Although ABC’s reboot of the original cult 1980’s sci-fi alien invasion series V got off to a somewhat sluggish start during its initial freshman season, I’m really liking where things seem to be headed with this years sophomore run.
The biggest fear right now though, comes with the rumors I’m hearing of a season ending cliffhanger. With the show experiencing what would be — to put it kindly — rather soft ratings, and with ABC’s demonstrated lack of patience for giving shows like this one a second chance, it is entirely possible the only ones left hanging by this season’s finale might be the viewers who’ve stuck through it this far.
Given the network’s track record with sci-fi series like this one, I’m not much liking the prospects for a season three of V next fall right about now. The success of Lost notwithstanding, ABC is still the network that pulled the plug on both the semi-promising Flash Forward, and the much limper Happy Town without so much as blinking, despite initially hyping both to the moon and back.
Consigning V to a similar fate — to make way for the latest season of Wipeout or whatever — would just be a damn shame. Because right now, I think that V may be finally onto something.
Take Tuesday night’s episode “Concordia” for example. Up until this point, V’s main characters — played by a great cast of vets like Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Morris Chestnut, and the always reliable cable sci-fi series stalwart Joel Gretsch (Taken, The 4400) — have been fairly one dimensional.
As FBI agent Erica Evans, Mitchell has played both sides the most of all — cow-towing to the evil V new age alien lizard queen Anna (the deliciously sexy and seductively evil Morena Baccarin), even as she knows the bitch has designs on an obscene inter-species breeding program involving her own son.
Yet, despite her own inner conflicted nature, she has always taken the moral high ground. That changed tonight, as the FBI agent signed on to a plot to take out Anna for good, with the help of new cast member Oded Fehr (in a typically hard core terrorist role for this vet from Showtime’s much missed Sleeper Cell) as Fifth Column bad-ass Eli Cohn.
As catholic priest (and closeted alien resistance member) Father Jack, the lines between passive protest and more direct “any means necessary” tactics became similarly blurred tonight. In this episode, the penultimate man of faith became the man of action by signing on to the same assassination plot as FBI “Anti-Fifth Column Task Force” head Agent Evans.
But the real wild card here is Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols — an alien lizard who up until tonight was a Fifth Column human sympathizer playing the role of double agent, but who now appears ready to sell out the resistance to that lizard bitch Anna (who holds Ryan’s child captive aboard the mother ship).
So, just when it looks like ABC might pull the plug, this shit is actually starting to get rather good.
Still, the fact of where it is actually going next is also somewhat obvious. My own prediction is that double agents like Mitchell’s FBI agent and Gretsch’s Catholic Father Jack will discover their inner bad-asses and take up arms for an all-out, take no prisoners war next fall (provided of course they survive this season and all).
The current political references — which have been both timely and smart from the start — also remain razor sharp. Tonight’s “Concordia” episode even referenced the reptilian’s cloaked inter-species breeding centers as an “urban renewal project.”
The other nice new development this season has been the way that the “reboot” of the original eighties V has been rewritten to be more like a sequel to the earlier version. With the return of original eighties alien queen Jane Badler as Diana, the story has now been recast as a second try at invasion by these alien lizards.
As a guilty pleasure fan of the original (cheesy as it was), I like this latest touch a lot. All we need now is the return of Marc Singer and the pre-Freddie Krueger Robert Englund (reprising his role as the clumsy human sympathizing alien Willie) to complete the trifecta.
All we are saying is give V a chance.