Apparently the remake bug that has infected the silver screen of late is a communicable disease…and has been transferred to the boob tube. ABC’s new series V is a remake of the sci-fi mini-series of the same name from the 80’s. I never saw the original series, so unfortunately I won’t be able to make any comparisons between the two. But that does mean I’m approaching this new take on it with a fresh set of eyes. So take that as you will.

To be honest, there’s not much to digest within the pilot episode. That’s not to say that it’s a bad one. It does everything that a pilot is supposed to do: establishes the main characters, sets the central plot of the show into motion, introduces elements of conflict, etc. Here’s the basic rundown, without giving away too much. It’s a normal, regular sort of day in the life of the earth. People are going about their business: buying wedding rings, sleeping with bosses to get ahead at work, opening up the church to minister to the homeless and druggies…when all of sudden, massive alien ships appear out of nowhere and begin hovering over the largest cities of the world: New York, L.A., London, Paris, Cairo and elsewhere.

If this set-up sounds (and looks) strangely like Independence Day, well, it is. The writers deftly diffuse that link with some witty (and almost offhanded) dialogue caught on TV between two sci-fi nerds arguing in front of a reporter. At any rate, the underside of the ships then turn out to be massive screens that can broadcast messages in any language and this is where we get our first glimpse of the alien spokeswoman (and possible leader), Anna. She promises the world that the Visitors are of peace and mean Earth’s inhabitants no harm. They merely need certain minerals and other supplies that are in abundance on Earth and they will leave as soon as they gain that which they seek.

The majority of the population reacts to this news with joy and enthusiasm, whereas a smaller minority is quick to get worried and even quicker to start asking probing questions. Suffice it say that we get hints of a darker intent behind the aliens’ presence before the episode is over.

And that’s it. Like I said before, there’s not a ton of plot here, but it does a good job of setting things up. Firefly fans will be thrilled to see the return of Morena Baccarin and Alan Tudyk to the small screen, and Lost fans will dig the fact that Elizabeth Mitchell is front and center as one of the leads in the cast. I really want to see more of this series, so I guess the pilot did its job on me…here’s hoping that the overall story gets a little more involved and in-depth over the course of the next episodes.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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