Thank the writer gods for 'V'. In all honesty, when I heard that the tv folks were planning another hackery of a classic because they couldn't come up with compelling new ideas, I threw up a little in my mouth. But after half a season of the silent self torture that is 'Heroes' and an abysmal start to 'Legend of the Seeker,' I find my self singing the praises of 'V.'
Actually, 'Seeker' wasn't that bad until they pulled that totally in fashion trick where just about anyone can be brought back to life. I looked past it when the sexy chicks in leather did it because really, how many people are those haters of all mankind going to revive? But now ANYONE can be brought back to life. Are you kidding me? I mean really.
Even for all of that night of the living dead crap, I still give them more props than I do 'Heroes.' The writers at 'Heroes' simply have no balls. They can't kill anyone, save for speedster girl. And that's probably because I thought she was insanely cute and the writers at 'Heroes' hate me. Of course I think Charlie is cute too, but then she's hidden in limbo someplace so she might as well be dead.
Now, I say all of this even after 'V' pulled the same “you never know who's really dead” bull by bringing back to life that FBI agent's V partner. And really, he's such a well known actor I can see them doing one of those, “Oooo, alien technology is so advanced that they can even revive people that they themselves have killed.” (Hence why Ryan had to leave ashes in place of the guy that he didn't really kill).
What I was so exited about in this last episode of 'V' was hope. Not Obamanized hope that is tossed into discussions when you don't want to talk about things like Bushified terrorism. No, I'm talking about real hope. The writers set us up for the oh so common never ending setback after setback, “How miserable can we make everyone involved, including the viewer, before we spring our witty and triumphant ending?” gag that absolutely everyone does these days.
Rather than totally knocking us to our knees, the writers reveal that the double agent is not only alive, but that he knows who has seen his true face and then they kill that S.O.B. (again). But they don't just kill him, they give us hope, because now we've got a man on the inside on the mother ship. “The fifth column says hello.”
The episode was a tit for tat one where every advance that the bad guy made, the good guys made one as well. We still have the sense that our good guys are in way over their heads, but they have a chance. It's not hopeless.
I think that writers often forget that these days. 'Heroes' is a prime example of that. There are never any real moments of hope. There's episode after episode of being pulled further into the pit in hopes building up the payoff at the end. If things look dire enough, then it makes what the good guys do all that more amazing, right? But I for one think that it makes for a miserable journey along the way.
Sure, there's still room for that in writing. The trouble is, it seems like we're saturated in it right now.
Anyway, I'm just thankful that 'V' has outdone my low expectations and is saving me from from more “Silar's dead, but he's alive, but he's dead, no wait he's alive, ah you thought he was dead but he moved his 'dead' spot, no he's dead but his body is alive in one place and his consciousness in another, no wait he's vanished, no wait he's just shot David in the head and put him out of his misery.”
Don't worry, I come back to life again in the final thirty seconds of the show.
Our lesson? Keep real hope alive in your story amidst all of the pitfalls you set up for your characters.