ABC’s V: A Kinder, Gentler Visitor.

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Last night on ABC we got a chance to see the sleek, new 21st century remake of the classic 1980's science fiction tale of rebellion against fascists from space, "V". Gone were the creepy, modulated voices of the original Visitors. Gone were the blood-red, Nazi-esque uniforms. Gone were those eighties-Hipster/2009 Diddy sunglasses. Gone were those formidable shock troopers with shiny black helmets, spiffy vinyl tunics and Stormtooper-grade aiming skills. Gone were those funky laser rifles that took about a minute for the beam to reach its target. Gone is the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. In their places, we got a stripped down, leaner version of the space opera, complete with contemporary references galore.

TV always reflects pop-culture and political trends, that is what makes it so appealing to a mass audience, which is what the medium does best. In the early eighties, sci-fi was riding high off the success of that little movie known as Star Wars, so naturally TV shows had sinister, Imperial types with minion troopers (Cylons, before they were blonde, wore red dresses and only appeared in hallucinations). The Cold War was the Big Threat back then, so a fascist/communist enemy complete with a swastika looking logo made sense. Fast forward to present day, and the Cold War has been replaced with terrorism, sleeper cells, and thus in the new series, a new take on the reptillian invaders has been implemented: they have been here all along, and are walking among us. The nineties brought to science fiction a real sense of paranoia, conspiracy theories and the like. X Files' Mulder and Sculley constantly turned multiple rocks over to find out the government knew about IT all along (substitute IT with aliens, ghosts, what have you). The new V definitely reflects that 90's brewed paranoia, albeit updated to present-day with ham-fisted references to HOPE and CHANGE that the visitors claim to bring (who does that sound like? hmmm..) http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/090406/V-aliens-miniseries_l.jpgThe pacing of the new show is much faster, of course reflecting 20 years of MTV-fueled short attention spans. The new show felt like a one hour trailer, it went by so fast. While this is good from a pacing point of view, it does come at a cost. There is no real sense of foreboding (at least not yet) that the original did so well. When Donovan, the main hero of the original, ripped the face mask off a visitor the for the first time, it was really scary. The eerie horror-themed music, the reptilian eyes, and the forked tongue made my 9-year old stomach turn, and wanting more in the process. The new "first reveal" happened so fast, if you got up to grab some popcorn, youd miss it for sure. No scary music, no forked tongue, just wham-bam-thank-you mam. That is not to say I didn't like the new show, I did get into the characters, the effects were modern and impressive enough, and Anna, the new leader, was great. I am definitely tuning in next week for sure. I guess I just miss that classic look and feel of the old series, I wanted a little more of it here. The new uniforms, which like like a cross between the new Galactica and classic blue Disneyland monorail workers, just didnt get my heart racing this time. But the jury is still out, until the next episode.. ABC's "V" can be seen Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM.

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