V Review: “Pilot”


Having just finished my DVRing of the V premiere, I have to say, I’m stunned. Not merely because I enjoyed myself, and am hopeful for the first time about a new show this season, but because of the sheer AMOUNT of stuff that happened in the span of forty minutes.

I went into pilot expecting an intro episode, with about 35 minutes of character development and ten minutes of actual aliens showing up. This was not the case at all, and I have to credit V for one of the best “hook” pilots I’ve ever seen.

The episode opened with a trio of questions: Where were you during JFK’s assassination? (Not born) Where were you during 9/11? (Mrs. Horling’s 10th grade English class) and where were you this morning (Twittering about Kim Kardashian’s Halloween costume). The last question refers to where you would have been had the show’s alien arrival taken place, and thankfully, there’s no long winded set up of where each character was. There’s simply an earthquake, some giant ships and a smiling alien leader named Anna (Inara from Firefly) talking about how she brings peace and good tidings.


Oh and they’re all super, super hot. People trust hot people and do what they say, that’s just science.

Erica (Juliette from Lost) is an FBI agent who has a son, Tyler, who has turned into a bit of a troublemaker since her recent divorce from her husband. Her partner at the bureau is Dale (Alpha from Dollhouse, or Wash from Firefly if you prefer) and even after the Visitors (Vs) touched down, life goes on as usual at the FBI and they’re working up a lead on a mysterious terror cell whose chatter actually INCREASED once the aliens showed up. Because I mean, even Osama Bin Laden had to drop what he was doing when that happened.

Other players are Father Jack, a priest filling the obligatory “male lead named Jack” role of the show. There’s Ryan, a black guy with a cute girlfriend and a mysterious past. And there’s Chad, a news anchor who has often been passed over by his network in the past, but that all changes once the Vs show up.

Almost immediately, the V’s leader Anna, heads to the UN to tell the world just how much they love us and how they’ll give us all sorts of cool technology if we just let them drink from our oceans a little bit. They start healing people, and are subsequently treated like gods. They even offer to show humans around inside their giant ships, and when Tyler snags a ticket, he meets Lisa (Kara from Smallville), a superhot V recruiter who wants him to join their “peace ambassadors” brigade and spray paint the city with Vs like he’s wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (tell me you got that).


“To potentially banging an alien!”

Now as you might expect from a bunch of people who go out of their way throw out the word “peace” every few seconds, all is not as it seems. And if you think you can’t watch this show because you know the ending of the original miniseries (they’re all actually lizards), it doesn’t matter. No, I did not need a spoiler alert tag there. Why?

By the end of the episode, Erica’s investigation and a member of Father Jack’s flock leads each of them to a secret underground meeting of anti-V conspiracy theorists. Their conspiracy is quickly validated when the meeting is raided by the V who attack with spike shooting drones and razor batons, and it’s revealed that yes, they are lizards, and both Erica’s partner Dale and black guy Ryan are V agents with human skin grown over their scales. Before the meeting was adjourned by mass death, the leader of the group claimed that the V have been here for years, have infiltrated all levels of the military, the government and the rest of society, and revealing themselves is the final stage of their plan, which ends with the extinction of the human race.

I mean dear lord, you could have made an entire season out of this episode alone. It’s the exact opposite of FlashForward, which moves at a snail’s pace to explain a mysterious worldwide event, and I was stunned at where we were by the time V was over.

But the real question is, what now? Where the hell do we go from here? The Vs clearly have something devious planned, but we’re not sure what it is. Who else is a V, and what make the good Vs turn against the bad Vs? These are answers I’m certainly going to be sticking around to find out, and I would probably even do so if I actually had other shows to watch on Tuesday. Which I don’t.

I have no problem with the pace of the pilot being as frantic as it was, and I applaud the show for not dragging its feet. But that being said, the show is clearly not as well written or shot as Lost, though that’s like saying my all-state high school soccer team isn’t as good as Brazil. Hopefully V can keep the momentum of its very well crafted pilot going, and more importantly, hopefully people will but tuning in so we don’t see another high-concept slaughter like Firefly. But this isn’t Fox, so I think we’re safe for at least a full season.

So that’s my take on it, and I now open up the floor to you. What did you think of V?


“It’s….an overwhelming premise that threatens to implode on itself to death if it’s not careful!”

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  1. I liked the remake…..nice to see 21st technology upgrades. Thought they revealed a little too much too fast…..but I am ready for more…..good looking actresses certainly don’t hurt.

    I hope the ratings were strong.

  2. Absolutely agree with your review! I was amazed at how fast the 1st episode moved, and how much substance was introduced. I also think the smartest casting in the show is the always amazing and talented Elizabeth Mitchell! She ROCKS any television series!

