marcus, Anna’s second in command. The children, Tyler and Lisa, are caught in the middle with their budding romance. Sitting on the fence between the Vs and the resistance is Chad Decker, played by Scott Wolf (Party of Five, Go). Chad is a reporter with a direct line to Anna and becomes her main PR man. He’s also apparently “healed” of a brain ailment discovered by V technology. Because he owes his life and his career to the Visitors, he’s willingly kept in Anna’s pocket. His loyalties come into question as the season progresses. NERD ALERT – look for cameos from Lexa Doig (Andromeda) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, I, Robot) in the deliciously nastiest role I’ve seen him play.The strength of the series comes in the humanity of the interactions, even amongst the aliens. The season ends with Anna getting a taste of human emotion and the consequences that brings for humanity. Thankfully, mystery continues as we still don’t know why the Visitors have come to Earth. We just know, it doesn’t bode well for the planet’s current residents.Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)Accessible for newbies yet also interesting for the old-timers, I’ll be with this show until they translate a Visitor book as “To Serve Man.” This collection allows anyone who missed it on-air, or anyone who wants a refresher, to get up to speed before Season 2.

REVIEW: V – THE SERIES (1984)

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap)
Jennifer Cooke (Friday The 13th – Part VI)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Jeff Yagher (Mr and Mrs Smith)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)

Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Pamela Ludwig (Over The Edge)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2)
Nicky Katt (The Brave One)
Sybil Danning (Halloween)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Anthoyn De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
James Daughton (Spies Like Us)
Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Brett Cullen (Lost)

Marc Singer, Faye Grant, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)

I was really happy to hear that the struggles of Mike Donovan and the rest of the resistance were coming back as a series. the series follow up was always dismissed as crass exploitation of the franchise.liberationday2Highlights of the series were –

1. This series isn’t bad. It is not as good as the two mini-series but it is entertaing in its own right. I also think that this show was innovative in the field of TV Science Fiction. Prior to “V”, Science Fiction was very episodic. Star Trek, Space: 1999, Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers and to a certain extent, Battlestar Galactica all told self contained stories. The plot was resolved by the end of the hour. “V” The series was different in this respect. It had story arcs and continuing plot threads. Every episode ended in a cliff-hanger and it left you wanting more. In this aspect, it has a modern flavor.

Jane Badler in V (1984)

2. People could die on “V”. For most TV shows, you know that the heroes will make it in the end. Not on “V”. Over the 19 episodes, long-standing characters like Dr. Maxwell and Elias Taylor buy the farm surprisingly abruptly. This raised the stakes dramatically and kept the viewer involved in the narrative.Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, June Chadwick, Blair Tefkin, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)3. The cast was great. Marc Singer was perfectly cast as heroic Mike Donovan. Micheal Ironside ruled as perfect tough guy Ham. Jane Badler was very memorable as Uber-Bitch, Diana. June Chadwick was suitably catty as Diana’a rival Lydia. Duncan Rehgar was fantastic as Charles, the leader’s envoy. His fight with Donovan in “The Hero” is classic. He was a great villain and it is a great shock when he is killed after a mere 4 episodes.Jane Badler and Marc Singer in V (1984)4. There is a sense that this is merely a peek at a global war with the Visitors. For the first 12 episodes or so, The Freedom Network newscaster, Howard K. Smith ( A real journalist by the way) reads the headlines on the state of the war. We learn that the Visitors are sweeping through Spain and so forth. This makes us understand that The resistance in LA is only one story in this global conflict. It really gives the story a certain gravitas.

"V" Jane Badler 1984 NBC

5. The stories are often action adventure tales that are on par with anything that was on the air in the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, the sociological aspects that made the first mini series so memorable are ignored completely. The show, even though it is watered down, is entertaining in its own right.Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)As the series goes on, it is clear that there was less and less money bugeted for each episode. The first episode, “Liberation Day” has an outdoor crowd scene with hundreds of extras. By the last episode, we only have the main characters walking around on the standing sets. By the end, the production valules of the show looked rather thread bare. The producers decided to exploit the alien lizards by showing them without their Human masks. This was a mistake. The people who created the lizard makeups were not as artful as John Chambers. As a result the lizard appliances were very stiff and immoble. By showing the Lizards in their natural state too often, it undermined their credibility as a frightening threat. The full face lizards were about as scary and convincing as a halloween slip on mask. It became a bit silly. I hate cliffhangers that are unresolved. I can’t understand why they would create a cliffhanger for a show that was doing poorly in the ratings. It is really unfair to viewers who watched every episode.One can only wonder how it would of been resolved.

