[Ed. note: I would like to introduce the latest edition to the Videogum Street Team. Monsters, please welcome Joe Mande. He's a stand-up comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central and Best Week Ever, and is the creator of the popular blog, Look At This Fucking Hipster (soon to be a popular book!). Now, he is going to do to ABC's reboot of V what he did to skinny jeans and kafias (make fun of it on-line).]

Weeks ago, Gabe asked me to write recaps of the new ABC show FlashForward for Videogum. I really wanted to do it, because I tend to only watch TV shows that are advertised on the side of buses. Unfortunately, I’m a very important person living a very important life, so important things got in the way. I was forced to tell Gabe that I was unable to write jokes for his blog. Naturally, I felt guilty about this, because I feel guilty about everything, so I forced myself to keep watching FlashForward despite the fact that I wasn’t writing recaps. As the season went on, I felt less and less guilty, because FlashForward is a terrible television show that no one but me is watching (more like “FlushDownward,” …you know, like a toilet?).

Anyway, my life is a little less important these days, and thus I’ve agreed to recap ABC’s other new, big-budget series, V.

Now, I don’t know if ABC has big hopes for V, but speaking strictly in terms of theme songs, this show is just as good as Lost.

V is a show about sexy alien (yes, alien) “visitors” who come to Earth in a bunch of giant spaceships that hover above all the major cities in the world like a bunch of District 9‘s. The Visitors (or, V’s) announce to the world that they come in peace. Then they offer us humans a deal: In exchange for all the water and minerals they need to get back to their home planet, they will give mankind a bunch of their super advanced space-knowledge. For free! Uhm…that seems like the easiest deal to make.

If my friend was on that show, I’d be like, “SPACE KNOWLEDGE!! TAKE THE SPACE KNOWLEDGE!!!”

So…what’s the catch? Oh, the Visitors might actually evil lizards or something.

V is actually a remake of a 1983 mini-series of the same name that I had never heard of (sorry, nerds!). The SyFy Channel (so glad they changed to the phonetic spelling) played reruns of the original series over the weekend. I watched a couple hours of it, and although it was very dated, I liked what I saw. There’s something to be said for character development and aliens wearing Jay-Z sunglasses.

Sadly, the producers of the 2009 version of V decided to do without both. This time around, we’re introduced to the main characters in the most hectic way possible: while spaceships are invading Earth and literally everything is shaking.

This is Erica (played by Juliet from Lost). She’s an FBI agent. Her house is shaking.

She’s on the phone with her daredevil son Tyler. He’s in the hospital because of a minor motorcycle accident. His hospital is shaking.

This is Ryan (played by The Inkwell’s Morris Chestnut). He is a black man trying to buy an engagement ring. His jewelry store is shaking.

This is his Latina wife-to-be, Valerie. Her coffee is shaking.

This is Father Jack Landry (played by National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ Joel Gretsch). His church is shaking.

And this is Chad Decker (played by White Squall’s Scott Wolf). He’s Emily’s ex-husband and Tyler’s father. He’s also a self-obsessed cable newscaster. His shower is shaking. (I felt a little gay making an animated gif of that, so this is still frame only!)

The shaking, of course, is due to the fact that a giant spaceship is parallel parking on top of New York City. (By the way, can I just say, if you’re not going to shoot a TV show in New York City, then don’t set that TV show in New York City. Everyone on this show has a huge house with sunlight pouring in the windows. Where do these people all live, Ditmas Park? And the tallest buildings they can find are, like, 15 stories tall. Just have the aliens attack Burbank if that’s easier. No one gives a shit.) The bottom of the spaceship begins to shift and move around and people in the streets below start to freak out, because it’s like 9/11 all over again. Which reminds me, can we quickly talk about the first ten seconds of V real quick?

Hmmm, where was I this morning? Let’s see…I woke up, brewed some coffee, and then made a couple flippant references to national tragedies to make myself seem important. Oh, and then I played Xbox.

So, anyway, the bottom of the spaceship starts to shift and move around, and people in the streets below start freaking out. But, not to worry, you guys. That’s just how the spaceship turns itself into an iPod. This is when we finally get to meet Anna, the leader of the V’s.

Ha! I love that. Aaaaaaaaand polite golf clap. Right, that would probably happen. Because New Yorkers aren’t cynical at all. The Kid From Brooklyn would be like, “Well, if that fuckin’ beeyootiful alien broad on that floatin’ jumbo-tron says she’s truly anguished by the turmoil she’s caused, then fuhgettaboutit!”

