I've been watching V: The Series, more out of nostalgic fondness for the original than any hope the remake would be worth a damn (and I prefer a long-haired Morena Baccarin anyway). Despite solid efforts by Elizabeth Mitchell (Agent Evans) and Alan Tudyk (whose recent string of bad-guy roles threatens to tarnish my fond memories of Steve the Pirate and Wash), the feeling I've come away with after two episodes is a resounding "meh." I'm sticking with it because I simply have to see how they're going to update the immortal guinea pig scene, and also because I want to know how far they're going to take this "liberal socialist aliens offering universal healthcare" plotline they've got going on.
I for one welcome our lizard overlords...but only if they lower my premiums.
So far the show appears to be on the right track. And by "on the right track" I mean "portraying extraterrestrials as remorseless villains out to enslave humanity." The creators of the original series understood the danger presented by movies like E.T. and TV shows like Star Trek, which depicted aliens we could befriend and explore the universe together in peace.
Fuck that. Our own history of colonialism, genocide, and slavery should make it patently obvious that any so-called "visitors" from beyond the solar system aren't going to be cute, meatloaf-headed muppets with glowing index fingers, but rather slavering, many-tentacled monstrosities from the Sodomy Nebula. You can laugh, but remember that the Pioneer (10 and 11) and Voyager (1 and 2) spacecraft are about to exit our solar system, and all four contain helpful schematics of the human body as well as a goddamned map of how to get to our planet. Thanks a pantload, NASA.
Admittedly, there's a great deal that isn't that good about the show. Tyler is annoying, the anti-Visitor resistance cell's behavior is pretty idiotic, and while I'm firmly in support of the message, I imagine nobody's all that excited about yet another alien invasion story.
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SHOW ME HOW
Normally I'm reluctant to give network television executives the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to things like originality and intelligence. Well-written, thoughtful shows are exceptions in the world of According to Jim and Everybody Loves Raymond, so my biggest personal fear about V would actually end up being the most interesting thing they could do with the show. Namely, to actually make the Visitors benevolent ambassadors of peace.
Nothing we've seen, aside from leader Anna's insistence on a favorable media coverage, can be taken as definitive proof of ill intentions. The resistance faction that Ryan (Morris Chestnut) joins may very well be terrorists, while Lisa -- the Visitor young Tyler has the hots for -- might honestly have been put off by his violent display. Maybe the final lesson, after we've fought the kindly lizards to a stalemate with nukes and biological weapons, will be that humanity needs to reconsider its warlike nature. They may be reptiles, but does that mean they can't share their technology and make our world a better place?
Nah, probably not. Like I said, this is the same network that gives us Wife Swap and Grey's Anatomy. The likelihood that everything is leading to some huge cliffhanger twist where the Visitors are really Trek-style space hippies just doesn't compute, and the galactic xenophobe in me is supremely grateful for that.