Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Political Allegory of "V"

Good science-fiction is allegorical and often political in nature.
Examples abound – here are two obvious ones: in movies, (The Invasion of Body Snatchers as an allegory for communist infiltration, or more recently Distcrict 9 clearly about Apartheid) or TV (Star Trek and its-anti-Vietnam war message, or The Invaders also about communist infiltration).

The very best of science fiction is not only allegorical; it also deals with myths of our time. The most achieved sci-fi narrative is definitely Battlestar Galactica with its religious and political allegories so extended and well constructed that they become myths.
In 2005, Time said it was “a ripping sci-fi allegory of the war on terror, complete with religious fundamentalists (here, genocidal robots called Cylons), sleeper cells, civil-liberties crackdowns and even a prisoner-torture scandal”.

BSG has definitely raised the bar so high that it will be hard for any new Sci-Fi to match its quality.
So what type of political allegory would (evil ) aliens pretending to be nice and offer ‘hope’ and ‘change’ be?
This week’s new series “V” is just about that – beautiful aliens showing up on earth and indoctrinating people (especially the youth) into spreading their messages of hope and change, while a group of people who know the truth organize resistance.
As the story progresses, you cannot escape the political allegory for Obama. But the “revelation” comes about 25 minutes into the show when the aliens’ plan for taking lover the world is finally revealed:
Ana, the charismatic leader gives an interview
“The intent goes beyond just healing we want to provide complete medical
services to all.”
“You’re talking about Universal Healthcare?!”.
“I believe that’s what you call it, yes”.
Meanwhile, the group of underground resistance sounds awfully like the tea-baggers.
It worries me that they came when we needed them the most. All they’re really doing is positioning themselves as the saviors of mankind.”, one of them says.

In case, you’re not familiar with Sci-Fi, V (which stands for “Visitors”) is a remake of a 1980s version, except that in the original (cult) series, the political allegory was clearly WWII and Nazi occupation with an anti-fascist message. And the Aliens did not give humanity health-care but the cure of cancer and other diseases. (and from a narrative perspective, what an anti-climax it would for these aliens to simply bring.. universal health care. After all, it is something that some countries (in real life) have already achieved on their own. Sure, it would be for the whole world, but I don’t think I’d be impressed with anything less than the cure of AIDS, Cancer, etc…)

As may be expected, the writer/producer, Scott Peters has denied any political undertone.
But Peters says the show has been in the works since 2007. Reality was "never really a factor," he says. "There's no political message being shoved down anyone's throat." (WP)
Whatever the producer may say, the political undertone is more than obvious which has not escaped far right-wing commentaries :
Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck have all “endorsed” V as “a critique of ‘Obama-mania.’” The report quotes Hannity as saying: “You know, I think this is one show that I can actually get behind.” (Media Matters)

Here’s what Bill O’Reilly had to say about “V” :

From a purely entertaining perspective, the show is watchable but has a lot of tacky moments (and why, I ask, does the Alien speak French with… an American accent?) and it is probably also due to the fact that the first episode goes too fast and the story is too condensed. They should have had a two hour pilot instead and slowly build in the tension. It will most likely never match BSG.
The best scene in the pilot is probably when Ana, the alien leader gets ready for the interview with a journalist and blackmails him into showing the aliens in a positive light:
"Don't ask any questions that would portray us negatively."
He hesitates but
she says she’ll cancel the interview altogether
"This interview would
elevate your career, wouldn't it, Mr. Decker?"
And he finally gives in to her demand. It’s one of the most well written scenes in the whole episode.

It seems that Scott Peters (The 4400), the man behind the first episodes will be replaced by Scott Rosenbaum, the executive producer of Chuck and one of the writers of the cutting edge show “The Shield”.

As for me, I'll continue to watch "V" just to see how it's going to develop but I much prefer “Flashforward”, probably the most promising new SF series on air right now.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home