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To V Or Not To V?: All Hail Your New Reptilian Gods, Puny Humans

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In case you missed it — and if the ratings for this season are any indication, most of you did — ABC wrapped up the second season of its once much-ballyhooed alien invasion series V this past Tuesday.

Officially, Tuesday’s two months too early “Mother’s Day” episode was only the season finale for this reboot of the eighties sci-fi cult classic. But few outside its most optimistic fans expect the show to be back next fall. In many ways, V was doomed from the start — a combination of both classic mishandling by the network (was the show ever around for more than a few weeks in between hiatuses?), and its own initial failure to live up to the enormous wave of hype preceding its 2009 debut.

Still, for pure balls alone, you’ve really got to hand it to these guys. If this really is the end of the road for V, then they have gone out on a full head of blood, guts, skin and cheese. In one of the more audacious risks ever taken on behalf of a show facing almost certain cancellation, the writers and producers of V threw the television equivalent of a last second, fourth and long, Hail Mary pass on Tuesday night.

Major characters, including lizard-loving teen drip Tyler, alien baby daddy Ryan, and repentant eighties alien Queen Bitch Diana (Jane Badler) all got killed off in the final thirty minutes (Diana’s lizard spear through the gut was a particularly bloody scene for network TV). And in perhaps the ultimate “if we’re going down, we’re taking you with us” move, the writers then proceeded to write the rest of us humans out of the show. As it turns out we weren’t conquered by superior technology or military might at all, but rather by the “bliss” of alien lizard super crack.

Leading up to this, V likewise went for broke in trying to match the cheese of the original eighties series. They brought back original star Marc Singer — now sporting a Ming The Merciless Fu Manchu to boot!

There was even a brief eighties sliding split screen segueway from Tyler’s death by rough alien sex aboard the mothership, to a “meanwhile, back on Earth” shot with Tyler’s Mom Erika (Elizabeth Mitchell) being kidnapped by black hooded thugs. Earlier in the episode, a different set of kidnappers wore grey alien masks. Nice touch.

But there were also holes big enough to drive a fleet of saucers through. Like how for instance, does Ryan manage to sneak out of a fascist tent revival meeting full of lizard converts after her amphibious majesty Queen Anna demands their worship on bended knee?

Or, in V’s biggest reveal, how does a full bodied, fifteen foot high lizard baby turn into a manufactured by skin, human clone of the shorter, definitely hotter, and much more petite Princess Lisa — who is still convincing enough to seduce the hapless romantic Tyler? Well, okay. The kid is dumb as a box of rocks and twice as gullible. Still, that is some serious skin shrinkage.

Cheese factor aside, this go-for-broke attitude is exactly what the finale needed if this is really it. Despite being mishandled by the network nearly every step of the way (and following an over-hyped, but underwhelming start), V really was starting to get good this year. One has to wonder if a third year might have brought a breakout season.

As it stands, V concludes with enough wide open spaces to fill several Grand Canyons. It could always still get picked up on cable by a network like SyFy or Chiller. Otherwise though, they have ended things up with an audaciously spectacular F.U.

All hail your new Reptilian Gods. Puny Humans.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Great review! I love the show, but agree that it has massive plot holes. Ausiello over at TVLine, my favorite source, has this series listed as Could go either way on his cancellation score sheet, so there’s hope. I do think season 2 was better than 1, and perhaps with a 3rd, we could get an excellent show. Thanks for your review!

  • Lola Zak

    I love V show and hope there is going to be season 3. By the way when does new show seson usually start… can’t wait.
    Lola

  • Baronius

    I don’t like it when TV shows do an “everything is going to be different” season finale. It feels like the writers are admitting that they didn’t do a great job over the past year, and in an act of brinkmanship, they dare the network to end the series on such an odd note. The last few episodes of Joan of Arcadia’s second season were like that. They laid out a completely new story line, and then (as is probably the case with V) it wasn’t renewed. Terminator did it too.

    It’s worse than a failure to resolve the old story lines, because it doesn’t feel like a conclusion. And it’s worse than ending on a cliffhanger, because there’s nothing to tickle the imagination. A cliffhanger is “what will happen to Jack?”. “What will happen to a bunch of people I don’t know in a cave a mile beneath NYC?” isn’t something I’m going to be wondering about.

    Besides, I remember that Angel did the same thing at the end of its fourth season, and when it came back, the fifth season was a complete mess. It’s not like the writers actually had a pile of great ideas that they’d been waiting for a new season to unveil.

    I’m also disappointed that they didn’t have an on-air confrontation between Chad and Anna. After every other human plan had failed, I thought they’d at least have that. It would have meant redemption for Chad, and it would have been fun to see the truth revealed to the world in a way that Anna couldn’t control.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    The show really did get much better this season. I particularly like the way the moral lines in the characters stories became a little more grey and otherwise blurred.

    They kinda blew all that to hell by shooting their entire wad so spectacularly in the finale, though. But, what the f? If you’re gonna go out, you might as well do it in a blaze of…well, something, right?

    For viewers who basically figure they won’t be back anyway, the final (?) episode was a real shoot em’ up good time.

    Thanx for the comments all.

    -Glen

  • Dorian

    The problem is that V has become so corny with its poor writing and character arcs that a third session (especially if it comes in dribs and drabs) is going to be ridiculous, I fear.

    It is so sad that Sci-Fi writers are so poor these days. Battlestar Galatica going religion was so pathetic. V going into this soul nonsense is another religious piece of drivel. Even Stargate Universe with its almost spiritual search to the mysterious signal permeating the entire universe (that is, the hint of something omnipresent and therefore God like) is another case in point. Even the movies are becoming this way, look at Avatar, where the whole planet of Pandora is one living spiritualistic entity.

    Sci-Fi is about SCIENCE FICTION, not RELIGIOUS SPIRITUALISM. It seems that Hollywood is now infested with Judeo-Christian-Spirtualistism mania.

    Kill off V! Have mercy on Sci-Fi!

    BRING BACK REAL SCI-FI!
    Sci-Fi writers where are you! HELP, save us from this religious-spiritualistic CRAP!!

  • Shok

    Well written! While I was also getting the spirit for the show with several episodes, the finale was a “throw it all in the blender since we are needing something big” action. It will be surprising if the show does return after all of this. I hope it does, however.