The show V finally got around to starting very late in the fall season, but it is worth the wait. I’m sure this shows my age, but I actually remember watching the original mini-series back in 1983. I was in sixth grade at the time, and back then, no one had ever attempted a science-fiction mini-series like it.
The premise was an alien invasion, which has been done to death, even by the 1980s. V took an interesting twist on it, because the aliens didn’t just show up in their big motherships and tiny shuttles and proceed to eradicate humanity. No, the aliens on V decided on a different approach: pretend to be humanity’s friend, and then stab them in the back.
Yes, the visitors, who are reptilian in nature, clad themselves to look like humans and then promise peace and prosperity. However, their real plan is to increase Earth’s rations to fatten up the humans as food. Yeah, that’s right, they want to eat the entire human race. I can still remember this one scene where the aliens have this refrigeration unit where people are frozen on ice and hanging like sides of beef.
Even though the original V could easily be brushed off as escapist science-fiction, it definitely is a clear metaphor for the Nazi takeover before World War II. The original visitors wore red, white, and black, and their symbol looked like a half-swastika. Like the Nazis, the visitors slowly gain the public trust while they quietly steal the resources they need. The plan was by the time people figure out what is actually happening, it is too late to do anything about it.
It is no surprise that the reboot of V does not have much originality to it, and the opening is a clear imitation of Independence Day. Funny, because the 1996 blockbuster was quite reminiscent of the original 1983 V.
Lost fans will be pleased to see Elizabeth Mitchell as one of the main characters. I always thought her Lost character Juliet was far more interesting than Kate, and I would have gladly removed Kate and replaced her anyday. On V, she plays an FBI agent, trying to track a terrorist cell. (Yeah, it appears the new V has a clear 9/11 influence, instead of the Cold War/post Nazi feel of the original V. The same effect occurred with the transition of Watchmen the comic to Watchmen the movie.)
I thing I liked about the new V is one of the main characters is a priest. One who actually questions the appearance of aliens from outer space within a biblical worldview. That’s something that you don’t see in many science fiction movies. Except for the first War of the Worlds movie where a priest is just way to naive and welcomes the Martians as friends. He gets blasted into nothingness. Anyway, the priest is interesting because many Christians in the Nazi era were suspicious of the rising power, but did nothing. The priest immediately suspects that something is amiss, and he begins to become the Dietrich Bonhoeffer of this story. If you don’t know who that is, shame on you. Look it up.
So will he and the FBI agent succeed in their attempts to overthrow the alien powers-that-be? Of course. The real question is how many seasons ABC can squeeze out of it. By the way, when NBC had rights over the miniseries, they actually tried a series with it. It sucked. In fact, it was just new footage spliced in with effects footage from the miniseries. The last episode was a “continued next season” that was never continued.
The new V series has a lot of room for development. According to the new version, the aliens have been here for quite a while, which opens the door for a lot of backstory flashback episodes. Hopefully there won’t be any visits to Area 51.
By the way, the new show calls the aliens the Vs. This is a change from the original, as the show was called V because the rebellion used this as their symbol, for Victory. Most people wrongly interpreted the V to stand for Visitor, and this new version just runs with that.