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"V" Screens at Comic-Con: A Review

Just got back to my hotel following a triple screening of Warner Brothers pilots during Preview Night at Comic-Con: Human Target (based on the DC comic of the same name, and much better than anyone might have expected it to be), Vampire Diaries (which does feel as though it's trying to cash in on the Twilight craze, though the bottom line is that no one is going to believe the two vampire brothers can possibly pass as teenagers) and "V".

V - Promo Image_thumb    It should be noted that "V" got the best response of the three pilots (followed closely by Human Target), and for good reason. The performances by the cast are universally good, and it successfully updates the premise from the '80s original, replacing the allegory to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust with many modern concerns, among them terrorism and the cause of our current financial crisis. Also separating it from the original (though how successful this will be is something that will be revealed as the show goes on) is the notion that the Visitors have been living among us for some time and that they've been undermining our society for decades.
   The biggest problem with the pilot is the pacing, and it ain't because things unfold too slowly. Perhaps positioning itself as the anti-Lost in terms of not wanting to be so convoluted in its storytelling that it overwhelms the viewer, this "V" is an express train in terms of plot development. The pilot is about 43 minutes in length, and in that time we meet (oh-so-briefly) the different characters, literally setting them up in about a minute each. From there, the Visitors arrive in 29 motherships hovering over major cities of the world, their leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) addresses the world via a giant holographic image of sorts projected from the underside of the vessels, she tells us that the Visitors "are of peace, always," and for some dopey reason everyone breaks into applause on the street (didn't get it in the trailer, don't get it now), the populace instantly takes to them and starts looking at them as deities, especially when a crippled man is cured in one of their "healing centers"; we learn the Visitors are recruiting the young, discoverthey've been secretly living among us, are told that their plans are actually nefarious, and the early stages of a resistance movement is pulled together, declaring that they will fight the so-called Vs.
   All in 43 minutes!
   As noted earlier, those 43 minutes are pretty terrific and the cast does a nice job (a more elaborate review will be offered over the next couple of days), but there seems to be more of a need for nuance in the storytelling. Some of these things should be unfolded more slowly, or else the show can very quickly become an "us versus them" set-up that could become tiresome. Again, maybe this is being purposely designed for the audience that lives on the web, seeking and getting instant gratification. It will be interesting to see how the stories will unfold from this point forward. 
   All of this may sound critical, but I'll definitely "V" there, and it's recommended you do the same. -- Edward Gross

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