They're here! 'V' premieres on ABC
If I were ABC, I would be very worried that other networks would be plotting to steal my development executives away. I know we have had our issues with the network in the past (see the cancellation of "Eli Stone," "Samantha Who?," and "Life on Mars") but you have to admit they've been on a creative roll this season.
Three funny comedies ("Modern Family," "The Middle," and "Cougar Town"), one extremely compelling drama ("FlashForward") and now "V," which premieres next Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Morena Baccarin stars as Anna, the leader of the aliens, known as the Vistors in this remake of the 1983 miniseries. (By the way, I never saw the original. The show was definitely on Mr. and Mrs. Amatangelo's "not for children" list.) It's the perfect part for Baccarin, who most of us know for playing Inara on "Firefly" and "Serenity." She's simultaneously ethereal and sinister. With her pixy face, benevolent smile and cropped haircut, it's easy to understand why humans are so ready to accept that Anna and her people have come to earth with noble, good intentions.
Of course, if that were true, the show would be over in five minutes (hooray, we're all happy. Aliens are awesome. The end!) Enter Elizabeth Mitchell as FBI Counter Terorist Agent Erica Evans, who isn't exactly ready to start drinking the Kool-Aid. As anyone who watches "Lost" knows, Mitchell is able to express so much without any words. You'll immediately root for her as a mom trying to protect her teenage son and a FBI agent trying to protect her country. And while I believe I'm predisposed to like Scott Wolf in anything he's in, playing an ambitious news anchor is a great role for someone with his innate charm and (still) boyish good looks. Morris Chestnut is equally equally as a man about to propose to his girlfriend before the Vistors arrive.
Without being preachy, the series is able to make the show both current and relevant. There's an undercurrent of compelling social commentary that adds an extra layer to the viewing. So all the right ingredients are here to make a good show but that wouldn't mean anything if the plot wasn't captivating. And it is and there are too many good surprises in Tuesday's pilot for me to even hint at them here. All I can tell you is to watch and we shall talk more after you've seen the show. Four out of five stars.
Let's talk about two of the major events coming to a TV set near you in the next couple of weeks:
Heather Locklear returns to "Melrose Place" on November 17: I keep trying to tell myself that the original "Melrose" was not a good show before Amanda hit the scene and that she could have the same magical effect on this new version. And I do think Heather Locklear is that good, but the current "Melrose Place" seems to be in some sort of free fall creatively. I've said from the beginning that it was a huge mistake to have killed of Sydney in the pilot. After Amanda, she's the absolute best character the original series had. Think of how much fun the show would be now if she were still alive and not seen only through hazy flashbacks. And the show has really not done a good job of re-introducing other former characters. I didn't even understand the point of the Jo story line. It was such a waste. And when did Jane become evil? The fact that the show is getting rid of Auggie, one of the more interesting characters doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Do you think Heather can save the show? Talk about it below.
Dr. Ray Langston visits all three "CSI" shows beginning November 9: As much as I like Laurence Fishburne, his Ray Langston still hasn't caught on and giving him a week of serious over-exposure isn't going to make my TV remote grow fonder. There's something about his character that has never quite seemed at home on "CSI." I think originally that was part of his character arc - it made sense that Ray wouldn't immediately feel comfortable in a totally new work setting. But now I think his awkwardness is holding the show back. Do you agree? Will you watch Dr. Langston on thee "CSI" shows? Talk about it below.
Where Have I Seen Them Before?
Charles Malik Whitfield was the husband of the woman who had been raped on "Private Practice." He was James on "The Guardian." Tracie Thoms as his wife. She's Kat on "Cold Case." Lucy Kate Hale was the teen mom who had run away from home. She was Rose last season on "Privileged" (sniff), Becca on the remake of "Bionic Woman" and was just in the Lifetime movie "Sorority Wars." Kristin Bauer was her mother. Bauer is Pam on "True Blood."
Erinn Hayes was the burn victim who died on "Grey's Anatomy." She was Melanie last season on "Worst Week" and Alison on "The Winner." And we recently saw her on "HawthoRNe" as the woman whose mother had a stroke and she accidentally left her baby in her car. Bill Fagerbakke was the firefighter who was worried about the boy he had tried to save. He was Dauber on "Coach."
Carl, Kim and Jen recognized Barbara Alyn Woods as the mother who accused Gabby of being a bad mother on "Desperate Housewives." She's Deb Scott on "One Tree Hill." Jen also caught Aisha Hinds as the maid who didn't approve of Bree's affair. She was on "HawthoRNe" this season as Isabel, the homeless woman who had a baby. She was also Miss Jeanette on "True Blood."
Mary Page Keller was Annabelle, Roger's ex-girlfriend on "Mad Men." She was Will's mom last season on "Privileged" and the patient Andrea Hall on "Nip/Tuck." For some reason I always remember her as Zoe's mom on "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane"
Candace was excited to see Michael O'Neill, who played Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield on "The West Wing," as CIA Director Keller on "FlashForward."
Vincent Ventresca was the wealthy man obsessed with Sierra on "Dollhouse." I'll always remember him as the title character in the "The Invisible Man." He was also Jimmy on "Complete Savages."
Quotes of the Week
"How long do I have to work here before they insert a bug up my ass. You guys are all so cranky." Avery to Cristina on "Grey's Anatomy."
"We've got a gypsy and a hobo. And who are you supposed to be?" Carlton to Don on "Mad Men."
"You know, Bobby, killing you is officially on my bucket list." Dean, who's trapped in an 80 year old man's body, to Bobby on "Supernatural." Thanks to Sandy for the quote.
"I care about old people. I watch 'Desperate Housewives.'" Rebecca to Casey on "Greek."
"We're doing a Haunted House this Halloween which is actually kind of spooky because as legend has it on this very site there used to be a productive paper company." Jim on "The Office."
"Our experiment killed 20 million people Simon. What more is there to say?" Lloyd to Simon on "FlashForward."
"But please, don't pretend to feel sorry for me Marc. I know exactly what you did. And you know we both deserve this job, but I got it, so deal with it, and act your age...your new age." Betty to Marc, who just had a birthday. Thanks to Abby for the quote.
Exchanges of the Week
"What exactly are you supposed to be?" Alexis to her dad when he dress up like Captain Mal from "Firefly" on "Castle."
"Space cowboy." Castle's response.
"OK, (a) there are no cows in space; (b) didn't you wear that, like, five years ago?" Alexis
"So, don't you think you should move on?" Thanks to Jeff, Joshua, Henry and Mark who were the first to submit what may turn out to be the most popular exchange of the year.
"You're her." Lloyd to Olivia on "FlashForward."
"Not yet." Marc's response.
"Step on the wrong shoes and you get an involuntary reassignment to Fairbanks" A man trying to convince Don to come work for him on "Numb3rs."
"Fairbanks, never been there." Don's response and a nice inside joke shout out to "Northern Exposure" fans. Thanks to Gerald and Kevin for the exchange.
That's all for today. I'm back on Monday to talk about "The Vampire Diaries," "How I Met Your Mother," "The Mentalist," "FlashForward" and more. Have a question, seen a familiar face, want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for discussion? Write me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org follow me on Twitter. Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween. Talk to you on Monday.
Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal