Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Scott Rosenbaum: On V

"When I came onto the show the difficulty was that no one even really knew why the Visitors were here."
-Scott Rosenbaum, third show runner on V, SciFiNow #45, p.35-

Why wouldn't one find this statement so troubling? Executive producer Scott Rosenbaum truly sheds light on many of the problems that plagued V (2009-2011), intentional or not.

Where was the plan heading into this thing called V? There was none. This is how it sounds and that's no way to enter a series.

Rosenbaum continued, "There was very little mythology or backstory that had been planned out." REALLY!?

Rosenbaum noted the creators really had to come to grips with "all of the questions that you need to know to craft rich stories." Yes, good idea, but this was coming into the second season. In effect, this was being discussed on the fly.

Upon his arrival, "I figured out the timeline, the mythology and exactly what they look like." It is hard to believe this alien reboot of V didn't actually have a plan for the lizards conceived. "We built a creature---when I came in, no one even knew what they looked like, but we do now." Oh good.

Was Rosenbaum intentionally making the plan for Season One look as inept as it was in his comments?

"We know how they function, their defense mechanisms and anatomically understand what they are. All of those things you want to have as your frame to your house, which is now in place... It's hard to build a puzzle when you don't know what the picture is supposed to look like. Now we do." All of this comes after an entire season entering Season Two. This is not the kind of plan that instills confidence in an audience, or cast, to be sure.

I certain don't mean to perseverate on V. In no way do I mean to beat up on the series, and at least it's gone now so it's after the fact. But I've been reading a number of my science fiction magazines and V was indeed the fortunate recipient of generous coverage, even support, by SciFiNow for both its insipid seasons and seemingly all for naught. SciFiNow was genuinely far too kind to it, but mostly allowed the creators to state their case and make a case in favor of V. And even that seemed muddled. It's interesting to read just how much all of these players on the series wanted it to do well, but no matter how much they willed it, V was generally a bad, underdeveloped idea from the start without the kind of series bible it required. Rosenbaum's comments are truly telling as V entered its second season. It really was a lost opportunity and by no means the equivalent of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica of which it was so often compared by its creators. Making that connection hardly qualified it to be on the same playing field. Moore genuinely had a sound game plan and really thought it through, with a series guide, even if things weren't quite as compelling to the very end. Still, structurally it was much sounder than this V.

If you think I've been too harsh, writer Dan Howdle had some additional thoughts supporting all of the troubles many of us had with V in SciFiNow #52 (p.51). He noted, as I did here, that many of the principals were lifted from relatively great series (Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly), but were dropped into a poor series of which they were either miscast for or unable to save proving those skill sets were not enough to deliver on the series.

Howdle noted the show seemed to attempt "cliff-hanger"-like moments "before each and every commercial break." He commented that the series failed to "deliver on narrative promise." This constant generated an effect that was "tiring."

Still not convinced, hammering home problems with casting experienced by this writer, Howdle added there was a "ropy dramatic structure hampered by some equally ropey performances." It seemed previous "genre experience" was the only qualifier for landing a job on the series, but character placement resulted in slot of which they were not "particularly well-suited," even naming the casting personnel. Clearly the poor scripting had a major hand in that failure. And with that V ended, a series that lasted longer than some more worthy series. And with this post so endeth this writer's final volley at V. I promise.

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