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 (http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/11/06/is-abcs-v-anti-obama-let-the-debate-begin/). 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.