TV review: V

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

With "Lost" over, ABC is counting on "V" to be a ratings juggernaut during its midseason run. In fact, the network tried very hard to draw "Lost" fans to "V" last spring with endless promos - remember the countdown clock, Losties?

I doubt many "Lost" fans are watching "V," even though the alien-invasion drama certainly has an avid fan base.

The trouble is, there are only so many ways to stretch out a short-term premise that was originally a '80s miniseries.

The premise: Reptile-looking aliens come to earth disguised as humans and promise to cure humanity's ills. They actually are plotting to wipe out the human race, and our heroes - FBI Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and alien defector Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) - join a resistance group called The Fifth Column in an attempt to stop them.

Season 1 culminated in a secret operation destroying alien leader Anna's (Morena Baccarin) crop of super-soldiers, who were designed to annihilate the resistance. Anna responded by turning the sky red.

In the Season 2 premiere, the world is panic-stricken over the red sky and is looking for either answers or war, while Agent Evans and her cohorts work both human and alien allegiances to figure out what's up with the sky.

It's a plot that should draw in sci-fi or alien geeks by replicating some of the mythology from "The X Files," but it's ultimately just a trite good vs. evil story.

I'd be willing to forgive the simplicity if the characters were better developed and acted. Mitchell is turning in a performance well below the quality of her work on "Lost," and only Baccarin excels - as a slithery, cool evildoer who's slowly losing her grip.

Then there's Chestnut's glaringly bad Ryan. It'd be interesting to explore the internal struggle between his alien core and increasingly human nature. Instead, the writers stick him with a ridiculous plot about a kidnapped human-alien hybrid baby.

"V" may satisfy a craving for alien tropes, but if you want a strong character-based sci-fi replacement for "Lost," you're better off watching "Fringe."


9 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC

2 stars out of 4