I made the mistake of judging FlashForward primarily on the amazing first 15 minutes which was a cinematographic masterpiece and kind of ignored the weakness of the characters and acting. The story was intriguing, so I gave it a very high score, and I'm hoping not to recreate the mistake.
With V, I was impressed by the visual effects and the story, both of which are a step up from the original 1983 miniseries. If you're wondering, I've watched both miniseries and the series, but unfortunately I don't remember much about them so I can't make any direct comparisons between the original and remake.
The pilot moves very fast from the arrival of the Visitors to a three week jump in which they seem to have settled into society. There is a brief scene that attempts to show the consequence of their arrival through the number of people going to church and the Vatican's instant acceptance of them. Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) doesn't understand the instant attraction to the Visitors and serves oddly as the voice of reason in a media that often denigrates religious
The reveal that the Visitors were not benevolent was quite hurried with the bashing of Erica's (Elizabeth Mitchell) partner Dale (Alan Tudyk) who turned out to be a Visitor. By the end of the episode, we learn the Visitors are not benevolent and reptilian. This sets up the resistance fighting from the second episode on which I think is a mistake. I would like to have seen more ambiguity of the helpfulness of the Visitors and the resistance being unsure if the Visitors are truly the enemy. With a frontal attack on the resistance meeting, that idea is shattered, and the resistance can do nothing but fight back.
A large difference from the original was that in the remake, the Visitors have been on Earth for years, causing everything bad to happen, and increasing the reliance on the Visitors. Ryan (Morris Chestnut) is a rather creepy character who turns out to be a Visitor who met with the resistance leader earlier and now is helping for whatever reason. I'm not sure if it was bad acting or directing, but whenever Ryan was with his almost fiancée, he had a very uneasy vibe with his little smiles and eyes.
Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) is a reporter that is willing to compromise his journalistic integrity to become famous. Anna (Morena Baccarin) picks up that he is ambitious and a loser, immediately makes him her press secretary. While Chad may have reservations, he knows the upside to helping the Visitors and is willing to go along.
The worst part of the show is Erica's son Tyler (Logan Huffman). Simply put, he's a douche. He's whiny, belligerent, a sheep, and crazy for hot Visitors. Every scene with him is hard to watch. I don't think he did anything redeeming, but since he's the main character's son, he can't be too horrible. I'm expecting a predictable storyline for him based on what I remember from the original. First he'll hook up with Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), she may have a baby similarly to the half-alien baby from The Final Battle, and then Tyler will finally come around to see the truth.
I had expected the acting to be the standout of the show with seemingly loaded cast, but for the most part, no performance other than Morena Baccarin's really caught my attention. She captured perfectly the calm, calculating deviousness that is needed of the Visitors. Anna has all the right words and a non-threatening delivery that will steal a place in everyone's heart.
I've seen comments hating on V because it is a remake and I saw the same thing with Battlestar Galactica. Let's be honest an just admit that in the 21st century, the 1978 Battlestar Galactica and 1983 V miniseries are hokey in comparison to modern scifi.
I highly enjoyed the pilot and hope that V can continue with the same high quality television, but I am wary since I can't imagine how the series can be dragged on for several seasons. It's an alien invasion and the humans must defeat them, so unless the writers can through in many twists, it seems very straightforward.
I've seen lots of talk online about how V is anti-Obama. While it's probably a stretch to connect a TV show with a specific politician, going down the same path, I also saw an attack on Bush, so if you check back later, I'll have a post elaborating on the idea.