Home > TV Thoughts > The Problem With ABC’s V

The Problem With ABC’s V

So I just finished watching the second season finale of ABC’s “V” and I think I now know what teachers feel like when they have a talented student that only applies themselves occasionally. Last season, the pilot episode of “V” was strong and very compelling. It got me excited. Subsequent episodes though were incredibly frustrating. Focus was placed on characters who were more annoying than interesting and the most frustrating aspect of all was that the show never seemed to go anywhere. Sure there were plenty of shocking revelations but the Visitors invasion of Earth was painfully slow and the main cast of characters never seemed to accomplish anything.

The show then went on break for several months and when it came back for the second half of its first season it felt refreshed. Things didn’t move forward too much but certain characters were more developed. They even gave the show’s heroes a big win at the end of the first season.

So I was excited when ABC chose to renew the show for a second season. Unfortunately that excitement was quickly diminished when the second season began. Because the second season repeatedly left me feeling that once again the characters were accomplishing very little and unlikeable characters were being forced down our throats. There were occasional bright spots like the episode where the main Fifth Column Resistance cell tried to assassinate Anna. It was obvious they were going to fail, but the characters did succeed in killing Anna’s top lieutenant Marcus. Or so we thought, because the visitors managed to revive him a few episodes later.

Other accomplishments were quickly nullified to. The series protagonist , FBI agent Erica Evans, played by Elizabeth Mitchell managed to become leader of a world wide resistance group. When that happened I once again got excited. It seemed like our cast of characters were going to be proactive and accomplish something, but by the end of the season the movement ultimately ended up doing more harm than good. Not only did they accomplish nothing, their actions actually furthered the visitors’ goals!

The season finale again showed some promise. It was a carnage filled episode where the visitors struck back and many heroic characters were killed. So it felt like the visitors’ invasion was progressing. They even employed a new firghtening weapon in their invasion. And on the heroic side we got a glimpse of a promising secret organization that showed that maybe the humanity isn’t as inept at they were made out to be this season. Best of all the show finally did away with it’s most annoying character Erica Evans’ son Tyler, played by Logan Huffman.

So at the end of season two of “V” I’m feeling more frustrated than hopeful. The show has proven it has potential. It has talented writers working onit like crime novelist Gregg Hurwitz, writer of Marvel Comics’ late and under rated “Vengeance of Moon Knight” series. And Rockne S. O’Bannon, the creator of one of the best sci-fi tv shows ever, “Farscape”, joined the show’s writing staff this season. The show also has some strong actors. Elizabeth Mitchell, Scott Wolf who plays reporter Chad Decker, and Laura Vandervoort, who plays the visitor Lisa, all had strong years. Plus this year, one of the best actors from “The Shield”, Jay Karnes, joined the cast as FBI agent Chris Bolling. Even with all that talent though this season of “V” still managed to disappoint me.

ABC has yet to renew “V” for a third season. I hope they do, but if a third season happens it needs to be better than this previous one which was ultimately frustrating and disappointing. If a third season of “V” happens this is what I’d like to see as a viewer and fan of the show:

The status quo moves forward and things change. This season the producers and writing staff clung tightly to the cold war aspect of the series which has the world believing the visitors to be agents of peace and the heroes’ secret resistance cell fighting back and trying to expose them. Clinging to that status quo made the show feel like nothing really happened and like some episodes didn’t matter. Give the viewers what they want. Have the V’s conquer Earth and give us a series about valiant resistance cells of humans and visitors sympathetic to the human cause fighting back against the reptilian invaders

Death needs to matter especially with the Visitors. There have been two memorable instances on this show where a Visitor character was killed and then resurrected. In both instances it benefited the Visitors’ cause, but instead of making things feel more dire, it felt just cheap. One character that was brought back was a secret human sympathizer and resurrecting him nullified his heroic sacrifice at the end of the first season. The other character that was resurrected was Anna’s right hand man Marcus, and bringing him back robbed the good guys of their only major
win this season

Visitor High Commander Anna needs to be brought down a peg. Morena Baccarin who plays Anna has made her a villain you love to hate, but hate just a little too much. The fact that I do have a visceral reaction to the character suggests that Baccarin is doing something right, but the character is so infuriatingly smug and not in a charismatic way. The way she constantly out maneuvers characters and then gloats about it doesn’t make for an intriguing villain. It makes for an annoying one. So it’s okay to have her lose occasionally. It might maker her a multi faceted and intriguing villain.

Do something with Project Ares. In the second season finale, a top secret joint task force made up of the military forces from many countries was introduced. They were called Project Ares and in a nice homage to the original “V” series Marc Singer plays one of their top agents. Jay Karnes’ FBI agent was also revealed to be a member. We only saw them for a couple of minutes but Project Ares seemed very capable. So if there is “V” a season three I’d like to see them prove that by being proactive and actually achieving some meaningful victories against the visitors. I obviously don’t want to see them win all the time, but when you’re watching a show you want to feel like its heroes occasionally accomplish some meaningful victories

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