"V" ( 2009 )

Based on a miniseries produced in the 80’s, V is an updated, more modern approach to the concept of an alien race visiting earth with dubious intentions.

Everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001. But when the citizens of New York awake on a bright morning many years later, it is not to dust and falling buildings but to an enormous spaceship hovering in the skies above the city… and above major cities all across the world: Tokyo, Paris, London, and Berlin. “We are the Visitors. We come in peace” is the message broadcasted by the beautiful and exotic Anna. The aliens have come to earth for resources and wish to make friends with all nations. Humans respond to them in different ways. Some are overjoyed, others more suspicious. Nonbelievers and believers alike flock into the churches, where the mild-mannered but concerned Father Landry wonders how to encourage his panicking parishioners.

FBI agent Erica Evans is a little less welcoming of the new treaties proposed by the Visitors. It seems too good to be true – universal healthcare and healing stations all across the world, cures for all major diseases, and a promise of peaceful coexistence. Other nations are embracing their technology and healing powers, but America is undecided. Its masses are divided. Young people are recruited into the V’s ambassadors of peace program and do their best to encourage participation from their friends, including Erica’s impressionable son Tyler, who hopes to impress pretty alien girl Lisa of his merit. But it soon becomes apparent that the Visitors might not be ambassadors of peace after all, when a bloodied man stumbles into Father Landry’s church and warns him of impending evil. Landry and Erica both wind up at the same underground anti-Visitors meeting… and discover first-hand that their charming alien neighbors are more than capable of silencing any voices of opposition.

The Visitors are taking over and only a few courageous souls will stand against them.

The buzz about this show before its premiere was tremendous and it’s not hard to see why. V is tackling controversial material at a tempestuous time in history. Its message is “never trust blindly” and “if it’s too good to be true, there is something evil behind it.” The charming Visitors arrive and mesmerize the masses with promises of peace, prosperity and healing, but their true forms are hideous green monsters and they have no intention of allowing any of the nations of the world to opt out of their goodwill mission. Anna wastes no time in seizing control of the media. “You may ask me anything you like,” she says with a smile to a popular journalist, “but nothing that might cast us in a negative light.” She carefully calculates how to dress to make an impression, how to flirt and smile and give the wrong impression of “submission” toward other nations. Her fellow aliens recruit young people as their ambassadors to dissenting neighborhoods, encouraging them to get connected and emboldening them with a message of peace.

It’s no surprise therefore that a lot of conservative bloggers and viewers sense something of a political undertone, and one liberals audiences might not appreciate. Is V something of a condemnation of Socialism, the expansion of big government, and the removal of freedom of speech? Is it a bit of a jab at the current administration and their glowing promises? Given the network involved, I rather doubt it, but there are similarities and it’s only fair to note that the original conclusion of the pilot episode was half of a popular catchphrase from a certain political campaign (“Hope” was changed to “Devotion” at the last minute for fear of political backlash).

Since we are only two episodes in, I’m not sure where my opinion stands. I think the writing is solid and with the right level of exposure and buzz, the series could easily obtain a fan following. I certainly know that half my social circle is buzzing about it… even the women I attend Bible Study with. The series does have a few points against it, though… the cast are mostly unknowns and there is not much in the way of eye candy, which believe it or not can make a difference. And depending on the direction it goes and whether or not any potential political undertones become more apparent as the season progresses, it could step on a few toes. The introduction of a priest as one of the primary characters could be awesome or it could insult viewers, depending on how he is used (if he starts falling for Erica, I am going to pitch a fit). There are also some undercover “good” aliens that will soon join the Resistance.

I watch a lot of sci-fi, and it amused me tremendously when our introduction to two of the alien females turned up familiar faces from other more popular franchises. Ever wonder where you’ve seen the blonde before? She spent a full season teasing her Kryptonian cousin Clark Kent on Smallville; and the exotic Anna attempted to dominate the universe as the leader of the Ori in the final seasons of Stargate SG-1.The irony is not lost on me.Here’s hoping we get enough episodes to show their true nature, because whether you choose to view it as a social commentary or not, you won’t soon forget the Visitors.

5 Replies to “"V" ( 2009 )”

  1. I vaguely remember the original, so that was my initial curiosity about this one. But I'm enjoying it on its own merits too. Okay, I mainly started watching for Elizabeth Mitchell – which is insane, because I couldn't stand her on 'Lost' for the LONGEST time! How people can grow on you.

    And oh, I am SO with you on the priest thing! I am spoiler free, but you just know on TV there simply cannot be a man and woman together without something sexual going on. I sure hope they don't go that route either, because then I will have to say bye-bye. Feelings or whatever? Fine. Falling into bed? Uh, no.

  2. That may be true. Apparently, I just don't know most of them, although a decent chunk of the cast looks “somewhat familiar.” There isn't much male eye candy, though. I'll stand by that statement at least. 😉

    Unintentionally or otherwise, it's causing quite a stir!

  3. I like V so far, although I haven't watched the second episode yet.

    I think the actors aren't as unknown as you think; Elizabeth Mitchell garnered quite a fan base after her time on Lost, and of course Anna was Inara on the much-beloved Firefly, well before she was on Stargate. Scott Wolf (the reporter) still has a legion of fans from Party of Five years ago, too.

    Mostly I love how it is against the Obama administration, even if it is unintentionally. =o)

  4. Paige, I could not agree with you more. I suspect they'll introduce some sensuality next week between the teens, but I hope it stays mild.

    The actress is brilliant. She's wonderful in the quiet, intimidating roles.

  5. Hi Charity!

    I've been watching V as well. I've really been enjoying it so far.

    My one hope is that they will steer clear of making it too graphic, either with violence or sexuality. It's a really good show without it, and putting stuff like that in will ruin it for me.

    I think they did a really good job casting Morena Baccarin (I'm not sure about that spelling :S) as Anna. She's got the scary alien thing down.

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