After seeing the opening episode of the V remake last November I thought the show had potential even if the series opening was a little slow.
I thought the tempo picked up a little around the time the ‘John May Lives” subplot came along but largely the first series has been a little flat and has largely failed to excite me, though for some reason I find myself continuing to watch.
I suspect it’s because because I’m a huge fan of the 1983 original with which I constantly find myself unfavourably comparing the new series with.
Despite having a much shorter running length the original show felt more epic and was much darker and menacing in tone, getting underway with a frighteningly plausible early plot line in which the Visitors brief against scientists and create a climate of fear which saw doctors and scientists ostracised from polite society.
By diminishing the status and reputations of those best able to see through their statements and, potentially, work against them the Visitor’s secured an early and crucial victory. The new series has no comparable plot line and, more importantly, none of the resulting sense of menace.
Two plot lines in the new series do echo elements of the original series but both are sadly lacking in comparison.
Journalist Chad’s corruption may nod towards fears some have about the media’s lack of substance and over reliance on PR but the execution is pretty shallow.
In the original series, reporter Kristine Walsh also trades her principles for a place in the limelight, becoming the official spokesperson for the Visitors. Where the original is superior is in Walsh being the former girlfriend of eventual resistance leader Mike Donovan who acts as her conscience and forces Walsh to confront the choices she’s made.
The second comparable story strand is the ‘teenager gets close to the Visitors’ one but again the original is by far the stronger and darker.
The original V’s Daniel Bernstein is an irredeemably nasty piece of work prepared to betray anyone if it allows him to enjoy freedoms and luxuries rapidly being denied to his fellow humans. In contrast the best the new series can offer up is a pouty teenager who wants to go live with his girlfriend aboard the mothership.
If you’re going to go out of your way to echo plots from the original surely you have to make them at least as good as the original, otherwise what’s the point?
Perhaps I’ve been dozing off during episodes but the Visitor masterplan doesn’t seem to get mentioned very often and the whole series feels like it’s heading nowhere.
I still don’t get why the Visitors in the new series are interchangeably referred to as Visitors and V’s or why the human resistance is sometimes apparently referred to as the 5th Column when that name should surely only apply to dissidents within the Visitor ranks?
Yet despite all the negatives I’m still watching, normally I tune out of a series as soon as I start disliking it, and I’m pleased to hear the show is coming back for a second run.
Hopefully this will be one of those rare shows where the writers accept they’ve under delivered and fix things which haven’t worked – some pace and sense of scale desperately need adding to the mix – because as the enduring popularity of the original proves, the potential is there to create a truly iconic show.