Feeling alienated from your favourite TV aliens? V returns tonight, one of several shows back for a “spring premiere.” Fringe, FlashForward (both Thursday) and Glee (April 13) are also back this month after, in some cases, a four month hiatus.
The shot-in-Vancouver V opened big in Canada last November, launching to just under 2 million viewers nation-wide on CTV. (It switches to A in Canada for the Spring run.) Four episodes aired and fans have had to wait until now to see what those rat-gobbling alien visitors are up to.
The stars and producers met with international press in Beverly Hills earlier this month. I sat with scribes from Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Norway, Mexico and Singapore. Sci-fi shows like V are often bigger hits overseas than they are in America so there was plenty of interest in the room for this series.
The stars were all relaxed and friendly during the sessions, shaking hands and answering every question. V shoots in Vancouver, as does several other Warner Bros. series (including Fringe, Human Target and Supernatural) and the casts and producers from all these shows had stories about having to shoot around the recent Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
There was a lot of attention paid beautiful Morena Baccarin (above with Scott Wolf, photos courtesy Warner Bros. International), who plays V’s resident alien spokesperson and High Commander, Anna. Baccarin is actually from Brazil, not Mars. I asked her if people are staring even more at her these days trying to spot the snake eyes and scaly skin underneath her perfect features. “When people look at me weird I just smile at them,” says Baccarin. “They’re like, ‘Okay, you’re normal.’ I think they’re expecting me to be cold and severe.” She says she now gets asked for her autograph when flying on an airplane—by the pilot. Baccarin had a taste of sci-fi fan scrutiny before when she was cast in Firefly. Executive producer Steve Pearlman says they looked at 100 women before casting her for this series. There was some debate about her hair—should it be long or short? The network wanted a wig. “We fought to keep her hair short, and I think it was the right decision,” says Pearlman. That would be yes.
I asked if there was a chance we might see some of the actors from the original mid’80s version of V in cameos on this series. “It’s possible,” says executive producer Scott Rosenbaum. “Jane Badler (who played a sexy alien in the original) and I sat down and had a conversation and I have an idea to possibly bring her back.” Rosenbaum didn’t know if it would be this season or next. As Anna’s alien mommy? “Possibly,” said Rosenbaum.
The producers hinted at a few other upcoming developments. There may be an alien/human hook up in the near future, with Tyler (Logan Huffman) hoping to beam aboard one of the giant alien spaceships for a snog with Lisa (Toronto-born Laura Vandervoort, above with Huffman).
Here’s how to tell these kids have the hots for each other. Look for “a little tongue thing” when ever Lisa is checking out Tyler, Laura advised. “She’s just smelling him, but I don’t think anyone’s noticed, which is actually what I prefer.” Vandervoort says she actually did a little research into lizards and that’s what they do, smell with their tongue. So that’s why you’ll see “a little bit of a tongue flicker, licking the lips very subtle, just to show that she is taking him in.”
The things you learn on international press junkets.
Vandervoort has been the object of fascination with sci-fi fans before thanks to her recent stint on Smallville as Supergirl. Yes, she has an action figure of herself from that show. Yes, she’s heard from a few creepy fans. “There’s one guy on-line that likes to take my photographs with other people and paste his head on their face so it looks like we’re in the photos together.” Does this creep her out? Naw. “There’s never been like letters in blood or anything like that.”
Vandervoort, who also appeared on Instant Star, is one of several young Canucks who got her start on the old YTV series Are You Afraid of the Dark? Elisha Cuthbert and Jay Barushel also got their starts on that series.
V returns tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC and A channel.