You know, for some TV shows, that could be enough for the first episode. But not V. This all happens in the FIRST NINE MINUTES. There’s still 51 minutes left. And the episode never takes its foot off the Whaaaaat pedal. If anything, it pushes down harder.

So much crazy shit, I just need to burn through it:

The next day (which, I guess is today, right?), Father Jack is told by his Priest-boss that the Vatican wants all sermons to be pro-alien. Father Jack is uncomfortable with this. The church is packed for the first time ever, because most people turn to God in times of aliens.

Emily, however, is not most people. She’s not going to let terrorists use this aliens thing to their advantage. She calls her partner, Dale, and tells him she wants to investigate a suspicious terror cell. He’s says okay.

Anna, the V leader, addresses the world again, this time from the UN Building. After her speech, Chad Decker chastises his peers in the media for asking disrespectful questions. He then asks Anna why she’s so good looking. She answers by telling Chad he looks good too. Everyone laughs. Then later on the spaceship Anna is watching Chad’s news story, and she says she “wants him.” Does that mean for sex? For dinner? No one knows.

Three weeks go by…(minute 17)

Emily is still investigating that terrorist cell. She tells her partner, Dale, that they’re going to Long Island to search for a van with trace elements of C4 inside. He’s like, “I don’t want to go to Long Island.” But they go to Long Island and Emily finds a shack next to the van. She tugs on a rope inside the shack and that opens a door to a secret passageway that leads to dark bunker, where they find a mutilated dead body and comically large pile of C4.

Ryan, the Black guy, gets a phone call from a shady dude named Georgie. Georgie says he needs help. Ryan says, “I’m not that guy anymore,” and hangs up. His soon-to-be Latina fiancée, Valerie, is like “Who was that on the phone?” And Ryan is like, “Don’t worry about it.” Because he’s not that guy anymore. What guy? No one knows.

Meanwhile, Tyler gets tickets to go on a sightseeing trip up in the V spaceship. Score! Inside the spaceship, Tyler meets Lisa, who puts the V in cleavage.

Lisa gives Tyler literature about joining the V’s special Peace Ambassador program, which is a sort of a galactic Sea Org. Tyler is interested, but says he can’t join because he’s not 18. Lisa says it’s fine, as long as he gets a parent’s signature. Because you know how aliens are: always afraid of getting sued.

So Tyler really wants to sleep with Lisa, because duh who doesn’t. To make her happy, he starts filming himself spray painting the letter V onto walls and yelling, “V’s rule!” But then his mom sees the video on youtube and is like, “Tyler, I’m so mad at you about your new tagging hobby.” And Tyler says to her, “What you call tagging, the V’s call spreading hope!” He really says that to her. Because he’s inspired by all the “Change.”

I don’t know if I’m making this up or not, but I sensed a very weird and not very well thought out anti-Obama element to the show. Anna is all about hope and peace and change, but there’s something clearly evil about her. Then, near the end, Tyler’s tipping point for forging his mother’s signature to become a Space Scientologist is when he sees Anna on TV promising to build facilities around the world that will provide free medicine for all humans, or as we call it “universal health care.” That’s the V’s crafty way to get young people to adore their politics!

Am I reading too much into this? Probably. But check out the design of Tyler’s favorite new homepage, VisitMothership.com:

It has a blue motif similar to my former homepage:

Ryan the Black dude keeps ignoring that creepy guy Georgie’s phone calls, so Georgie meets Ryan in person. Creepy Georgie tells Ryan that “the group” needs him now more than ever. But Ryan tells Georgie he can no longer be part of “the group” because “the group” too dangerous. He explains that he wants to get married to a Latina woman and he can’t be a part of “the group” without putting her in danger. No one knows what “rhe group” is.

Emily finds a very convenient FBI clue about a secret meeting in a different dark scary room. She thinks the meeting is for her Long Island terrorist cell, but once inside, we realize it’s a meeting for creepy Georgie’s “group.” Wait, is Georgie a terrorist? Probably not, because his name is “Georgie.” Also, Father Jack is there and he looks conflicted about it.

Georgie explains to “the group” that Visitors have actually lived on Earth for decades. They’re really lizard people with cloned human skin over their lizard bodies. And the only way to tell if someone is a Visitor is by cutting a hole in the back of his or her head and seeing if they have scaly skin instead of a skull bone. Because lizards don’t have skull bones. Science.

Georgie goes on to explain that the reason there is so much war, economic ruin, and religious tension in the world right now is because “over the last few decades” (there were no religious wars a few decades ago, by the way) V’s posing as humans have infiltrated every facet of our society, manipulating things to make them terrible. Open your eyes, Emily! It’s a vast il-lizard-nati out there!

