Visiting the misty Vancouver set of ABC’s upcoming big-budget remake of V can’t be all that different from finding oneself sucked aboard a massive Mothership. The gadgets are wicked cool, for starters, and the people are supernaturally attractive. (Seriously, if aliens wanted to stun us into submission, why wouldn’t they trot out people who look like Morena Baccarin? She can’t possibly hearken from this planet, which lacks the sort of advanced alien biotechnology that can render cellulite, bad hair days and spotty complexions obsolete.) Fancast recently had an opportunity to probe behind the scenes of this highly anticipated alien adventure – where, no………..craft services didn’t serve up guinea pig pâté. This is a big budget remake, after all, and the garlic prawns were one of many welcome upgrades
As is, the FX technology, which has advanced light years since the original sci fi miniseries from the 80s first infiltrated our living rooms. One of the most stunning things to be seen on this jaunt was the biggest dedicated green screen in Vancouver (and quite possibly Canada), which will make the Mothership look like the real deal. For practical reasons, recreating a miles-wide extraterrestrial vessel just wasn’t gonna happen. (There’s “big budget,” and then there’s “Are there enough zeros on the planet to calculate what that would cost?”) Also, shots from different angles can simply be queued up on command now – sparing the trouble (and time) of re-positioning all the lights and equipment.
While touring the production design department, as headed up by the immensely talented Steve Geaghan, we saw the renderings of an alien gadget called a Seeker – which looks a bit like a high tech airborne porcupine. However, this sucker can wreak a LOT more havoc than a two foot long, quilled rodent. (Some mention was made of explosions and impressive killing capability.) The fight scene at the end of the original pilot has since been re-worked to include this prickly stealth weapon. Not that the pilot’s original, old-school “BAM! BIFF! ZAP!” fist fight wasn’t riveting, but this certainly raises the stakes….or spikes.
Also glimpsed was a sketch of a room on the Mothership called a “bliss chamber.” Misnomer, much? Unless you like your spa-like setting to include steel talons, you might want to skip that room while touring the Mothership. We’re told bad things happen in there.
And for those who can think back to the original, you may recall that those resourceful Visitors from the 80s brought their own alphabet and everything! (Check out the original here – and the code to crack it – as provided by www.thevisitors.info). The new Visitors will be utilizing the same alphabet, in a nod to the original miniseries.
Of course we’ll get to behold all the amazing bounty on Tuesday, November 3, when the pilot finally airs. The first four episodes will deal with the Visitors first three weeks on earth. The pilot will focus on the arrival, and the subsequent three eps will focus on each week thereafter. Incidentally, by episode three, the Visitors learn that diplomatic immunity has its privileges. They are fast-tracked with passports, and they don’t have to wait that lousy 6-8 weeks to get ‘em, either, because bureaucracy is for human schmucks. Then they get to walk among us! But it’s OK – they come in peace. Always. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.
Episode four is set to end with a nice onslaught of multiple cliffhangers. (Wait…they said they come in peace….since when did peace and multiple cliffhangers manage to peacefully co-exist?)
Much fuss has been made over the fact that after the first four episodes air, an already long hiatus (which was originally scheduled to end in January) was extended further. Many interpreted this to mean that ABC had already lost faith in the not-yet-hatched series.
On set, V executive producer Steve Pearlman explains the rationale behind the long pause. After realizing that the January return would pit the fledging franchise against American Idol and the Olympics, “the better roll-out for the show – as long as there was going to be a break anyway” would involve a plan to “keep it out of the way of those two juggernauts, put us in the air in November, as was planned, but then again in March, and then hopefully in May also.”
We hope so too, because this remake is looking like the one to watch.
It’s countdown to the Mothership touchdown on November 3rd. Watch this space for even bigger and better scoop from the V cast.