Blu-ray: V: The Complete First Season
Release Date: November 2, 2010
The original V was a miniseries that spawned its own TV show in the early ’80s about lizard-like aliens invading Earth through political trickery and media manipulation. Even with its 1980s hair and sensibilities, V still holds a huge fan following. In the wake of Battlestar Galactica‘s reinvention on Syfy, it came as no surprise when NBC announced that they would be giving V a similar treatment. The new V premiered in 2009, and the first 12 episodes now are available in the V: The Complete First Season, released on Blu-ray November 2.
V premiered on NBC to huge ratings and knocked the ball out of the park with its first four episodes. The arrival of the Visitors in the first episode is awesome, terrifying, and inspiring, as we see how the world might react to the sudden global appearances of massive spacecraft hovering over the world’s biggest cities. This first handful of episodes introduces us to the characters that will become central to the plot of the new series on both the human and alien sides, as well as a few that straddle the line of loyalties.
The aliens arrive with the charismatic Anna (Morena Baccarin) as their leader and spokesperson. Appearing entirely human and benevolent, they claim to be of peace and begin integrating themselves into human society. In reality, the aliens are of course dastardly reptiles with a hidden and insidious plan that involves government infiltration, medical trickery, and bio-engineered soldiers. V follows the alien visitors’ increasingly tightening grip on humanity while showing the reluctant forming of a small but determined group of humans who know the truth and who must find some way to resist and save humanity.
After the fourth episode aired, V went on hiatus for about four months before returning to air the remainder of the first season’s episodes. From the fifth episode onwards, the series loses some of its edge, frequently opting to go with easy resolutions to potentially complex moral dilemmas and forcing a few characters into one dimensional roles. It does pick up some steam towards the end, culminating with an intense cliffhanger. Even with the comparatively weak writing in the middle of the season, V remains intriguing throughout as an entirely sci-fi drama that managed to land and build an audience on a major TV network.
The show’s success mostly rests on the shoulders of its outstanding cast, most of whom are veterans of other genre TV shows with fan following of their own. Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly) is the alien leader, while Laura Vandervoort (Smallville‘s Supergirl) plays her daughter who forms a manipulative relationship with human teenager Tyler (played by newcomer Logan Huffman). Tyler’s mom, FBI agent Erica Evans, unquestionably is the best character in the mix and is played by Elizabeth Mitchell, who previously stole many a scene on Lost as Juliet. Morris Chestnut plays Ryan Nichols, a rebel alien hiding among human society, while The 4400‘s Joel Gretsch is Jack Landry, a priest who has been pulled into the human resistance. Rounding out the cast of regulars is Scott Wolf as Chad Decker, a sometimes slimy and sometimes winsome TV reporter who finds his way into Anna’s pocket. Other genre actors like Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica), Nicholas Lea (The X-Files), and Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica) make appearances.
V relies on a lot of CG effects and has an overall bright and sanitary feel, especially aboard the alien vessels. These effects shots and settings translate well onto Blu-ray, and the overall picture quality is outstanding. The audio on the Blu-ray release is that same as on the DVD set, so it sounds good and is well respresented, but it doesn’t have any additional Blu-ray shine.
This first season set comes on two discs held in a regular plastic snap case, housed inside a cardboard slipcover. The slipcover features a chrome treatment like many other Blu-ray and DVD sets have been sporting lately. Even though chrome effects on covers is not a new thing, it still looks good and wins me over every time.
In addition to the 12 episodes, there are several special features included across this two disc set:
- Audio commentary from the executive producers on episode 11, “Fruition”
- Breaking Story: The World of V – A featurette about adapting and reinventing the V mythology
- The Actor’s Journey from Human to V – Cast members discuss producing and updating V for today’s audience
- An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V – A special about the makeup effects used on the show
- The Visual Effects of V – A second special effects featurette, this time about the visuals and digital effects, with a tour of ZOIC Studios
- Unaired Scenes – Four scenes that were not included in the original episode airings
Sci-fi fans and genre TV buffs will want to check out this great modernization of a retro classic. The update to the V story works on many levels, and the acting is generally top notch. Although the writing is inconsistent throughout the first season, when V gets it right it’s gripping and intense TV. The extra features on the Season 1 set sweeten the deal for fans, making this box set one worth picking up if you’re interested in the post-9/11 alien invasion conspiracy action.
Check out the official website at www.vtvondvd.com.