Thursday, February 4, 2010

V (2009)


Well, it's better than V: The Series, but not as good as V: The Final Battle, and not in the same league as the original V mini-series. The fanboy in me likes the mothership design and that they're still using the original Visitor alphabet. And it is an enjoyable drama.


When everyone was raving about the pilot episode before it aired, someone said how this new version was perfect, because it took away all the cheese of the original and left everything that was cool. Well, let's ignore the fact that I love Sci-Fi Cheese for a moment, and just look at the most important part they took away: the moral that fascism can happen here.

By taking this element away and turning it into a conspiracy story, the story is actually more boring. "Aliens have been living among us!" Ho-hum... seen that story a million times before.

Amy makes a point that today, the threat is from terrorists, and you never know who they are among us. So by telling the story from this angle, it plays on the true fears of real people today for a more timely drama. Which makes sense. But the point Kenneth Johnson was making in the original V was to never forget that it could happen here. When V first came on, it was 1983, forty years World War II and Nazi Germany. V brought the lessons of that time home to me in a way that no history class ever could.

And how did the Visitors of 1983 establish their hold on the world? By painting the scientist community as terrorists. Let's ignore the parallel between the scientists and the Jews for a moment-- my point here is that the Visitors used that fear of terrorism to set themselves up as the fascist rulers of America and the world.

This is a message that we all NEED to hear in the post 9-11 world. And by taking the opposite approach, ABC's V is in fact becoming the kind of propaganda that allows fascism to take hold, as opposed to shining a light on it and rooting it out like Kenneth Johnson's V did. And by deciding to call the Visitors "The V's" (which isn't even grammatically accurate) the show actually co-opts the symbol of resistance and turns into the symbol of the oppressors.

Now, I'm not saying that ABC's V is doing all this deliberately. I think it's more that they felt the point of the old series didn't need to apply to the new series, and they simply feel this is a good way to tell a modern drama.

And it has been an enjoyable drama. But that's all it is. And if they weren't going to keep the moral to V, then I feel they would have been better off to call the show something else and avoid the direct comparison to the old show, and taking the meaning out of a symbol that has stood for resisting oppression for 60 years.

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