Chad goes onto the spaceship for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Anna. She’s the new Sarah Palin. Chad wants the interview her like Katie Couric, but Anna says he can only interview her like Greta Van Susteren. Chad agrees, but only because the interview will make him more famous.

Back in the dungeon, shit is getting really crazy. A weird silver soccer ball floats into the secret meeting room and starts taking pictures of Emily and Father Jack. Georgie sees the floating silver soccer ball and yells for everyone to duck, because he’s seen a lot of fllaoting silver soccer ball cameras, so he knows that they self destruct after taking a picture. The soccer ball explodes, sending shrapnel across the room. Then, out of nowhere a bunch of people–lizard people, presumably–break in carrying a whole lot of guns and machetes. They start hurting Georgie’s “group” real bad. Then Dale, Emily’s partner, comes in and you think it’s to save Emily. But no! He tackles Emily. Because he’s one the secret V Illizardnati agents. Emily hits Dale in the head with a pipe, and sure enough, underneath the wound is lizard skin. AHA! That’s why he didn’t want to go to Long Island after all! Emily stabs Dale in the chest and he dies.

But it’s still very bad for the “group”! The V’s are very good at fighting. Then, out of nowhere, Ryan the Black dude shows up and starts kicking V ass. He really saves the day! The V’s all flee the weird dark meeting place. Georgie is happy to Ryan has joined the group. Ryan is happy to join the group, but sad because now he can’t get married to Valerie. It’s too dangerous. Georgie looks at a deep cut on Ryan’s arm and holy shit! There’s lizard skin underneath! Ryan’s not a Black dude, he’s a V! He’s one of the good ones! And he didn’t need a head wound to prove it. Science.

Emily and Father Jack decide to join the V resistance. It’s clear they’re probably going to do it with each other. Meanwhile Tyler gets his new Peace Ambassador jumpsuit from Lisa. It’s clear they’re probably going to do it with each other.

What a fucking mess. I feel like I just recapped an entire season of television.

Did anyone watch this show but me? Did anyone like it? The only show I watch on a regular basis is Intervention. Is this what television is like? Is anyone out there? I feel so alone.

Comments (47)
  1. Oh man, now I’m gonna be singing that theme song all day.
    This is Heroes all over again.

  2. my computer is shaking because of all those animated .gifs.

  3. While I have V-irtually zero desire to watch this show, I would like for Joe to continue to contribute jokes to the site. Maybe he can take over Top Model duty?

  4. Great recap. More thought was put into the writing of that than into the actual show I think. This thing was a bland, lazy affair meaning it will probably run for years.

  5. I watched it. I liked it. But, I also like the original V a little too much for anyone’s comfort. The only way I would not have liked it would have been if there were no creepy lizard aliens.

    Also: Creepy reptile aliens reminded me of Scientologists over Obama, what with all the talk about healing centers.

    Also also: I have to say, if aliens came down and talked about giving universal health care, methinks that they would be shot immediately, what with the current totally reasonable health care debate currently going on.

    • I definitely got the subtle ‘your government is like the Vs’ hints. The universal health care comment was so abrupt and oddly-placed. They may as well have just had Bailey Salinger turn to the camera and say, “No V bailouts!”

      • The more I think about it, the more I agree. Which just makes me mad at myself for being blinded by the promise of creepy lizard aliens. Boo me, and my lack of critical thinking skills.

  6. Damn, this show seems to have more plots going on than True Blood, and it’s just the first episode?!

  7. this actually sounds like a television show about what my crazy grandfather believes is actually happening in america, except replace “space aliens” with “black people who work with acorn”. do not want.

  8. i still don’t understand how a show that was originally a mini-series, and has the most obvious end-game, can last for more than one season…

  9. when Jesus stage dives, you catch Jesus. wheelchair or no.

  10. Just wait until episode 4 when Tyler says to Emily, “But Mom! What you call ‘golden showers’ the Vs call Spreading Hope!”

  11. I once dated a guy who waited till after the 6th date to spring a book on me that actually put this story as fact. Princess Diana? Lizard. The Kennedy’s? Big bunch o’ lizards. When i regrettably ended things the next day he asked if i wanted to keep hold of the book.

  12. I hope Thomas Pynchon, author of V, sues ABC over the naming rights. And the case goes to the Supreme Court, after being appealed five times.

    V v. V V

  13. Great recap. I actually think it has some potential… not to mention there is nothing else on Tuesday nights! I’d rather watch V than two hours of fat people exercising or ‘celebrities’ ‘dancing’.

