Monday, November 9, 2009

V, or: The Resurrection of Reagan

In 1984, a miniseries known as V premiered on NBC. It followed the arrival of aliens, known as Visitors, to our planet who at first seemed very peaceful, but in reality were out to destroy all human life (just as any alien race worth its salt would). It was very successful, and spawned a short-lived prime time series. V is now back, this time with better special effects but the same basic premise: the Visitors extend a peaceful outreach to us, promising to "save" mankind, but of course want to kill us all. The Vs, as they're known, appear human on the outside, but peel away their skin and the reptilian skin of their true selves is revealed. V is actually a surprisingly good show. The cast features a host of sci-fi vets (Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell, aka Juliet; Firefly's Morena Baccarin and Alan Tudyk, aka Inara and Wash, respectively), and is well-paced and intriguing. But its hard to miss the conservative politics that form the show's main theme: things are not always what they seem. The pilot of the show included several not-so-subtle (and in one case explicit) references to the Obama administration. The leader of the Visitors, Anne, is charismatic, likable, and portrayed as a messianic figure promising hope and change. She communicates openly through news interviews and videos, informing the people of Earth what her intentions are and what plans she wants to initiate. She is a celebrity around the world, and people everywhere become devoted to the Vs, placing complete trust in them. She wants to share V technology and medicine with the human race; in fact, as Scott Wolf's Chad Decker, who is a reporter for a Fox News type program (thud), she intends to offer us "universal health care" (bigger thud). And when we find out that the V's are sinister, it becomes imperative for the human race to stand up to these no-good socialist Democrats and bring conservatism back to the heart of American politics. Ok, so maybe that last part is my (liberally biased) opinion. But the metaphor is hard to ignore. And I'm not the only one who's noticed ( It seems when ABC dusted of the V franchise, they left all the hallmarks in place, including the Reagan "moral majority" politics. And its possible that V could be the first conservative-skewed prime time drama to appear in a long time, making it truly unique considering how liberal Hollywood tends to be. Despite the conservatism, its good to see that V at least has a clear theme. To me, great sci-fi always offers some sort of commentary about the current state of humanity, and even if V becomes endorsed by the likes of Bill O'Reilly, it will still have that quality to it. And there's my dilemma with V: I want to like it because of its quality, but I want to dislike it because of its politics. But at least it has something to say.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hosts Galore, Michael Jackson, and Animation

What an exciting last few weeks for the Oscars (note: with the awards season coming up soon, expect most of my posts to be about the plethora of awards: Oscars especially, but also Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Independent Spirits, Grammys, etc.)! However I feel like the roller coaster may just be starting. Hold on tight. - The choice of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, in my opinion, is fantastic. Both have proven to have very dry wits (always a plus), and both can skew younger, despite their age, which is what the producers and ABC wanted. There is some talk about it being an unofficial advertisement and Oscar campaign for It's Complicated, but that's nothing to worry about: like Nancy Meyers' other films, I doubt it will gather any nominations.
- There's talk about This Is It, otherwise known as The Michael Jackson Movie, being a Best Picture contender. That's not going to happen, though. There's a lot of Jacko sentiment going around the entertainment industry, but that won't change the fact that no documentary has ever been nominated in that category, especially not a concert film.

- Ricky Gervais is hosting the Golden Globes! Its the first host that the ceremony has had in 15 years, and since the Globes are famous for their free-flowing booze, this could get fun....
- Animation's officially going to have 5 nominees at this year. This is big, considering that in the category's short 8 year history that's only happened once. The Academy's rule is that if 15 or fewer films are submitted, then the category will have 3 nominees, but if 16 or more are submitted than it will have 5 nominees, and thanks to Spain's El Lince Perdido, there are 16 official submissions this year. Competition-wise, this only means that 4 films instead of 2 will lose to Up, but it gives more films a chance to be recognized. My personal dream shortlist: Up, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ponyo, Princess and the Frog.