Friday, December 3, 2010

V (2009) and V (1983).

Hmm, what should I say here? Okay, I was a big fan of the original series. It's one of my favorites and also likely the best scifi miniseries of all time.

So when I got the long-awaited news that there would be a remake, I had some relatively high expectations for the show. Surely these new guys in charge would know how to pull off a moderately good show, close to the the original from the 80s.

But that's not exactly what happened. We didn't get a good show. Unfortunately, we didn't even get an okay show. So what went wrong then?

I guess the biggest problem with the new show is that it doesn't have any themes or characters that are interesting.

The original was about transformation and people rising up to the challenge. It was about the visitors coming after us and slowly getting rid of our precious rights. It was about human condition and the way we act in a crisis.

The new one isn't unfortunately about any of these things. At all.

The original had interesting and memorable characters: the gung-ho journalist who wanted to get to the bottom of it, a holocaust survivor and his family, a mother willing to sell his only son to the visitors, a kid willing to betray his precious family and a heroine doctor who would become the unexpected resistance leader.

The new version doesn't have any characters like that. The FBI agent is more or less only doing her job, the priest doesn't have any clue, the kid only wants to have sex, the journalist doesn't know who the bad guys are and the rest of them are basically nobodies.

There simply aren't any transformative characters on the show. The characters in the new version serve mainly to create shortcuts to the visitors - which makes the show as lazy and unimaginable as you could ever imagine.

Furthermore, it doesn't feel like there's any kind of threat going on at all. Nobody seems to be in trouble. And if nobody's in trouble, you don't have a story.

It didn't help the new show that they spilled all the beans in the 42 minute pilot. It's mind boggling how many of those crucial plot points they spent - that the visitors aren't here for benevolent reasons and that they are lizards. (the original by the way spent half its length to get to the shocking revelation about the visitors)

The producers of the new version told it was done because most of us had already seen the original, so we knew who the visitors were and what they were up to. The logical question to that is that since we knew who they were and what they were up to, why did they even make the new series in the first place?

I personally don't think there's anything wrong about making a new series. It's just that these new guys had no idea what they were doing. All the good parts from the original are missing. None of the allegories to Nazi Germany are there. There are no themes, no values, no substance, no nothing.

I don't care what happens to the characters in the new version. I'm almost rooting for the V's to kick the crap out of the resistance. Well, almost.

Nevertheless, the original was and still is an amazing achievement in storytelling. For example, take at look at this clip. (it's really that good)

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