Tag: Morena Baccarin

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.

A Chat with Anders Anderson and Andy Steinman (“Stolen”)

When you hear about a movie that stars Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Josh Lucas (“Glory Road,” “Poseidon”) and fleshes out its ensemble with Morena Baccarin (“V,” “Firefly”), Michael Cudlitz (“Southland”), James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”), and half a dozen other faces that are instantly recognizable from television and motion pictures, it’s hard not to get excited when you’re pitched the opportunity to speak with the director (Anders Anderson) and the cinematographer (Andy Steinman).

But what happens if, before you see the film, you read on the website RottenTomatoes.com that it’s actually earning the much dreaded 0% rating on the Tomatometer?

Well, if you’re me, then the first thing you do after that is actually watch the film yourself…and, personally, I liked it.

If I had to guess about the reason “Stolen” has received so many sneering reviews, it’s that it bears striking similarities to a couple of high-rated but critically snubbed police procedurals currently airing on network television. But, hey, I like those shows, and I also like the actors in “Stolen,” so if you’re of the same mindset, then you’ll probably like the film, too.

Still, before I got off the line with Messrs. Anderson and Steinman, I felt obliged to buckle up and ask them what they thought about the film’s Tomatometer rating….and, no, the line didn’t go dead immediately after I asked it.

Bullz-Eye: Hi, guys! Good to talk with you.

Anders Anderson: Hey, Will, how are you doing?

Andy Steinman: Hey, Will, nice to talk with you.

BE: Now, I hope you guys don’t mind if I ask you to identify yourselves before you answer questions, just because your voices sound kind of similar.

AA: Yeah, no problem.

AS: They’re actually quite different, but when you’re around someone that long, they start melding into one.

BE: (Laughs) That’s probably what it is. Well, I guess my first question is to ask how you guys first began your collaboration. Had you been friends prior to this project?

AA: Yeah, we had, but I’ll let Andy tell this tale. He’s told it many times.

AS: Yeah, we first met on a short in Santa Fe, NM, that Anders was acting and…I think you were producing it, too, yeah?

AA: Yeah.

AS: And I was a cinematographer, and I came out there, and we just clicked. Talking to him about whatever we had to do with the camera, talking to him about performance, talking to him about movies that we like, how to make the short the best it could be. We just kind of hit it off on what we wanted to do in our careers when we were done with this short, so we started talking about possibly forming a company and trying to do movies that we wanted to do. And it was just one of those things where we talked to each other and asked, “Well, what do we do next?” And the answer was always, “Well, we’ve got to make a feature.” And so we started talking about, “How do we make a feature? What do we do?” And we just started that process, step by step, of trying to get a movie made: pulling our resources and connections, however little they were, to try and get a feature off the ground. And we became friends all at the same time.

BE: So how did Glenn Taranto’s script cross your path? Did you know him, or was it pitched to you?

AS: We basically contacted everyone we knew. (Laughs) Friends, family, any type of business connection, and asked, “Does anyone know anyone who has a script? Does anyone have a script? We’re looking for material. We’re just looking for something that we can get behind.” And a production company that we’d worked with in the past basically said, “Here, we have a couple of scripts that we like. Why don’t you take a read?” And, lo and behold, Glenn’s script – which was originally called “Box in the Box” – showed up in front of us, and instantly we knew that something was there was that was a great vehicle to get actors, to get performers to be in our first film. Being first-timers, we knew that a lot of this had to be…we knew that we had to get some really good cast behind us to kind of help get the movie out there, and we thought that script would do that. So we just kind of took it and ran with it.

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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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