V: "Pilot"

The pilot episode of V was certainly astounding, if nothing else. And by that I mean that while it definitely inspired a response, I have no idea what that response is - as in, positive or negative? Liked it or didn't? Couldn't say.


WHAT I DEFINITELY LIKED:


1. The visuals. Oh my god those were amazing. The CGI of the Visitor ships: indirect and direct shots of the approach, transformation from ship to video screen, ridiculously detailed exterior, obviously green-screened but still completely gorgeous interior. Definite win for the computer effects department. And for the cinematography - those aerial shots of New York were gorgeous, and the show must have actually shot them on its own to get all the angles and scales correct. For a television show, that is damned impressive. Also wins for aesthetics, the costume department. I was pretty much drooling over the suits Chad and Ryan wore throughout the episode, and the V textiles on Anna and Marcus were brilliant.

2. Mother-son relationship. In a world where this genre television is dominated by complex father-daughter (and father-son) pairings, having a promising mother-son team is a joy. I found both characters kind of annoying in practice, but I definitely support them in principle.

3. The crazy intense crowd scenes. It takes a lot of work to make a good riot. Or a good panicky crowd. Or a good awed and astounded crowd. Or a good intent church-going crowd. V delivered on all of them in the pilot, so major props for that.

4. Morena Baccarin and Scott Wolf. Together and apart, they are both so pretty and their performances are so fun to watch.


WHAT I DEFINITELY DIDN'T LIKE


1. The music. This is, admittedly, a fairly minor thing. But, seriously, it is SO BAD.

2. Portrayal of the passage of time. The jumping from "Oh, it's the beginning of the Visitor arrival!" to "Oh, I called my mommy an hour ago!" to "Oh, terrorist cell chatter has increased in the last three weeks!" was not very effective. Without the extremely forced time references written into the script, I would have had absolutely no clue. I don't know enough about film technique to propose an alternative method of showing the passage of time. But seriously. Someone needs to work on that pacing.

3. Elizabeth Mitchell. Least convincing FBI agent ever. Her voice is fine for the mom part of her character, but it really doesn't work in her supposed occupation.


WHAT'S ADDLING MY BRAIN:


Mostly, I feel like the pilot was too much and not enough information all at once. The best demonstration of the "not enough" was the interview scene with Anna and Chad (Baccarin and Wolf). The full-length scene didn't contain any more nuances or developments than the five seconds of it shown in promos, it just drew it out longer and more painfully. Similarly, the progression of Tyler Evans from rebellious teen to awe-struck (or Laura Vandervoort-cleavage-struck) V devotee seemed like it took absolutely no time at all (which ties back into the passage-of-time, pacing bit).


And the "too much?" See: umping from Terrorist Cell Chatter to Omg Vs On Earth Already to Alan Tudyk Is A V to Morris Chestnut Is Also A V But He's A Good V Working On The Side Of Humanity all in the course of forty-some minutes. Seriously? It felt like the show was trying to cram as much wow-story-twist factor into this episode as they possibly could in order to garner and hold attention. They don't seem to be bothering with taking their time developing an interesting story at all. Unless this crazy pace keeps up for the entire rest of the series, I will (continue to) have serious questions about the necessity of introducing and combining all of these elements so early on. Unless the entire thing gets MUCH more complicated than it already is, I think the rushed nature of this episode will come to be seen as a definite negative point.


The other thing I'm not really getting is the character development. They were barely introduced before they were fundamentally altered - as in, Ryan is about to be happily engaged but now he's a turncoat V, and Father Jack is all serious and religious and now he's wearing leather and punching people. What?


I think - now that I've actually processed my reactions - that my main response to V and its crew is: SLOW THE HELL DOWN. I realize that broadcast television is a tough scene for sci-fi shows, and I realize you must be feeling the pressure because FlashForward has already successfully established itself as the genre and ABC network successor to the soon-to-depart Lost. But seriously, the adage holds: quality over quantity. If it takes a few more episodes to really set up the full premise of the show, that's fine. We understand. Just give our brains a moment to process before you go and change everything up. PLEASE.


I have some real misgivings about this show and its ability to a) succeed and b) hold my interest. But I will be watching next week, because my interest is piqued and I'm hoping that the craziness of the pilot will pass and the show will legitimately prove itself as worthy of my time.

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Nov 4, 2009 9:34PM EST

Apparently the whole out of sequence thing was due to megavideo eps being shown in a messed up order. I thought same thing but am now trying to find a vid with the episode cut together correctly

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Nov 5, 2009 1:09PM EST

I honestly wasn't too impressed by the pilot, the whole time my friends and I joked that it reminded us of Independence Day lol I don't know the acting didn't seem that amazing, and it left me with the feeling of "Meh" meaning I don't really care if I ever see it again. That's just me :p

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RachelLEditor
Nov 5, 2009 3:15PM EST

I agree completely, Kouou! I find Elizabeth Mitchell kind of unconvincing as an FBI agent. Much better as a doctor on Lost! They should pair her up with Joseph Fiennes from FlashForward and together they could be a team of the least likely FBI agents ever!I feel your pacing issues as well. My only thought was...since everyone (or a lot of people) already knew that the V's were in fact, evil reptiles, that there was no point in delaying the obvious. I do feel like though that as TV show timelines go...that felt like a midseason cliffhanger sort of a revelation.

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Nov 8, 2009 2:59PM EST

Can someone please just post a link to the full episode in the right order..... they all seem to end with the boys on the visit to the ship discovering they're too young to join.....

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Nov 9, 2009 5:26AM EST

ajjin: That is the EXACT thought I had, particularly with the whole engagement sub-plot - except the soldier is now an exec and the single mom/stripper is a .....grad student? Whatever.
As someone who has seen the original, I kept it in mind while watching but didn't try to compare too much. I knew there would be huge differences, and, like most modern "updates", the subtle nuances of the story would be completely skimmed over in favor of gorgeous graphics. At least I wasn't disappointed there.I do have issues with the casting, and sure, like RachelL says, maybe the pacing wasn't as necessary because the twist is already common knowledge. But that just seems to be the excuse nowadays. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" was huge crazy graphics instead of a very quiet story about how humans blithely accept sociopathic tendencies in others; In the 80s, the Youth Ambassadors program in "V" echoed the hilariously wonderful movie "The Wave" (hilarious because it is so 80s, but still cool because it has an actual message), which warned against the danger and stupidity in the mob mentality, particularly amongst impressionable youth.
Either way, I'm not wholly impressed with this "re-imagining". I don't think much has been re-imagined, except now people are trying to push Obama-itis as the new message. And I am HUGELY disappointed and maybe a little bit upset that Alan Tudyk was killed off so quickly. What the eff, people? Why are you always killing Wash? WHY? WHYYYYY?????????**pardon the Firefly nerd ooze
anyways, is this a series or a mini-series (like the original)?

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