Though it follows hot on the heels of such
thematically-similar fare as The 4400 and District 9, V
is actually a remake of a highly-regarded 1983 TV miniseries based
upon an alien invasion of earth.
No expense has been spared on this
stunningly-shot and richly imaginative series, which begins with the
sudden appearance of 29 gigantic extraterrestrial motherships hovering
over all of the planet’s major cities. When the highly advanced beings
eventually make contact they seemingly, as the saying has it, come in
peace, and soon inspire a cult of devotion amongst much of humanity.
Eventually however the visitor’s motives are revealed to be anything
less than friendly, and far from exalting the newcomers to the status of
deities, humankind might just find them to be the stuff of nightmares.
The 2009/10 remake, like the original,
quickly built up a sizable following and garnered a positive critical
reception. Perhaps the most accurate assessment came from the King
Features website, which rightfully gushed that the series is ‘the best
new show on television, by far. The special effects are feature-film
quality; the writing is intelligent and time-relevant, and the acting is
first-rate. The first five minutes alone will hook you for the entire
The special effects are indeed majestic;
sequences where the huge alien craft hover above city skylines make
Independence Day look like a primary school production. The
performances are uniformly excellent, with sci-fi pinup Morena Baccarin
particularly mesmerising as the inscrutable, sinister Queen of the
Visitors, and a slew of believable, expertly nuanced supporting
characters keep the storyline grounded, as it were.
Allegory aside and reptilian conspiracy
references notwithstanding, the series is one of the cleverest and most
addictive of the past couple of years. The perfect melding of a big
budget with big imagination, V is quite simply a cut above.
The three-disc set is laden with a number
of excellent bonus incentives, including an audio commentary, several
deleted scenes as well as makeup and special effects featurettes. There
are also explorations of the series’ mythology, and at look at the
obstacles faced by the writers and crew when trying to reimagine a
decades-old series in the 21st century.
Audio & Video
The 2.4:1 anamorphically enhanced
widescreen transfer is suitably stunning and picture quality on the DVD
edition is faultless – the Blu-ray release must really be something to
behold. English 5.1 surround and Dolby 2.0 soundtracks are on offer.
The 5.1 really packs a wallop, and the sound design overall has been
nicely done. There are also French and Spanish audio tracks, and
subtitle options in English and nine other languages.