“V” The Complete First Season has plenty of promise and while it’s not quite even from the beginning of the season to the end, I do think it has the potential to be great. At the same time, I am intrigued to see how they can keep the series fresh if it even gets beyond the upcoming second season. The Blu-ray itself has a decent selection of features and the video/audio both are good enough, but nothing amazing.
“V” The Complete First Season (2009-10)
Genre(s): Science Fiction/Drama
Warner Bros. | NR – 520 min. – $49.99 | November 2, 2010
Directed by: NA
Writer(s): Kenneth Johnson (creator), Scott Peters (developed by)
Cast: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf
Features: Episode Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
“We are of peace. Always.”
Just like in the feature film realm, Hollywood has brought back and spun-off plenty of series in the past few years including “Battlestar Galactica”, “Stargate” and now “V”. Although I have enjoyed the occasional “Stargate SG-1” and “Universe” episodes over the years – and have plans to watch “Battlestar” – the first season of “V” starts off well enough, lingers a bit in the middle before coming back to life for the final couple episodes.
“V” begins with the invasion of an alien species known as, interestingly enough, V. These aliens have come to Earth with hundreds of spaceships positioned around the world and in large cities such as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris, London and New York City. Their leader, Anna (MORENA BACCARIN), tries to calm the masses below by promising peace and in exchange for the use of Earth’s resources they agree to teach their advance technologies which include healing wounds and diseases. Of course, we all know not everything is as it seems.
On the ground, a few skeptical humans band together along with V “traitors” to stop Anna from going through with her ultimate plan to, I think, annihilate the human race. This group is known as the Fifth Column and includes FBI agent Erica Evans (ELIZABETH MITCHELL), rogue V Ryan Nichols (MORRIS CHESTNUT), a priest named Jack Landry (JOEL GRETSCH who looks a lot alike Mark Valley of “Human Target”), a man whose family was killed by the V (DAVID RICHMOND-PECK) and another rogue V with his own agenda (CHARLES MESURE). Throughout the season they uncover more and more about the plot to overtake the human popular via various methods including starting an ambassadorship in which the person’s uniform acts as video reconnaissance for the bigger invasion.
The Fifth Column also has to fight against a population that, thanks to media propaganda led by news anchor Chad Decker (SCOTT WOLF) whom Anna uses in order to quash the resistance and gain the trust of the human race for her own uses.
Going in, I had no real expectations either way on “V”. I never saw the various 1980s TV series or mini-series so I didn’t come at this comparing it with the original. With that said, and as someone who is not a science-fiction junkie compared with plenty others on the Net, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Yes, the visual effects, especially while on the mothership was pretty bad (the SyFy series “Sanctuary” employs the same style), the other elements like the spaceships was decent enough.
As for the cast, as with many freshman series, with few exceptions it takes some time to develop the characters and have certain cohesion between them (the only exception is “Lost” and maybe “The X-Files”). Elizabeth Mitchell does a good job as one of the primary actors with the underrated and oft underutilized Morris Chestnut pulling his weight. Also doing a good job with what is a limited role (limited in terms of emotions) is Morena Baccarin as the primary villain.
There’s also a semi side-story involving Erica’s son Tyler (LOGAN HUFFMAN) and Anna’s daughter, Lisa (LAURA VANDERVOORT from “Smallville”) which I know where the writer’s were trying to go in advancing the parental counterparts but I found it all just a tad boring, though through no fault of either actor, it just seemed to slow down the show’s pacing somewhat.
Overall, I liked “V” and the potential it presents although I have to wonder where the series can go if it were to get beyond seasons two or three as you can only battle V for so long before the audience finds it tedious and will want to move on to something else.
02. There is No Normal Anymore
03. A Bright New Day
04. It’s Only the Beginning
05. Welcome to the War
06. Pound of Flesh
07. John May
08. We Can’t Win
09. Heretic’s Fork
10. Hearts and Minds
12. Red Sky
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3/5
The 2-disc set comes inside a standard BD case and a glossy side-sliding slip cover.
Episode Commentary – There is a commentary track with episode 11, ‘Fruition’ with executive producers Steve Pearlman and Scott Rosenbaum. This track isn’t the best and I prefer tracks that also include members of the cast but the two provide some info on making the series.
The Actor’s Journey from Human to V (16:55; HD) – This is a behind-the-scenes featurette where the cast talk about their experience with the old “V” series and their approach to the characters. It’s nothing that revealing as it comes across as a typical EPK-type of featurette.
Breaking Story: The World of V (16:38; HD) explores the behind behind-the-scenes elements of writing the story and character progression various members of the crew (plus comments from the cast) for the season.
An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V (11:52; HD) takes a closer look at the make-up effects used on the series giving insights into how the process is done.
The Visual FX of V (15:08; HD) – As with the Makeup FX featurette, this one examines the visual effects for the show and the work that goes into coming up with them. I think that between this and the other 3 featurettes, they could have be put together for a longer featurette…
Deleted Scenes (TRT 17:24; HD) – Six episodes contain additional footage no doubt lopped off due to time constraints. There wasn’t a whole lot that I found interesting but it’s always a good thing that they are available for fans to peruse.
There is also a BD-Live portal on disc 2.
VIDEO – 4/5
Presented in its original 1.78 aspect ratio, “V” looks good in 1080p high-definition. The picture has some good detail level throughout although there were a couple moments at night that reveals some pixilation, otherwise this it is a clean transfer. The colors are also well balanced but at the same time it’s not an entirely vibrant either.
AUDIO – 4/5
As with other Warner TV on Blu-ray releases, this only comes with a regular Dolby Digital 5.1 track which does get the job done very well. Every channel gets some usage especially the bass which turns on many times especially during Marco Beltrami’s effective score.
OVERALL – 4/5
Overall, “V” The Complete First Season has plenty of promise and while it’s not quite even from the beginning of the season to the end, I do think it has the potential to be great. At the same time, I am intrigued to see how they can keep the series fresh if it even gets beyond the upcoming second season. The Blu-ray itself has a decent selection of features and the video/audio both are good enough, but nothing amazing.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman