DVD Review: V The Complete First Season

I did not grow up watching V the original mini series, but having enjoyed the 2009 ABC re-make of V so much, I was thrilled to be given the Complete First Season on DVD before Season Two premieres!

Release Date: November 2, 2010
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 520 minutes

They arriVe. Earth?s first alien encounter begins when huge motherships appear over 29 major cities. The visitors ? the Vs ? are human-like beings who know our languages and bring awesome gifts of healing and technology. People everywhere welcome them as saviors. But a fledgling resistance is on the rise, determined to reveal the shocking truth. Among the underground cadre: an FBI Counter Terrorism Agent who uncovers a terror cell no one ever expected?and finds that her teenage son is drawn to the beauty and promise of the Vs. Get in the know with the amazing first season of the series that combines sci-fi thrills with the uncertainties of the post-9/11 world. Here. Now. AdVenture begins.

Season one of V is an incredible 12 episodes of action packed sci fi drama that anyone can appreciate. It tells the story of good vs. evil mainly following one strong woman fighting for humanity and the earth against another strong woman fighting for the visitors’ take over of the earth. There are strong political and religious undertones to the show, moreso religious which make this show more thought provoking than many scripted shows on the air today. The characters are well developed and have more layers than I believe we have yet to see. Their dialogue is so smart, which sometimes is drawn out and make the complex plot lines slow moving at times. Though there’s so much going on in each episode, it’s hard not to be disappointed.

Every moment is full of suspense and the writers should be very proud that they’ve been able to achieve such a show that has its viewers anticipating every single moment. The special effects are superb, doing what the original V mini series could never have done in its time. Having seen a few episodes of the original V mini series, I am really very satisfied with how much more above and beyond this show has been able to go thanks to the re-make. This is a sensational tale with outstanding actors and spectacular special effects that enhance this story in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The original V showed the potential that this show had to be and now it finally is at that point to shine its brightest…and the cast and crew are doing a fabulous job with the material. This is great work.

Bonus Features:

The Actors Journey From Human To V (16:54 minutes) – This feature takes fans on the set of V as the actors discuss how they became attached to this project and more, starting out with their familiarity with the original V mini series. Some footage from the mini series is shown as the actors are being interviewed on various stages of the set. Next, the actors discuss what attracted them to this project and it was quite interesting to find out how Elizabeth Mitchell came into this project! Aside from Morena Baccarin’s audition story and Elizabeth’s story, viewers won’t find out the audition process for the rest of the cast members. The rest of the feature takes viewers into an analysis of the characters of V straight from the actors’ themselves. Laura Vandervoort and Morena Baccarin briefly talk about how V is doing a great justice to women and not too far after Vandervoort and Scott Wolf mention how the line of hero and villain isn’t clearly drawn. So it’s quite an interesting look at who these characters are and what their actions mean to the world. Elizabeth Mitchell talks about how fascinating the the religious context of the show is and it is refreshing to see an actor so incredibly enthusiastic about such elements of their show. Overall, this was a very well put together feature…if only it could have lasted longer.

Appearing in this Feature:
Actors, Morena Baccarin, Christopher Shyer, Laura Vandervoort, Logan Huffman, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Scott Wolf
Executive Producers, Scott Rosenbaum and Scott Peters

Commentary – The commentary is conducted by Executive Producers Steve Pearlman and Scott Rosenbaum and for the episode, “Fruition.” I was really disappointed that there was no commentary for the “Pilot”, finale, or the really significant episode, “John May” and none of the cast members participated in the commentary. This commentary was fairly dry and not entertaining while sharing interesting behind the scenes facts and what the aim is for different elements of season two. I found it interesting when it was briefly mention how they’ve shown just how controlling a parent can be through Anna…specifically speaking, when Anna was putting on her daughters shoes. For those aspiring to film their own projects in Vancouver, the guys mention how film friendly China town is. There are a few other interesting tidbits discussed including the size of the ship and a prop mistake that was quickly fixed. Overall though, this is definitely not a must watch commentary.