  3. I have to admit I didn’t read more that the first paragraph of the review (no offense to you, I just have a VERY short attention span).

    But, I am also hooked on the show after the one episode. I’m very interested to see what comes next as the V’s are clearly not there for the good of the people.

    Let’s just hope they can do what was a classic show justice and not lose steam as so many other shows do (I’m looking at you Flash Forward).

  4. I loved it. I was nervous going into it, because it’s a remake and I was 100% that the aliens were gonna show up at the VERY end. BUT I liked the “Independence Day” set up, having the aliens show up RIGHT from the get-go. And so far I like the characters and I actually give a damn about them for the most part. Especially Tyler’s chubby friend, not so much Tyler…although…who’d pass up a chance to bang a hot alien chick? Reptile or not, am I right ? Also I KNEW Erica’s partner was a V. That much was obvious to me, not sure how…it’s just something I would do had I been writing it. Anyways, I look forward to the rest of it and hope it goes well.

  5. “…spray paint the city with Vs like he’s wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (tell me you got that).”

    Yup, I got that. Good reference!

    I was a fan of the original and was pissed when it was cancelled. I was looking forward to this re-boot mostly because of who is in it (ie. Firefly alumn) and will continue to watch because of what they managed to accomplish in the first episode. I’m not a big fan of TV in general. I’ve been disappointed too many times by shows that either didn’t get a real chance or were so screwed with by the studios that they were bound to fail (ahem…. Firefly, Driven, Terminator, The Others, John Doe, Jericho, Veritas, Medical Investigation, Nightmare Cafe, The Highwayman, the original V, etc, etc. I could go on all damn day) to get too invested in a new show right away. I’m hopeful about this one, but not holding my breath. Still, Supernatural managed to beat the odds so why not this show?

    And I really hope Alan Tudyk’s character isn’t really dead. He rules!

  6. @ Kaz – They showed Alan Tudyk’s character in the teaser for the next episode so don’t worry.

    I loved the show. I have such fond memories of the original series, and was so glad to sit through this very engaging 1st episode. It’s important to note, that this show should be seen more as being based on the original series then a retelling. I actually think this to be one of the strongest parts of the show. They start with the same premise, but it looks like they are running with their own version of the story. I like the way that the new series was brought into modern times.

    If I have any hesitation with the show, it perhaps lies in the underlying political bent of the series. It doesn’t take a genius to draw the connections between the V’s and our current political landscape. Attractive creatures who show up promising universal health care, and manipulate the media…sound like any current political debates you’ve heard recently? I am interested to see where this allegory is taken.

  7. I liked the pilot, although I do think it moved too fast. It would have been better served ending right as the invasion of the meeting occurred. It didn’t leave enough to the imagination. Although this is not a bad thing, because as we have learned form Lost, attempts to force the audience to figure everything out ruin shows—-yes I mean Lost, which is now a pathetically awful show.
    Overall, very good.

  8. Did anyone else pick up the subtle political tone of the whole premise? An attractive leader who comes from virtually no where, promises change and hope, turns to the youth with the internet and viral marketing to spread the word, handpicks who gets press access and only will answer questions that put them in a good light, universal heathcare, the priests speech about people blindly jumping on the bandwagon. I wonder if they’ll give Anna a Nobel Peace prize in the show as well. =]

    I wonder if they did that intentionally.

  9. @ Brendan – I certainly picked up on that. The episode seamed to lean very right. I think it was the toughest thing about watching the episode, because I felt like I was being subjected to a bit of not so-subtle manipulation.

  10. I picked up on some pretty solid libertarian undertones. Speaking of their hiding in government buisness and religion causing the financial turmoil and “needless wars” just so they can come to the rescue. Which you almost wonder with how stupid somethings politians do are that they are either extremely incompetent or evil manipulating the people. Really seems to be calling out the progressives on each side ie Obama AND Bush. I guess it is tecnically right wing but not in the way most see it. To summarize I think it does a good job showing how fascism can come to the US through the progressives in the parties.

  11. @ Camden Agreed.

    It’s not like previous movies and shows didn’t make subtle commentary on Bush or Clinton.

    @ theButterFly – I wouldn’t say it was manipulation as much as it was pointing certain things out. A persons motives nor what they are selling should be judged based on whether they have an (R) or (D) or in this case (V) after their name. The lesson, I think, they are trying to push is it is the duty of people to always question those with power or else we are subject to grave things. Questioning people in positions of power is what this country was founded on. Why should we stop simply because someone is handsome and charismatic? Hell they said Lucifer was the most beautiful and charismatic of all of gods Angels. =] Don’t worry about it though, I lean center-right, a libertarian, and I still enjoy HBO and NBC shows even though they lean very left.

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