Fighting with the Sky

The Premiere of V

Posted on: November 4, 2009

abc-vThe new show V premiered last night.  V is about an alien race called The Visitors who come to Earth looking for an unnamed mineral that helps them survive in exchange for giving humans some of their technological advances.  They appeared in massive spaceships that hover ominously above most of the world’s major cities.  The Vistors say that they “are of peace, always.”  Some are fascinated by the V’s,  but many humans question whether they should be trusted.  There is a group of people who think that the V’s are here to destroy mankind; that they are masking themselves to pass as humans in infiltrate our society in order to overthrow and exterminate us.

Erica (played by Elizabeth Mitchell, Juliet on Lost) is an FBI agent who, in the pilot, is investigating a sleeper cell of terrorists and comes across this group of people that believe that this sleeper cell is of V’s who are there to destroy humans — she becomes untrusting of the Visitors.  Her son, Tyler, on the other hand, is fascinated by the Visitors and wants to become more involved in building peace.  Anna (played by Morena Baccarin, Inara on Firefly) is the leader of the Visitors who claims to bring peace with her, but will not answer any “uncomfortable” questions about her people.  In this episode we are also introduced to Dale (played by Alan Tudyk, Wash on Firefly and Alpha on Dollhouse), Erica’s partner, and Ryan.

As the episode progresses, we find Erica in a meeting with the people who claim that the Visitors are not to be trusted and that they are here to destroy humans.  They check under everyone’s skin to make sure that they are not Visitors (who only have an outer layer of human skin but are actually reptilian underneath).  As the meeting progresses, they are attacked by Visitors and it is discovered that there actually is a Visitor sleeper cell acting on Earth — and Dale (the Alan Tudyk character) is one of them.  He attacks Erica and but Erica ends up killing him (or so we are to believe, even though the previews show him coming back).  It is also revealed that Ryan is a Visitor, but he has ‘defected’ and is now fighting against the Visitors.  After this event, Erica decides that she needs to help the resistance against the V’s.  But don’t worry, to create more tension, Tyler (Erica’s son) joins the Peace Ambassadors, to work with the Visitors to help spread peace.

At first, I was hopeful that this show was going to have a message of tolerance, acceptance, and community.  It seemed like it was going to have similarities to nationalism and immigration in that people were concerned about the V’s coming to Earth to hurt humans.  I thought that the show was going to have the message that people shouldn’t be so quick to judge the Visitors (or any group of “others”) and should work towards creating a community.  But no, it turns out that the Visitors are actually evil — to some extent.

To be honest, I’m not sure what I think of the show yet.  I enjoy a lot of science fiction kinds of things, but it seems like kind of a tired story, despite the fact that it’s about aliens and has some portrayals of advanced technology.  I’ll probably watch what airs in November before I make up my mind about the show.  If I find anything that particularly strikes me about the show, I will probably write about it.  But if not, I don’t think that I will write about it.  I really just wanted to see what the hype was about because they have been pushing this show a lot recently.  And I’m such a Joss Whedon nerd that any show that has two Joss Whedon alums in it, I will be interested in.

V will be airing as four episodes during November and will resume in March 2010 after the 2010 Winter Olympics.


6 Responses to "The Premiere of V"

V is most definitely not about tolerance and acceptance of the Vistors (for that, I’d suggest watching the old series Alien Nation and the movie that inspired it—that show is very much about bigoted humans treating peaceful alien immigrants unfairly).

However, what is not necessarily obvious in the current V series is that the original V miniseries was a very clear World War II tale–the Visitors also promised to cure disease in exchange for natural resources… but their ideology, methods, flags, logos and uniforms were very Nazi-like, and the Peace Ambassadors were clearly the Hitler Youth. So the original was about ordinary people choosing to ignore the evil the Vs were doing in return for convenience and personal gain–even as their friends and family were trucked off to concentration camps, etc. The original main family in the old miniseries were Jewish, and the grandfather was a Holocaust survivor who was horrified by his grandson. The heroes of the show were basically Resistance fighters, and they did include some Vs who were opposed to the overall V agenda.

I don’t know how much of that will be brought into the present series…

I meant the grandfather was horrified by his grandson joining the V youth group.

From reading this review it is clear that you did not watch V the first time it was on the air. This latest incarnation is exactly like the first go round. For a simple update it was actual good. I also like the fact that instead of having a man looking for his son and fighting the V’s they have changed the character to a woman. Perhaps there will be some progressive changes after all.

if you want to watch it, the first part of the original one is here:

i haven’t been able to find the other parts except in clips. if you can ignore the super slow 80s pacing and sad special effects, it’s pretty decent. and you get to the whole “it’s the nazis!” conclusion a lot earlier in the first one.

renee: i liked what i saw in terms of updating the characters, too. for one thing, it was nice to see some deeper characterization of the son in this one. when i went back and watched the original, he was given almost no actual air-time for us to understand why he would choose the Vs over his family.

also, i really liked the idea of the aliens being the cause of all the strife of the last century. it’s an interesting way to use humans’ tendency toward xenophobia to actually bring the races together instead of splitting them further. i know that’s a common trope in alien sci-fi, but i thought it was nicely done here.

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