Thursday, July 30, 2009
I got into my first line of Comic-Con Saturday at 7:30 a.m. for what I knew would be a very entertaining 11 a.m. "Lost" panel. When it ended at noon, I got into my second line of the day. I made it into Ballroom 20 in time to catch "The Simpsons" panel. I can sum that panel up with the words of creator, Matt Groening, “Simpsons Forever.” Twenty seasons has qualified them for the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running sitcom. But I digress. When that was over, I acquired prime seating for "V" and "Fringe," the next two panels.
The "V" panel did exactly what a first-season genre show should do at Con. They showed us the pilot episode months early. It was missing a few visual effects, the titles weren’t final and there may be a few more edits. But that makes it even better. When I saw the "Heroes" pilot at Con a few years before, there was a whole major plot line that got cut before in went to air.
The "V" pilot was great. The ensemble cast includes a number of familiar faces. Elizabeth Mitchell ("Lost") plays FBI Agent Erica Evens. She is a counterterrorism specialist who finds both an early resistance cell and what may be a V infiltration cell. Her son Tyler is instantly enamored of the visitors. Following the original series he wants to join the fancy uniformed V fan club. Joel Gretsch ("4400") plays Father Jack Landry who immediately distrusts the false miracles he sees. I know at Comic-Con I’m supposed to associate Alan Tudyk with "Firefly," but he’ll always be Steve the Pirate from "Dodgeball" to me. Morena Baccarin (also from "Firefly") plays the V High Commander, Anna. She sets the stage for the world by pressuring prime time cable journalist, Chad Decker, played by Scott Wolf ("Party of Five"), to compromise his ethics for access. There is also the head of the resistance cell and his old comrade who’s trying to start a normal life. I won’t tell you who, but some of them end up being Visitors.
It is amazing how much they pack into 45 minutes. The show really gets up and running right away. We have seen a few "reimaginings" or "reinventions" come along lately… "V" seems to be playing it pretty much as a straight updated remake so far. Fine by me. After the pilot there was time for a short, moderated panel that included a few fan questions. A number of people wanted to compare this series with "Battlestar Galactica," if they get the same ratings that’ll be similarity enough. I didn’t find the panel particularly interesting, but that’s okay. I think ABC will have great success with this relaunch.