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.