  14. The main issue I had (I had others; this one was just my King Shit Issue) was part when priest is all, “Isn’t it convenient that they showed up right when the world was the worst it’s ever been” or whatever. At any given moment, the world is always the worst it’s ever been. It’s not like there were times in the history of humanity when we all looked around and said, “Well, everything’s just about perfect right now. We all agree.” So, no, Priest. I do not think that’s terribly convenient.

    • In his defense, he probably meant “when the world was the worst it’s ever been for upper-middle class white Americans.”

      • It may be because I used to pop in Waynes World 2 as I was falling asleep (shut up) pretty much every night when I was a teen, but I can, to this day, recite Del Preston’s “Sri Lanka, Formerly Ceylon” monologue in its entirety. It’s the most useless party trick ever, because no one has any idea what I’m talking about.

    • I hate the way it’s naturally assumed that the world is currently an unbearably awful place. The gap between the first world and the third is certainly growing and there are parts of the world where that disparity is making things really, really bad for people, but I’d say the world is probably, generally, a nicer place to be born into than it ever has at any point in human history.

      You want to complain, go live in the middle ages or something.

  15. Erica, not Emily. Although, when I was watching, it was “Juliet, grab the fucking gun!” For the most part, I liked it, but I laughed heartily right after the “universal healthcare” bit. I didn’t catch that Bailey was Juliet’s ex-husband, and their butt-cut kid Tyler and his friend were both terrible. I loved when Jesus took the stage-dive. I didn’t love the similarities between the Vs and the Obama administration, that was bothersome.

  16. Looks like I have a new weeknight to get drunk on!

  17. PROs: GGI was really good for a TV show, reminds me of my childhood, funny self-referencing jokes.

    CONs: stilted acting, wack dialog, confusing character introductions.

    RESULT: Has potential, I’ll give it a shot.

  18. The original V was so hilariously terrible. I can’t believe it sounds like their doing a note for note remake of it.

    Also, when Anna addresses the earthlings, I like how that one guy takes a cell phone picture. CULTURAL RELEVANCE.

  19. I liked this show but I’m commenting more so to save my soul from BNPG 11. V for Visitors, more like M for Moo, right? Ugh.

  20. I second the recapper’s comment about the unrealistically beautiful and sunny homes that were supposed to be in NYC. I don’t know why every Hollywood director thinks every damn show and movie has to take place in a fake version of New York.

  21. Laura Vandervoort, a.k.a. the V in cleaVage, has two V’s in her name. Coincidence, I think so!

    Also: I think it is amusing that there seems to be some chafing about any anti-Obama sort of tone on this show. Why is it that people are only OK with a show having a political agenda, if it’s their agenda? (side note: not a problem for me because I am a card carrying member of the apathetic party, or at least I would be if I cared enough) Maybe the writers of V just want to engage you in a little political debate. Certainly you agree that a show about super-sexy-lizard-thing aliens is the perfect forum.

  22. The similarites between this and Lost shocks me: the eye opening in the beginning, the plane crashing, cars were used, dialog. I could go on.

    But I don’t mind really. I like what I’ve seen so far.

  23. I only watched about 30 minutes before switching to watch repeats of Friends, so I guess I thought it was pretty boring? But I didn’t really not like it either, I just thought watching Chandler and Monica get married again would be a better use of my semi-attention. There really isn’t much to watch on Tuesday! Which means I’ll probably end up watching V for at least another couple weeks.

    And can I just say fucking fantastic recap?

  24. Alright, I’m going to put my nerd hat on, here. V (at least the original mini series) was written as an allegory for the rise of the Nazi party. Now, clearly there are some errors in the writers’ perspective of the Nazi’s progress in a constitutional democracy, but that was the intention. I have severe doubts that any changes have been made in order to make some sort of commentary regarding the current administration. Just take it all as Nazi stuff and it shouldn’t be so upsetting.

  25. My favorite part was the alien ninjas.

    The V’s are expert practitioners of Varate and Vu Vitsu.

  26. sorry i should have been more specific…

    i don’t see how a show like that can stay interesting for more than a season.

  27. I’m probably going to keep watching it, because i didn’t think it was horrible and i’m curious to see how it will progress but…
    It just seemed like they could’ve like had an entire season of introducing the aliens and the reactions people had to them. I just felt they blew their load way too early.

  28. I’m going to start watching this show because of this recap.
    I’m going to start having hangovers on wed. mornings because of it too.

  29. I am watching! I like the show so far — so much action, so much scary aliens! I usually don’t like remakes, but I was a fan of the first one, which is definitely dated, and this new version is not so much a remake — more like a reimagining.

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