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There's a lot to like about V, an exceptionally well-made series combining science fiction, action-adventure, and personal drama (and debuting here on DVD with all 12 first-season episodes on three discs). From the moment 29 enormous spaceships appear over an equal number of major cities (the principal action takes place in New York and aboard the mother ship that hovers over it), nothing will ever be the same. But the Visitors, commonly known as Vs, "are of peace"--or so says Anna (Morena Baccarin), their young, beautiful, preternaturally serene leader (the Vs look human, but as we soon discover, their appearance is only one part of them that isn't what it seems). Folks around the globe are smitten as the Vs perform Christ-like medical miracles and use their awesome technology and messianic powers of persuasion to wow the Earthlings--especially a smarmy, headline-hugging TV "journalist" (Scott Wolf) who becomes their willing mouthpiece, helping the Vs seduce the entire global populationů almost. Of course, there are some who know better, specifically the "Fifth Column," a resistance group comprised of humans (with Elizabeth Mitchell as an FBI agent whose son is in thrall to the aliens) and a few "traitor" Vs who've lived on Earth for years (including Morris Chestnut as a V whose human girlfriend is pregnant). They know what the Visitors' real agenda is--and that dirty deeds like establishing terror cells and surreptitiously injecting drugs into humans are only the beginning. All of this is offered in a very slick, entertaining package; the plotting is clever and just unpredictable enough, the effects work is outstanding (especially good is a technique whereby Vs on their mother ship are rendered like video game characters), and while V is hardly what you'd call profound, it does touch on some interesting ideas (such as the role of emotions, of which the Vs have none, or the danger of putting one's faith in false gods). That will help viewers overlook some of the show's more dubious elements. For instance, the utter gullibility of the vast majority of humans in the face of the aliens' transparent duplicity is preposterous, even by sci-fi standards; by the same token, it's hard to swallow that the Fifth Column, which seems to consist of about four people, could possibly pose a threat to the omnipotent Visitors. Still, by the time it reaches its season-ending cliffhanger, V has given us more than enough reasons to tune in again next year.

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Special Features The Actor's Journey from Human to V featurette: Featuring the principal cast of V discussing the techniques, challenges and rewards they faced in terms of bringing V alive for a new generation An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V featurette: Contemporary techniques of special effects makeup application and execution are revealed Breaking Story: The World of V featurette: An in-depth look into how the producers were able to create a fresh perspective on the V mythology The Visual FX of V featurette: A primer on the visual effects used to help enhance V, featuring a guided tour through ZOIC studios, the visual FX powerhouse responsible for the amazing CGI Commentary on episode 11 by executive producers Scott Rosenbaum and Steve Pearlman Unaired scenes

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WA116768 V: 1st Season DVD (2009/Elizabeth Mitchell) $39.98 $35.99