Saturday, November 14, 2009

V, cult audiences, and disappointment

It seems like this TV season has a few new players vying to take Lost's place. Of these shows, V is the only one I've seen, and it makes its goals pretty clear. The opening shot is of Elizabeth Mitchell (late of Lost) lying in bed, and the camera zooms in on her face as her eye opens. Lost has started episodes this way no fewer than 18 times, enough so that it's clear the producers of V are making a winking reference to it.

But V isn't just trying to suck in the Lost audience - as a lot of people have noticed, the cast is overflowing with actors from other sci-fi shows with cult followings: Inara and Wash from Firefly, Tom from The 4400, Kara from Smallville, and Tory from Battlestar Galactica spring immediately to mind. Part of the fun, I'm sure, is trying to read the characters that these people are better known for against their V counterparts - Alan Tudyk's Dale is Wash, at least until they pull the rug out from underneath us by revealing he's a V sleeper agent; Rekha Sharma's Sarita Malik appears to be an FBI agent who's suspicious of the Vs, though her role on BSG makes us immediately suspicious of her.

That said, the first two episodes have been disappointing. We were promised a reveal on par with the original series' dislocated-jaw-hamster-swallowing, but it hasn't materialized - and we're already two episodes into only a four episode block before it disappears until the spring. (And given that nearly 1/3 of their audience disappeared in between the premiere and the second episode, we can't be sure that it'll ever return.)

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