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Friday, 22 May 2009

V - Is the pilot for the new series any good?

Televisionary have a great review of the pilot episode for the new series of V.
This new incarnation of V, overseen by The 4400 creator Scott Peters also tells the story of the arrival of an alien race to Earth via behemoth spacecrafts that appear out of nowhere to hover above 29 cities around the world.

Calling themselves The Visitors, their leader Anna (Firefly's Morena Baccarin) quickly makes contact with Earth's leaders to deliver a message (in multiple languages) proclaiming that they come in peace and, in exchange for the use of Earth's water which they need to survive, they will provide the human population with technology, the curing of 65 different diseases, and universal health care.

After all, the world right now is not in a good place. Beset by economic meltdown, multiple wars, and rising discontent, our planet desperately needs a savior and The Visitors seem to have arrived at just the right time, bringing with them the very tools to our salvation. Or have they?

However, despite the populace's open-armed acceptance of The Visitors, not everyone falls under the spell of The Vistors' charismatic charms and studied propaganda. FBI Agent Erica Evans (Lost's superb Elizabeth Mitchell) and her partner Dale Maddox (Dollhouse's Alan Tudyk) are investigating a terrorist cell that could have links to the arrival of The Visitors but Erica quickly learns that the cell, whose chatter has increased after the Visitors turned up, may have informants within the FBI itself. Erica must also contend with her rambunctious teenage son Tyler (America's Logan Huffman) who feels himself drawn to The Visitor's cause. Against his mother's wishes, Tyler is tempted to join The Visitors' Young Ambassadors program and spread the "message of hope" that The Visitors claim to bring, partially because of his blatant attraction to Lisa (Smallville's Laura Vandervoort), an alluring young Visitor guide assigned to the New York mothership.

Elsewhere, Ryan Nichols (The Perfect Holiday's Morris Chestnut) is buying an engagement ring for his fiancée Valerie Stevens (Cashmere Mafia's Lourdes Benedicto) when The Visitors arrive. He seems extremely uneasy about the presence of The Visitors and is quickly drawn back into a conflict that he wants no part of when he is contacted by members of a covert group that could have ties to the terrorist cell that Erica and Dale are investigating. And then there's dashing news anchor Chad Decker (The Nine's Scott Wolf) who is able to use The Visitor's arrival to leverage a better profile for himself when Anna selects him for an exclusive on-air interview. Will greed overwhelm his instincts to question The Visitors' motives, especially when Anna tells him that they "can't be painted in a negative light"? Or will be fall victim to the lures of fame and fortune?

Meanwhile, Father Jack Landry (The 4400's Joel Gretsch) finds himself in a difficult position, having to explain the co-existence of a divine presence and an alien race among us. His job is complicated by the fact that the congregation of his small Manhattan church has suddenly ballooned with people turning to religion in the face of fear and uncertainty and his superiors are pressuring Father Jack to toe the party line and accept The Visitors as a miracle in itself. But Jack worries that gratefulness can quickly turn to worship... and worship to devotion. His fears are realized when he receives a package from a mysterious wounded man who dies after passing along a mission to Jack: he should fear The Visitors and take the package to a specific address.

SPOILER ALERT! It happens to be the very same address where Erica and Dale are themselves headed, after receiving a tipoff at a crime scene about a possible meeting of a terrorist cell. Erica agrees to go in undercover to the meet and, after meeting Jack, discovers just who these people are in a fantastic twist: they are members of the underground human resistance and membership to their group is depending on various conditions. One, that the candidates have been referred by someone they trust. And two, that they agree to be anesthetized and have a section of skin behind their ears peeled back.

Why? To prove that they are human as The Visitors are actually a reptilian race that has successfully cloned human skin, which they wear as camouflage. Worse still: The Visitors haven't just arrived, after all. They've been here for decades and have been fomenting dissent and chaos on the planet for years, destabilizing the markets, creating unnecessary wars, stirring up paranoia and persecution. The fact that they've now revealed themselves is a sign that they are moving into the final steps of their plan. That terrorist group that Erica and Dale were investigating? It's a sleeper cell of Visitors.

I won't spoil what happens next (sorry, I'm not going to give everything away!) but I will say that what follows is a rather obvious reveal (which can be easily fixed with some additional scenes perhaps), followed by a surprising plot twist that sets up a new direction for the series and creates an interesting situation that, I'm sure, will be mined in quite a lot of detail as the series progresses.
Be sure to check out the rest of the review as there is lots more to it. I'm getting quite excited about this after reading it.

Thanks to Mekka on the forum for pointing this out

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.



JAMES said...

I loved "V" when I was a kid!!! I will be a fan (again), you can be sure of that!!!