Anyone could be a Cyl– I mean Visitor.
11 November, 2009, 11:34 pm
Filed under: 1
VSG_HeaderHaven’t we met before?

From 2004 to 2009, through a miniseries and four seasons of prime time cable television, Batttlestar Galatica won a hard earned critical praise and fan adoration (minus that ending… but let’s not talk about that). When it concluded in March, there was a sci-fi (Syfy?) void. ABC decided that it would put the V in that void, and, for the moment, this new series is the would-be inheritor to Galactica’s fan base, and I’m sure aspires to its acclaim. But is it anything we haven’t already seen? As much as I want to like the new V, I feel like its Battlestar Galactica all over again.

When R.D. Moore added the Skin-Jobs the usual suspects of Cylon Centurions, he basically stole V’s thunder before it ever re-existed. The enemy is among us, the enemy is us. “The Cylons look like us now”, in 2004 has become, “Anyone could be a Visitor,” in 2009. We’ve come a long way.  I’m sure all the metaphorical baggage that came with the former can’t be far behind for the latter, and we’ll all learn that humanity doest have to mean being human. My sense of déjà vu isn’t lessened with the reappearance of actress Rekha Sharma as the suspicious Sarita Malik. Did our unfortunate Final Fiver, Tory Foster, download into the same role?

As much as I loved Number 6, I don’t know if I can take another sexy alien emissary in a red dress. Basically, I just got out of a 5-year relationship comprised mostly of speculation on whom was really a robot. Then, I had to figure out if the robots were really that bad even though they were kind of abusive. I have enough trust issues already. V’s giving me the slight feeling that I’m about to start dating that same girl in the red again, only this time, replace robot with lizard. I may as well substitute terrorist with President Obama while I’m at it.

Aren’t we supposed to be rejecting the us-versus-them, “with us or against us,” “they hate us for our freedom,” “don’t trust the smart guy” era of suspicion, fear, and division. Seems like V is aiming to tap into xenophobia, media bias, and fear of youth indoctrination when I was ready for a more hopeful message. I thought last year the nation about said as much too. V is either very cynical, or they didn’t get the memo.

The rebooted Battlestar’s genesis was a clear reference to the trauma of the terrorist attacks on the world trade center towers; at its core the series was commentary on post-9/11 politics, and it captured the zeitgeist of W-America. But once Obama was elected, the show became somewhat culturally irrelevant. Terrorism didn’t stop, war didn’t end, but the conversation “changed.”

It was probably for the best that Battlestar would give way to something that could thematically pick up where it left off. BSG started by offering us the apocalypse and finished with a dubious new beginning where at least there was some hope that all that had happened before didn’t have to happen again.

V disregards the progress of Battlestar. It reboots our entire cultural narrative back to a catastrophic event; deceptively beautiful aliens devastating humanity with… universal healthcare. The fear of other governments has been replaced by the fear of our own government. As much as Morena Baccarin would tell us that her Anna is not Barak (though maybe Hillary) the parallels are a bit too obvious.

What’s gone wrong in a world where I can’t trust Inara? Why must bad things keep happening to Wash? And what are the intentions of a show that seem to frame our President as a genocidal infiltrator. I’m having flashbacks to that infamous fist-bumping New Yorker cover. It leaves me feeling a bit gross, and not that good sci-fi(Syfy?) kind of gross.

Maybe V has some potential; the cast interests me, and the premise could be compelling if it has something original to say. But is it capture-the-imagination interesting, or just, an okay way to spend a Tuesday evening? If it’s not careful, our new wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing show may find itself in the “Battlestar already did it” territory. So while Erica Evans goes off to start her V-Party protests, and Chad Decker decides if he’s working for Fox or MSNBC, maybe they should watch some Simpsons versus South Park –and some Futurama for good measure– and take studious notes. Then please let me know if the Visitors have an economic plan to go along with their evil socialized medicine.


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