Sunday, November 22, 2009

V: The Visitors Return

abc television
Tuesdays 8pm ET/PT

This note assumes you have seen the first three episodes (through Nov. 17).

Just when you thought the planet was safe: Guess who is back? The 1983 miniseries on NBC was fantastic. Intelligent lizards dressed as humans who come here supposedly to take some water, but they actually needed food (us). We figured out how to make a virus that kills them, and they went home. Now they're back and better than ever. There are some similarities--cool uniforms, for example. We don't know what they want yet, although their initial claim is the same. There are new, subtle differences that make this full-length series much more interesting than the miniseries that started it:

--They've really been here for 20 years? Living among us? And none of them have died and been autopsied with surprising results? Come on.
--Where are all the half-breeds? Interspecies kids? Remember when the nice Jewish girl in the original miniseries gave birth to twins--a normal-looking kid and a disgusting lizard gremlin? That was hilarious.
--In the original miniseries, "Fifth Column" referred to human betrayal--not a Visitor cell dedicated to saving humanity. Too shocking for tv, I guess, for us to see the black guy (someone we like) executing the guy who betrayed him to a Visitor assassin team. That was certainly a threatening note (in blood) he left on the door.
--the Visitors have sweeper teams just like The Centre in The Pretender.
--The last time I saw that seeker ball, it was trying to kick Skywalker's ass aboard the Millenium Falcon.
--FBI Special Agent Dale's comments to the ship doctor about living with a human: do they all think we're disgusting and smelly? All of us? (Some of us--well, they may have a point there.)
--a seriously kick-ass mothership with shuttles to and from the Earth.
--Can they really beam back and forth? At that meeting of Visitor leaders, were they really there, or was it a virtual meeting?

So many surprises. The ship doctor? OF COURSE he's a Fifth Column member! OF COURSE Lisa is Anna's daughter! (The actresses are 25 and 30 years old.) OF COURSE Dale is an evil Visitor!

Curious what Anna and Lisa have in mind for Tyler. And how does a Visitor get reconnected? He gets to go home and shed his human epidermis?

Of course I'm terribly curious how long it is going to take for humanity to wake up and realize what we are up against: sleeper cells; assassin teams; advanced weaponry; secret motives. Evans is right: they show up and we issue tourist visas without asking too many questions? Come on. It should be deeply disturbing for the U.S. government to be in the presence of a group that is militarily and technologically superior.

Very much like Elizabeth Mitchell ("Juliet" on Lost) as FBI Special Agent Erica Evans and Scott Wolf ("Bailey Salenger on party of five) as Chad Decker. BTW did anyone notice when Matthew Fox (Jack Shepard on Lost) and Scott Wolf were playing brothers on party of five that their surnames referred to midsize mammalian predators? Just curious. Christopher Shyer is delightfully evil as Marcus, Anna's right-hand man.

I'm hooked, and I don't say that about tv very often. Looking forward to the next episode, and I hope V manages to hang on.

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