Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Here V Go Again

Just watched the pilot for the new V television series (based on the 1983 miniseries). No spoilers here, but I will say this: an awful lot of pipe, not a lot of details, and still quite a few science errors.

Because they recycled this particular plot point from the 1983 original, I'll mention it: is anyone with any knowledge of astronomy really going to believe that aliens looking for water would sail through an Oort cloud full of icy comets and several outer planets with icy moons just so they can get liquid water from Earth? Does their advanced otherworldly technology include gravity control but not, y'know, heating elements? (Bonus round: if you have seemingly ubiquitous anti-gravity devices, why do your ships still need rocket thrusters?)

Also, I would have called the big reveal after act two, except I thought it was so preposterous that they wouldn't go there. I guess the moral here is, never underestimate the ridiculousness of most TV writing.

(Sidebar: in his collection Playgrounds of the Mind, sf author Larry Niven talks about how he and Jerry Pournelle pitched a story idea for the original, 1980s "V" series to NBC. You'll find that anecdote in the essay "The Lost Ideas," and their proposed backstory for the Visitors could have been a lot of fun, if implemented by the right showrunner.)

But it wasn't all bad. I did enjoy the little genre in-jokes, including the crowds gathering in "Oceanic Plaza" in the teaser and the Independence Day dig. I would have enjoyed them a little more if ABC weren't so obviously desperate to catch the Lost lightning in a bottle again, both with this show and FlashForward.

I'll give V a few more episodes, but I'll say what I've said before: I like a little more science in my science fiction.


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