It’s no secret that ABC is searching for the next big thing in sci-fi.
There’s no question: LOST is king, but as the series finale looms, ABC will look for a way to keep their LOST fan base from evaporating. Last fall’s premiere of V was 14 million viewers-strong, but after Tuesday’s return from a three-month hiatus, the show managed to grab only half that. But honestly, the ratings dip makes sense to us: ABC is completely burying all the juicy stuff.
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The funny thing is that the ground work seems to be there. The show is a reshaping of the 1980s mini series turned regular series and the show’s creator, Kenneth Johnson, was the executive producer of the original. (In the world of reboots, that’s a rare find.) Johnson, who boasts a career dedicated to sci-fi entertainment also has producing/writing credits for Alien Nation and The Incredible Hulk, but so far it seems his alien invasion fledgling is flailing.
Merit aside, it seems like V has had a hard time committing itself to its own genre. At times, it seems more mediocre cop melodrama than sci-fi show, and it’s not tough to see why fans would be turned off. The worst part is that at its core, V has some amazing talent. Sci-fi vets Elizabeth Mitchell (LOST) and Morena Baccarin (Firefly) face off as leaders of the human resistance and the Visitors, respectively, but even snatching up LOST darling Mitchell as viewership bait may not be enough if the material simply isn’t there.
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The show’s plot seems flighty and skirts too many genres for comfort. It’s part LOST, part Law & Order and part Grey’s Anatomy all rolled up into one, but instead of marrying the three, it seems too focused on long, drawn out scenes of mother-son issues instead of advancing the plot. And then there’s Mitchell’s character, who seems there only to act as a device to bring more dynamic characters together and to provide a human counterpoint to Anna, (Baccarin) the leader of the Visitors.
Though the key plot point of an alien takeover through a subtle blending with humans is brilliant, it comes off as underdeveloped and consumed by side stories of personal drama. More than anything, the show lacks sheer sci-fi firepower. A few of the twists are great (Ryan Nichols, anyone?), but still, the show is suffering. Though Tuesday’s bizarre alien sex scene did offer a glimpse of the real alien inside Anna, it’s frustrating to see specks of great sci-fi moments buried inside a corny plot. And let’s not even mention the travesty that was Tuesday night’s V Countdown during LOST. (Strike two.)
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So, what will it take to pull in a true V fan base? Smarts. Fans will likely demand better content by way of changing the channel if the show continues to tease us with potential. Eventually, it’s got to deliver.
You tell us, are you watching V?