Breaking Story: The World of V (16:36 minutes) – This feature takes viewers inside the writers room and on set of filming! Executive Producers, Scott Rosenbaum, Steve Pearlman, Scott Peters, Writer, Greg Hurwitz, Production Designer, Stephen Geaghan, and Actors, Morris Chestnut, Logan Huffman, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf, Elizabeth Mitchell all appear in this feature as they discuss the context of which this version of V lives. What I found really interesting is something that I noticed when the Pilot originally aired but have since forgot about, is that this takes place in a post 9/11 world, so there’s a lot more angst to be had opposed to the original V. Also, really eye opening was seeing one of the executive producers say that this show has less political ambitions and more moral ambitions. I could definitely see both influences but always wondered what the main angle was, so I’m thrilled to finally know. Other topics discussed include the pace of the story, the use of visual effects, and the battle between Anna and Erica among other things. It’s a short inside look but less is more in this feature and it’s a great tool to look deeper into this world of V.

An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V (11:52 minutes) – This feature takes viewers on set of filming and in the makeup and visual effects departments and a bit of footage from the original V mini series is shown as well as Executive Producers, Scott Rosenbaum and Scott Peters, Makeup FX Supervisor, Toby Lindala, Makeup FX Technicians, Benson Musaev and Glenn Martin, and Visual FX Supervisor, Andrew Orloff discuss the partnership between the two departments to make the visuals appear as real as possible. It’s a short look into the work that this crew does and it only takes a deeper look at a few of the special effects/makeup jobs done, so hopefully we can expect a more in depth look on the makeup on the Season 2 DVD after Season 2 airs.

The Visual Effects of V (15:07 minutes) – This feature takes viewers behind the scenes of filming on stage 4, which is almost all green screen as well as ZOIC Studios where the virtual sets are created amongst other things. Images of each stage from green screen to the final composite are shown and oh my, there is so much involved in every stage! I also found the development of the blue energy to be quite interesting. This was much a more fascinating part two of the previous feature in my opinion. One and two go hand in hand but this part of the equation for some reason is far more fascinating to me. Anyway, it’s definitely worth the watch.

Appearing in this feature:
Production Designer, Stephen Geaghan
Executive Producers, Scott Rosenbaum, Scott Peters, Steve Pearlman
Visual FX Supervisor, Andrew Orloff
Actors, Scott Wolf, Laura Vandervoort, Elizabeth Mitchell
Visual Effects Producer at ZOIC Studios, Stephen Chiu
Compositing Lead at ZOIC Studios, Nate Overstrom
Lead CG Artist at ZOIC STudios, Sallyanne Massimini

Detached Memories (Approx. 16 minutes total) – Unaired scenes are available to watch for not only the “Pilot” episode, but also the episodes, “There Is No Normal Anymore,” “John May,” “We Can’t Win,” “Hearts and Minds,” and “Fruition.” There are 2 unaired scenes from the Pilot, one of which I loved in which Chad finds out that a V has been on earth for the past 6 months. There are a number of scenes from “There Is No Normal Anymore,” many of which from the rally outside the FBI building. I found all of these scenes to be interesting since I loved that set and the amount of energy coming from everyone in these scenes…so being able to see more of these scenes as a treat. There are two unaired scenes from “John May” which I can understand why they were cut and five for “We Can’t Win,” three involving Erica and two involving Valerie. I found the scenes involving Valerie to be much more intriguing and attention grabbing than the scenes with Erica, probably because viewers would have gotten to see more of what Valerie was feeling after she found out Ryan was a V. There are four scenes for the episode, “Hearts and Minds” which involve Erica and Tyler, Ryan and Valerie, and Erica at church with Father Jack. All of these scenes add to this episode, so I can only imagine these scenes were cut for time. Lastly, there are two unaired scenes from “Fruition” that do not add anything to the episode, so viewers can clearly see what time wasters they are. Overall, the majority of the unaired scenes did have something significant to add to the show, but many of the messages in those scenes were displayed elsewhere in those episodes, so there really isn’t much to miss here. Approximately four unaired scenes are shown without all of the effects added…and it’s quite interesting to see scenes at different stages before the final product. A lot of work is put into this show and it pays off tremendously in the final product.

Own V The Complete First Season on DVD today.

V Season 2 premieres January 4, 2011 at 9/8c on ABC.