Yesterday, I sat me down and watched the new version of V, one of the most popular miniseries in TV history. I absolutely love the fact that V is being redone. My fear is that the remake will be all about action with little of what made the original miniseries so compelling to watch. (Or for that matter, the second miniseries and the weekly series–all due to popular demand)..
My thoughts after seeing one episode:
The casting is a bit..strange. The Visitor’s leader “Anna” is an updated version of “Diana” from the original. While “Diana” was an attractive woman, it was in a more, almost-not-quite masculine and powerful kind of way, while “Anna” is more demure and “sweet” looking. “Diana” had the look of a commander, which was probably intentional due to the strong Nazi/holocaust overtones of the original miniseries.
Additionally, Scott Wolf is a fine actor but I’m not sure I am liking the “updated” version of Kristine Walsh, in this case named Chad something or other. “Kristine Walsh” was taken in by the Vs for a little while anyway but “Chad” isn’t cool with it from the start?? The whole point is that the Vs are fooling people for a little while at least..
I’m also wondering about whether or not the FBI agent is going to be doing the part of the female leader of the resistance..in the original, Faye Grant plays Julie, a wanted scientist who is very young, yet commands the entire resistance and quite capably at that. Hmm perhaps some background on the original series is needed here.
Additionally, already we have a Vistitor “traitor” show up and he has saved the lives of the preacher and FBI agent, who were betrayed by her partner who turns out to be a bad V. I know where this went (obviously) in the original but I’m not sure I’m liking the “jumping right into it” feel that this has. There seems to be very little background history going on between the time of the Visitor landing and the formation of the resistance movement. who cares? Well it was very relevant for the original series..okay I have to do a background now.
Background of the original miniseries:
The original series starts out the same, the Visitors come to Earth and seem all helpful and nice (by the way, it was a nice nod to Marc Singer from Scott Wolf when the latter says, “Aren’t there any ugly Visitors?”) at first, then slowly gaining power and influence. Also, the top minds (scientists) in the world are being “arrested” as part of a conspiracy plan (that wasn’t true) to subvert the Visitors and cause them harm, so the Earth police forces jump on a global bandwagon to arrest all scientists. But then they start disappearing altogether. One of the main characters is a retired Jew and his adult children who live next door to a scientist who is being hunted and is trying to escape with his family. The old man convinces his son to hide the family through a story about how he (the adult son) was saved by someone helping them get out of Nazi Germany.
Right from the start, V is very much a commentary about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. It shows, with aliens, how easy it would be to fall into the type of behaviours and patterns that led to the Holocaust. These Beautiful Visitors (reference to the blond haired blue eyed superior race mentality) come to Earth and claim that they will change everything for the better while the only people who would have been able to figure out what they were underneath (Nazis) were being arrested and then disappearing (Jews/holocaust). A resistance is formed, under the leadership of a young female scientist who is crippled after being shot by a V. This is important to the series, showing the important concept of female empowerment, something still in its infancy at the time. And of course, the Resistance is formed, much as it was in Nazi occupied countries in WWII.
Marc Singer as Mike Donovan makes the story more relatable through his charismatic, “hero with flaws” character. He is the reporter that gets passed up in favor of Kristine Walsh to be the Visitor’s liaison. His son is kidnapped by the Vs in order to bring him in later on. In fact, much of the show’s likeability factor comes from the Marc Singer/Faye Grant duo, as well as Robert Englund’s great performance as Willie, the somewhat “special” V who falls in love with a human..I guess the actor in the updated version is a far more intelligent update but Willie was very likeable and also important to the series.
Also a very important factor concerning the Nazi/holocaust aspect of the original series is that of collaborators. Hitler couldn’t have done any of the things he did without followers, people who jumped on the bandwagon for their own reasons. In the series, there are human collaborators who actually turn in scientists and citizens in favor of the Vs.
So, so far, I was entertained by what I saw, but I’m not sure if I like it as the show V. Maybe as something other than specifically being V, called something else maybe..we’ll see..hopefully it gets some kind of relatability factor going for it otherwise I think that the only people who are going to watch it are people who never saw the original series.