Critics warm to V pilot, mostly

Reaction is mixed, but generally positive with hopes for the future.

v_baccarin_652_article_story_mainThe pilot episode of V, the remake of the Eighties cult favourite, aired on ABC last night, and the critical response in the science fiction and mainstream press has been more or less positive towards the show, with a few notable exceptions.

Writing for TV Squad, Jason Hughes said: “Everything I loved about V back then is here, and there’s so much more to get excited about. I always thought V should be an ongoing series, and even though we eventually got one, I think this time they’ve finally got it right.”

Even more positive about the pilot was Airlock Alpha‘s Michael Hinman, who said that although he thought that the idea of V returning might be “too good to be true”, his reaction was that the pilot is “great, and there’s nothing to have me doubting the rest of the season might be even better.”

Charlie Jane Anders from io9, despite listing the production problems of the show and its consistency in image presented due to negative press coverage, said that the pilot was “truly impressive” and that she “went into the pilot expecting, at best, pleasant mediocrity or a watered-down tribute to the geek TV of our childhoods. And instead, I was surprised by what a cracking great piece of television it is.”

USA Today‘s Robert Bianco praised the strength of the pilot episode but warned against assuming that the show will maintain this level of consistency throughout and compared it to the original series, saying: “V opens incredibly well. But so did the original miniseries, only to peter out as an open-ended show. Embrace the show, but keep your eyes open.”

There is, however, a definite sense of hesitation in some areas to brand the show as outwardly successful. Reporting for HitFix, Daniel Fienberg praised the pilot as being “the best pilot of any new network drama this fall,” but raised serious and prolonged concerns about the show’s pacing and its ability to sustain itself over the course of a full season.

Likewise, Mark Perigard of the Boston Herald said: “Tonight’s pilot is a good effort, but even the original had difficulty sustaining its momentum (the 1984 spinoff series was a disaster). Reports of backstage clashes over the remake’s direction as well as ABC’s decision to give it a four-episode run before benching it for the Winter Olympics suggests V has a struggle more urgent than the battle for supremacy on Earth.”

On the other side of the coin, it’s fair to say that Mike Hale of The New York Times disliked the pilot and doesn’t hold much regard for the chances of the series as a whole. He called the writing “slapdash and formulaic” at this stage, and criticised the show’s pacing. Overall, he said : “The producers of V don’t have a whole lot of time to make their execution match their premise: in an odd programming decision, ABC is showing only four episodes before the series goes on hiatus until the spring or later. If things don’t improve, it could be much later.”

SciFiNow’s US colleagues are currently penning their first impressions of the series pilot, and it will be online over the next few days. In the meantime, did you watch the show? What did you think, and do you agree with any of the above critics? Sound off in our comment threads below.