Tuesday, November 10, 2009

V: The Aliens Are Back

This post is only vaguely related to comics (hence its classification in the new category "only vaguely related to comics"), but there was a V comic book published by DC back in the 80's, and there probably will be again if this series is successful, though probably published by one of the newer, smaller publishers.  Probably IDW, as they seem to be getting a lot of the hot licenses, like Star Trek.
In the original V mini-series, the Earth was visited by apparently humanoid aliens who had ostensibly come in peace and friendship.  It was soon revealed that they were reptilian creatures who had really come to conquer us, steal the water from our oceans and harvest human beings for food.  More than that, V was an allegory for the rise of Nazi Germany. It was an attempt to answer the question that has plagued philosophers and historians for decades: How did this happen? How could seemingly decent people go along with this unspeakable evil committed in their name?  Finally, that mini-series was four hours of the best science fiction ever made for television.

Unfortunately, the mini-series did not spawn a regular series right away. There was a follow-up mini-series, V:The Final Battle, in which most of the plotlines were wrapped up and the alien invaders repelled, and then there was a regular series, lasting only one season, in which the Visitors returned.  By the time the regular series debuted, the allegorical subtext had gotten lost somewhere along the way and V had devolved into a standard Earth vs. the invaders saga, such as we'd seen dozens of times since H.G. Wells created the template with War of the Worlds.
Last week, the Visitors returned yet again, in a all-new V, airing on ABC.
It's...okay.  It's early yet, though. The aliens have just landed, and most of humanity still thinks they are benevelent, though a resistance is forming.  If there's any allegory here, it's has either yet to emerge, or it's very subtle. So far the new V seems to be another one of  those Earth vs. the invaders rehashes I decried above. Still, it's a fairly well done one, and one that is very much in the vein of other recent hits such as Lost and Heroes, with multiple characters and crisscrossing plot lines intersecting and diverging several times each episode.
While I like the idea, new to this version of V, that the aliens have been amongst us for years, posing as humans and paving the way for the day when they would invade full force, I don't like that all of Earth's problems of the last few years, such as war, terrorism and economic insecurity, have been fomented by the Visitors.  It's too easy, and it lets the human race off the hook. We don't need aliens, the human race has made a royal mess of things without any outside help.  The original did not let humans off the hook, instead showing them complicit in their own subjugation.
As I said, it's early, as I write this the second episode has just begun, and I'll reserve a final judgment and stick with it for a few more episodes.
The new version does have one advantage over its predecessor.  Anna, the new Supreme Commander of the Visitor Armada, is a lot hotter than the original's Diana.

1 comment:

  1. I dunno. I always thought Diana (Jane Badler) was pretty hot.