REVIEW: V – THE FINAL BATTLE

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Peter Nelson (Die Hard 2)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
David Packer (Robocop)
Neva Patterson (An Affair To Remember)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)
Denise Galik (Two For The Money)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Andrew Prine (The Road West)
Viveka Davis (Timecode)
Jenny O’Hara (Mystic River)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 &2)
Mickey Jones (Sling Blade)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Diane Carey (Ugly Betty)

Jane Badler, Marc Singer, and Faye Grant in V (1984)Kenneth Johnson’s miniseries V was a huge May Sweeps success for NBC back in ’83. His story of alien invaders was a smartly veiled allegory for the unspeakable tyranny of the Nazi regime and the corrupting influence of power. But when the network clamoured for a longer sequel on a tighter budget and timetable, well, Johnson opted out and, sadly, it shows. V: The Final Battle (1984, 267 minutes) revels in constantly ripping off the lizards’ phony human faces and showing them tossing live critters down their gullets, while dramatically upping the gunplay, explosions and, in turn, the body count. Sure there’s some lip service paid to the not-so-niceness of fascism, the moral dilemma of abortion and especially relevant today, the sobering horrors of biological warfare.Jane Badler, Richard Herd, Peter Nelson, and Andrew Prine in V: The Final Battle (1984)When last we saw Julie and Donovan (Faye Grant and Marc Singer) they’d led their rag-tag resisters through a successful Visitor scale tanning, thus providing some measure of hope for an end to E.T. tyranny. Well, not so fast. There’s nearly five more hours to fill. This produces three cliffhanger’d together episodes of our plucky human heros cooking up and executing schemes to rain on the reptilian parade. First up, they decide to expose the alien conspiracy by yanking off Supreme Commander John’s doughy mug mid-press conference (Richard Herd). Later, they attack a pumping station that’s sucking the Earth’s oceans aboard the Visitor mothership. Then, as the title implies, there’s the final battle involving red talcum powder.Marc Singer and Frank Ashmore in V: The Final Battle (1984)New comer Michael Ironside stomps into the resistance group with the subtlety of a drunken Clydesdale and takes to telling everyone what clueless yahoos they are. And he’s RIGHT most of the time! As Ham Tyler, his checkered, mercenary past and gaggle of TNT-happy goons provide Julie’s neuvo-guerillas some much needed education in carnage creation.Jane Badler, Sarah Douglas, and Andrew Prine in V: The Final Battle (1984)There’s also the inevitable return of Robert Englund as Willie, everyone’s favorite cuddly value-sized iguana, who still can’t quite grasp the English language. Lizard Queen Diana (Jane Badler) now spends much of her time honing her bitchery by making humans wear unflattering white tights whilst subjecting them to her riotously absurd Brainwash-O-Tron. But the biggest jaw dropper of the miniseries is Robin (Blair Tefkin) offered herself up in the original as a one-woman welcoming party and got herself knocked up with a space-alien baby. When Ms. Horny Toad sprouts ghastly scales around her neck, it’s a pretty goldang strong indication the delivery ain’t gonna be anywhere near a Hallmark moment!

REVIEW: V – THE MINI SERIES

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Peter Nelson (Die Hard 2)
David Packer (Robocop)
Neva Patterson (An Affair To Remember)
Tommy Petersen (An Officer and a Gentleman)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)
Bonnie Bartlett (Twins)
Leonardo Cimino (Dune)
Richard Herd (The China Syndrome)
Evan C. Kim (The Dead Pool)
Richard Lawson (Poltergeist)
Andrew Prine (The Road West)
Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
Viveka Davis (Timecode)
Diane Carey (Ugly Betty)

Jenny O'Hara in V (1983)Down from the clouds lumber a horde of value-sized flying saucers that creep eerily across the skies before parking over the population centers of the world. Earthlings cower below, their puny fighter jets utterly unable to approach even one of the craft, when finally, a message emanates from the invaders: “How y’all doin’?” Turns out they’re visitors from somewhere near Sirius, who just stopped by for a few billion cups of some mineral we’ve got that’d save their dieing planet. In exchange, they won’t kill us, er, they’ll give us technology. Weird thing is these rather ordinary looking folks don’t seem much like space aliens except that when they talk they sound like they’re on crummy cell phones and they insist on wearing cheesy Blue Blocker shades. Things are great until a nosey reporter by the name of Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) stows aboard the ship hovering over Los Angeles and comes face to scales with the truth.The visitors are Giant Lizards masquerading as Earthlings, and they are none too pleased when Mike tries to out them live on NBC. But it’s Fugitive City for TV boy when his transmission is blocked, and the Visitor propaganda machine somehow twists the incident around as part of their sinister scheme to brand the world’s scientific minds as conspirators and terrorists. Someone’s got to prove that resistance is no where near futile and whup some over-grown horny toad hiney, and that somebody might as well be Killer Blonde, M.D. (Faye Grant).V was an analogy of World War II, and it works really well. This mini series started it all and went on to spawn another Mini Series and two TV Shows.