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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Unmasked

Last night, I decided to check out the new, modern retelling of V. As apprehensive as I am about the idea of remakes in general, I make special exceptions from time to time. Like Battlestar Galactica, I had no longstanding love for the original series, so I came to V like a cold fish.

Almost.

I've told this story before, but I don't think I've told the nuts and bolts of the whole story. So here's the context.

Though I spent a lot of time playing by myself in our house when my family lived in New Orleans, there were a few times I went over to friends' houses and played. One friend was named Janelle, and I seem to recall going over to play a handful of times. This was the early 1980s, and I can't remember my exact age, but I was maybe five or six years old.

A lot of neighborhood kids would come over to Janelle's house, and one day, a boy a few years older than me wanted to watch a show called V. I had never heard of the show at the time, but I still vividly remember watching a scene where a V peeled the skin off of his head to reveal that he was an alien. Being that young at the time, I had never known of make-up and prosthetics, so this looked very real to me, and I was grossed out and freaked out.

I didn't run home crying to my parents or have nightmares, but that experience has stayed with me ever since. Now as somebody who understands what make-up, CGI, and prosthetics are in the world of TV and movies, seeing that kind of stuff doesn't scare me. But I won't lie: I've never had a desire to watch the original V.

Looking back, I know there are far, far worse things to scare a child and scar him or her for life. Spousal or child abuse can do more damage than getting scared by flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz or the man in the big white suit in E.T. But it seems like a lot of people have some sort of story about seeing something when they were way too young to comprehend it. Be it seeing Halloween on USA late one night or getting the sex talk from a doctor in fifth grade and being totally in the dark about the concept and why women make weird sounds, we have some sort of experience to share.

So I had no qualms or fears about watching a modern day retelling of V. Overall, I enjoyed what I saw, especially Elizabeth Mitchell's overall performance and the pacing and tension of the second half of the episode. And no Vs pulled an entire piece of skin off. But if they ever do, I won't be scarred for life.

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