"V": How to fix ABC's struggling alien invasion series

If you love genre TV, there's nothing more frustrating than finding a series that has everything it needs to be great, but somehow never gets there; a series that delivers a solid B+ episode week after week, and rarely missteps egregiously enough to make you want to bail out, but that neverthless remains tantalizing underdeveloped.

That's "V" (Tuesdays, 9 PM/8 central), ABC's big-budget remake of thesame-named, strictly-from-hunger NBC show about humans battling an invasion by creatures that look just like us but are actually evil lizards. Developed by Scott Peters from the original miniseries-cum-series by Kenneth Johnson, the ABC version wants to be a serious sci-fi fan's reclamation of beloved childhood trash -- a remake/improvement along the lines of SyFy's meandering, fitfully brilliant "Battlestar Galactica," which turned a mostly braindead late-'70s ripoff of "Star Wars" into a meditation on war, terrorism, faith, cultural relativism, and whether so-called "human" qualities are unique to humankind. ABC's "V" flirts with those sorts of big questions -- notably in the scenes where the Visitors' leader, Anna (Morena Baccarin) devises new occupation tactics based on her understanding of human psychology. Unfortunately, the series never quite succumbs to the allure of pulp philosophizing -- perhaps because it rightly fears that doing so would alienate casual viewers who just want escapism.  It skates along the surface of its premise, executing the occasional figure-8 or backwards jump, but never cracking the ice to see what marvels might lurk beneath. Read More...



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