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2009’s V is a reasonably effective re-imagining of Kenneth Johnson’s classic miniseries, which cloaked the rise of fascism/nazism in a science fiction premise of an extraterrestrial invasion. Like the original V miniseries, this modern update begins with the arrival of gigantic alien spaceships that appear over 29 major cities around the world. Known as The Visitors, the newly arrived aliens appear human and seem completely benevolent. Their beautiful and charismatic leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) repeatedly declares their peaceful intentions, but to many in this paranoid post 9/11 world… something about The Visitors seems amiss. FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) has her own suspicions and eventually discovers that the aliens have already been on Earth for decades, with their advanced sleeper agents having already infiltrated human governments, businesses, and religious institutions around the world.

With their agents in many key positions, The Visitors are poised to begin a systematic takeover of the planet. Through her investigations, Erica also discovers the true nature of the aliens… beneath a human façade, The Visitors turn out to be a reptilian species with cloned human flesh over their scales. As The Visitors already occupy so many highly placed government positions it is impossible to know exactly who to trust, thus leaving Erica to join a burgeoning underground resistance movement that seems to know the truth about The Visitors and the impending takeover.

V also features Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, a Visitor sleeper agent, turned Fifth Columnist, working with the resistance. Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, a Catholic priest whose suspicions about The Visitors lead him to the resistance. Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Erica's teenage son who doesn’t know the truth about The Visitors becomes enamored with the aliens. Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, the daughter of the Visitor High Commander, Anna, who takes a particular interest in Tyler. Scott Wolf as Chad Decker, an ambitious news anchor, who is willing to forego his journalist ethics for exclusive access to Anna. The season one cast of V also includes Christopher Shyer, Lourdes Benedicto, Mark Hildreth, Charles Mesure, Roark Critchlow, Scott Hylands, David Richmond-Peck, Lexa Doig, Rekha Sharma and Alan Tudyk.

V: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($50) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following twelve episodes that were aired during the show’s freshman year: Pilot, There Is No Normal Anymore, A Bright New Day, It's Only The Beginning, Welcome To The War, Pound Of Flesh, John May, We Can't Win, Heretic's Fork, Hearts And Minds, Fruition and Red Sky.

Warner Home Video has made all twelve episodes from V: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentations are generally pleasing. There are inconsistencies to the image, which are mostly related to the digital effects work, with said digital effects appearing somewhat less seamless as they do in theatrical features. Aside from the effects shots, the episodes appear crisp, well defined and display very good dimensionality. Sure, some softness creeps into the image, but usually is brief. Color reproduction is usually at a natural level of saturation. Blacks are accurate, and the whites are crisp. There are no notable defects in the source materials. Grain/video noise is apparent from time to time, but it never gets to the point where it becomes bothersome.

All of the episodes that constitute V: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. All I can say is lossless soundtracks definitely would have been preferable. The lossy episodic television sound is workmanlike and reasonably effective. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant, while the rear channels do provide some active effects, as well as the usual complement of ambient sounds and musical fill. Channel separations are generally well handled during action sequences. Music and sound effects get by reasonably well, but isn’t it time that Warner adopted lossless sound for their television releases? Still, the bottom end of the track has some heft, which helps things along. Dialogue is crisp, clean and always easy to understand. French and Spanish 2.0 tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary on the episode Fruition. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Actor's Journey From Human To V (seventeen minutes), Breaking Story: The World Of V (seventeen minutes), An Alien In Human Skin: The Makeup FX Of V (twelve minutes), The Visual Effects Of V (sixteen minutes). Some Deleted Scenes close out the extras.

As I stated above, 2009’s V is a reasonably effective re-imagining of Kenneth Johnson’s classic miniseries. Personally, I like the show and hope becomes more effective in its second season. The Blu-ray presentations of the episodes are pleasing, but the visuals have issues related to the episodes’ budgets and production values. Also, lossless sound with mixes geared towards future Blu-ray releases would be nice. If you are a fan of V, the Blu-ray release is a whole lot better than broadcast.


V: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright İ 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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