Just back from London’s Natural History Museum where, along with a very privileged audience, I’ve seen the opening episode of ABC’s reimagining of 80’s Sci-Fi thriller V.
The show starts in the US tonight and airs in the UK next Spring on the SciFi Channel and it’s likely to be a big hit.
Although there are echoes of the original show in some of the design, the series wisely drops all characters from it in favour of creating a new slate of characters with original backstories.
The decision to dress the Visitors in grey is unfortunate, with so many characters dressing in power suits they fail to stand out in the way the red-dressed reptiles of classic series did. It might sound a petty gripe but the consequence is that the Visitors tend to blend into the background diminishing their impact.
The episode starts with some high-octane moments and there’s a fairly decent plot but it doesn’t thrill and there’s a definite lack of the original’s suspense. No nuanced sub-plots of scientists being discredited here!
The reveal of the alien nature of the Visitors is fairly tame and certainly not as dramatic as in the original but the Visitors’ use of Earth’s children to push their message of ‘peace’ is more explicit with the new series offering ‘Peace Ambassadors’ in place of the original show’s ‘Visitor Friends’.
One bugbear is the way that humans and visitors alike rapidly start calling the visitors “the V’s” – it makes no sense and looks like a cheap and needless way to quickly work the series title into the narrative.
Overall the opener probably ranks as ‘middling’ – it’s not awful but it doesn’t reach the highs of the original and when you opt to remake a genuine classic that’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.