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Re-imagining Kenneth Johnson’s classic eighties miniseries for the new millennia, the 2009 television series V focuses on an extraterrestrial invasion of planet Earth. Where Johnson’s V presented an allegory of the rise of nazism, this modern re-imagining played more to the paranoia of a post 9/11 world. With its twisty-turny plot machinations in a terrorism weary world, V was off to an interesting start during its twelve episode first season. Although, the way the network scheduled the episodes probably prevented the series from building a large enough fan base to carry it into second season, which unfortunately, began mid-season. Entering a delayed season two with a diminished fan base, V failed to build any momentum in the ratings and was canceled by the network after its ten episode, second season run ended.

Like the original V miniseries, the 2009 television series began with the arrival of twenty-nine gigantic alien spaceships that are strategically placed over the world’s major cities. When they emerge, the occupants of alien spaceships appear human and seem completely benevolent. Known as The Visitors, the newly arrived aliens are lead by Anna (Morena Baccarin), whose beauty and charisma is quite disarming. While Anna repeatedly declares her people’s peaceful intentions … something about The Visitors is decidedly amiss. One of the first to figure out that The Visitors have been less than truthful is FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), who uncovers evidence 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 sleeper 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 two cast of V also includes Christopher Shyer, Mark Hildreth, Charles Mesure, Roark Critchlow, Scott Hylands, David Richmond-Peck and Oded Fehr. Look for original miniseries alumni Jane Badler and Marc Singer portraying new characters in the re-imagined V.

V: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($50) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a two-disc set that features the following ten episodes that were aired during the show’s second and final year: Red Rain, Serpent's Tooth, Laid Bare, Unholy Alliance, Concordia, Siege, Birth Pangs, Uneasy Lies The Head, Devil In A Blue Dress and Mother's Day. Season two reveals more of the alien’s plot and their ultimate intent for humanity, while following the twisty-turny course begun in season one.

Warner Home Video has made all ten episodes from V: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentations offer a similar appearance to those contained in the season one collection. For the most part, the episodes look pretty darn good, especially where the principal photography and close-ups are concerned. Across the episodes, the image appears crisp, well defined and displays very good dimensionality. However, the image becomes inconsistent where the digital effects work is concerned, which appear less seamlessly integrated than they do in theatrical features. Colors offer good saturation, especially where primary hues are concerned, while flesh tones come across in an attractive fashion. Blacks are deep, while the whites are crisp and stable. Contrast and shadow detail are just fine. There are no notable defects in the source materials. Grain/video noise is apparent from time to time.

All the episodes that comprise V: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. The lossless soundtracks are a noticeable improvement over the lossy tracks offered in the season one collection. As expected, the sound designs make some accommodations to the broadcast realm, but come across as more engaging than a lot of other television series. Also, the science fiction and action elements lend more opportunities for directional effects in the forward and rear soundstages, which the sound mixers take pretty good advantage. Theatrical quality… no, but the sound designs are a step up in terms of television level sound. As expected, talky passages are more subdued, but hold up well. Thanks to the lossless encodes, fidelity is kicked up more than a few notches over season one and comes across in a more robust fashion. The bottom end has some punch, sound effects are convincing and the music sounds fuller. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and generally 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. Featurettes and other programs include the following: A Visual Masterpiece For The Small Screen (twenty one minutes) and The Arc Of Story: Mining The Human Emotion (twenty five minutes). Deleted Scenes and a Blooper Reel close out the extras.

As a re-imagining of Kenneth Johnson’s classic miniseries, V had potential that it was never able to fully realize. The Blu-ray presentations of the episodes are pretty solid, and are only limited by series own production techniques. Fans will want to pick up V: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON on Blu-ray to complete their collections.


V: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 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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