Season Pass Deleted: “V”

Truthfully, I stuck with this series longer than I should have, probably due to the presence of Elizabeth Mitchell (“Lost”) and Morena Baccarin (“Firefly”). But I just can’t sit through another episode. The overacting, the plot holes, the general lack of excitement — three strikes and you’re out.

This week’s episode — “Hearts and Minds” — was confounding. First of all, is it just me, or are television shows using the opening scene-then-flashback device way too much? I know there’s a rule in screenwriting that says a movie/episode should “start with an event” but it seems like every time I turn on the TV, some familiar character is in a weird situation and then five minutes later I get to start to see how he got there. I think this is fine in small doses, but it becomes a crutch when used too much.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

In this episode, we see Ryan, Father Jack, and Kyle blow up a shuttle that was supposed to be filled with “seekers.” After they shoot it down with some advanced V technology that looks like it was cobbled together with items from the local Wal-Mart, Father Jack starts running through the wreckage to find that there are only human remains. Uh-oh. Now we’re going to spend the rest of the episode wishing they wouldn’t make the decisions they’re about to make. That’s fun.

After an awkward scene where Father Jack flirts with Erica over a punching bag — I’m sorry, but I just can’t see Catholic priests as sexual beings — Ryan tells the gang that the seekers are coming and he knows where the shuttle is going to land. Just to underline the importance of this mission, he says that if the seekers land, it’s the end of the Fifth Column. Uh-oh.

It was at this point that I deleted my season pass. If the seekers were so powerful, why didn’t Anna send them down before, or send down two or three or even ten shuttles to ensure some of them made it to the surface? If she’s apparently putting all of her eggs in one basket, why wouldn’t these nitwits figure out that this is probably a trap?

Part of the problem is that I’ve seen this story before when it originally aired in the ’80s. I know remakes/reboots/rewhatevers are all the rage, but was anyone really clamoring for more “V”? I’m a fan of sci-fi, and with “Battlestar Galactica” now over, I feel compelled to support sci-fi where I can. But “V’ just doesn’t cut it. I mentioned “BG” — now that’s how you do a reboot. “V” just pales in comparison.

The main problem is that I didn’t really care about any of these characters, save for maybe Erica, but even she refuses to tell her son the truth about the visitors even though he’s about to move up to the freaking mothership! Father Jack runs around like an impotent ninny, wondering about the spiritual ramifications of every little thing he or anyone around him does. Ryan lied to his girlfriend the entire time they were together, even after she got pregnant with his alien child. Chad Decker is a narcissistic talking head who would betray his own planet if it meant he got an exclusive.

It almost got to the point where I started rooting for the visitors.

So long, “V” — I wish I could say it was nice knowing ya.

  

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Lost: Season Six – A Preview to the Beginning of the End

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Just as it became a pop culture phenomenon during its first season, “Lost” will once again be on everyone’s radar as the island drama builds toward its inevitable end with the Season 6 premiere on February 2nd. Though Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have done an incredible job over the years of juggling all the different storylines and mysteries, it’s asking a lot to think that they’ll be able to end the show without criticism from some of its fans. With that said, however, I cannot wait to see what they’ve cooked up for the show’s sixth season, because after last year’s head-scratcher of a finale, there’s plenty at stake.

The biggest question of all revolves around Jughead. Did Juliet succeed in detonating the hydrogen bomb, and if so, will it really reset time like Faraday led Jack to believe? Early indicators certainly point to that being the case, with several former cast members returning for an unspecified amount of episodes. This includes everyone from minor players like Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), Libby (Cynthia Watros) and Boone (Ian Somerhalder), to more influential characters like Faraday (Jeremy Davies), Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Michael (Harold Perrineau) and, of course, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan). No word yet on whether Mr. Eko, Ana-Lucia, Shannon or Walt will also find their way back into the “Lost” universe, but rumor is that Cuse and Lindelof are bringing back everyone they possibly can, and that extends to many of the supporting characters as well.

Of course, there’s also a chance that Juliet hasn’t changed the past, but merely created an alternate reality that branches off the one we know. Don’t forget, “whatever happened, happened,” so no matter what may have sprouted as a result of Jughead’s detonation, that particular timeline will always exist. Granted, even if we are treated to a look at how the survivors’ lives would have turned out if Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed, you can be sure that we’ll still be seeing plenty of the island throughout the season. There’s no way the Losties are done just yet, because there are still a number of questions left unanswered, such as…

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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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Lost 5.5 – This Island Is Death

In the mid-’90s, my then-girlfriend watched “Melrose Place” religiously. I wasn’t opposed to the show itself – any show with Heather Locklear is worth at least a look with the sound off, right? – but every time Marcia Cross came onscreen, I would repeat my mantra: “Would someone please KILL HER?” They would even tease us with promos saying, “One of these character will die,” then show all the leads and one blatant Red Shirt character. It made me crazy that these people would knock on Death’s door and ask him to punch them in the face, but they survived everything, like a bunch of bed-hopping cockroaches. For years, I would think that TV shows didn’t have the balls to kill their characters. It would be too risky, too polarizing.

Man, karma’s a bitch. This week alone, Daphne bites it on “Heroes,” and now Charlotte succumbs to Time Jumping Syndrome. TV finally gave me everything I ever wanted. It wasn’t what I wanted. Come on, they couldn’t have killed the cheerleader and Juliet instead?

Ben Linus might be the most conniving bag of douche on God’s green earth, but you have to admire how unflappable he is. He never loses his cool or panics even when someone has a gun to his head, and that happens a lot. This time it was Sun that was looking for a little payback, though one thing about her arc bugs me: she gets the gun through covert means, and is flipping through a file with shots of Jack and Ben before meeting them at the pier. At first, it looked as though she was on assignment, and Ben was the target. Is she a contract killer, or did she merely pull a few of Daddy’s strings to acquire some heat?

“You go ahead, Sawyer. I’m going to watch the love of my life regress to her childhood self and die, but not before scaring the living shit out of me.”

The bits between Rousseau and Jin were interesting, though much like everything else about “Lost,” they ask more questions than they answer. Her entire group goes to save their leader after the smoke monster drags him below (though not before he loses an arm, yikes). Then Jin jumps forward a little bit, and the rest of her group is now “infected,” though with what we’re not sure. She even thinks Jin is infected too, and since the father of Rousseau’s baby just tried to shoot her, I can’t say I blame her for being a little paranoid. Still, I hope they shed more light on what happened to them in the “temple.” I’d also love to know how Ben came to be Alexandra’s “father.”


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