ABC: What’s New for Fall 2009

V (Tues., Nov. 3 @ 8:00 PM, ABC)

The competition: “NCIS” (CBS) “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox), “90210” (The CW)

Starring: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Lourdes Benedicto, Logan Huffman, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf
Producers: Scott Peters (“The 4400,” “The Outer Limits”), Jeffrey Bell (“Day Break,” “Alias”), Steve Pearlman (“Reunion,” “Related”), and Jace Hall (“The Jace Hall Show”)
Network’s Description: A re-imagining of the 1980’s miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race. Simultaneously appearing over every major city in the world, the Visitors (or V’s) promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V’s build a following that may actually hide a more malevolent agenda, one that twists a very deep component of human nature: devotion. While the world quickly becomes fascinated with the V’s and their link to wonders just beyond the reach of human understanding, FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans discovers a secret hidden beneath the skin of every V – a secret that may threaten the lives of everyone close to her. Yet for her teenage son, Tyler, the V’s are his ticket to something big and hopeful — a new chance for mankind to unite in common goals. To Chad Decker, a career-hungry news anchor, his exclusive interview with Anna, the leader of the V’s, is crucial to his dominating the airwaves. Also unsure about the Visitors is Father Jack, a priest questioning his faith in the wake of the Visitors’ arrival. Seeking answers outside the church, Father Jack discovers there are other dissidents who believe the Visitors are not who they say they are, including Ryan Nichols, who is faced with his own life-altering decision when the V’s show up. Never has there been more at stake — it truly is the dawning of a new day.
The Buzz: Like “Eastwick,” there’s a certain instinct to ask, “Why do we need to revisit a 20-year-old property?” In the case of “V,” though, most of those who remember the show fondly will probably nod their heads and consider that, yes, special effects technology has evolved to a point where a concept like this one deserves to reap the benefits. And although the purists will no doubt grimace and claim that it won’t be the same without original creator Kenneth Johnson working behind the scenes, they need look no farther than “Battlestar Galactica” to have a good reason to consider the possibilities for a new “V.”
Pilot Highlight: Personally, I dug the showdown between Anna and Chad when he refuses to offer an interview consisting solely of softball questions and she informs him that either it’ll be all queries that paint the Visitors in a positive light or the interview will be canceled, but the episode’s tie-ins to terrorism were damned intriguing.
Bottom Line: There’ll clearly be a “we’ve seen this” reaction from the generation who grew up with “Independence Day,” but it’s already clear that this is not your parents’ “V.” It may not prove to have any more legs than ABC’s last stab at alien infiltration (“Invasion”), but it’s going to come down to whether or not the viewers who come in for the curiosity factor, thinking, “Hey, I liked the old show, I wonder how the new one will be,” are going to given enough to sell them right off the bat.

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Heroes 3.15 – In Blood We Trust (All Others Pay Cash)

Tonight’s episode began not with the resolution to the cliffhanger but, rather, with Nathan making a phone call to…who? At first, I thought, “Oh, it’s Mama,” but, no, that would’ve been too obvious. And we knew it wasn’t Tracy, since she was on the plane. Then I had a crazy thought: maybe it’s Papa, already back from the dead. It wasn’t, of course: it actually was Mama. But, hey, a Robert Forster fan can dream, can’t he?

The post-crash sequence quickly showed that last week’s cliffhanger was a big waste of everyone’s time, as every single hero got out alive, but once the gang got on the run, it looked like things were going to get very interesting very quickly, especially when Matt went all white-eyed. But, suddenly, the jets flew over and bombed the shit out of the crashed plane, and I groaned. Really, “Heroes” writers? You think having a couple of big, loud jets flying by and dropping bombs is somehow going to draw attention away from the plane crash that happened a few minutes before…? And my groaning turned into moaning with the funny-for-all-the-wrong-reasons scene of tranced-up Matt busting into a trailer just to hunt down paper and a writing utensil. Fortunately, Ando was there to provide a couple of legitimate laughs, most notably at an airline operator’s lack of knowledge about the whereabouts of the state of Arkansas.

It was a shame to see Daphne get shot down, though I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see a great deal of Matt’s emotional reaction beyond his turning the soldiers against themselves. I’m sure, however, that we’ll see him start to grow darker with his power usage in upcoming weeks as he extracts his revenge.

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