Since talk of alien visitations and abductions has given Culture Wars its most downloaded show ever and one of my all time favorite TV events were the pair 1980s V minseries (V and V: The Final Battle), I have to voice my qualified approval and enjoyment of the new V series on ABC.
Although the pilot episode was too brief - with only a one-hour episode - and might have been better served by a two-hour special, this new incarnation of the alien invasion story had some nice ideas floating around.
The most interesting aspect of this new series appears to be the way it seems to embrace some of the more outlandish conspiracy theories of the past two decades and, at the same time, dramatize them with effective, straight-faced seriousness. But good science fiction is always a product of its times and a barometer of the zeitgeist. The old V was a rumination on totalitarian regimes like communism and fascism (it was quite heavy-handed in its reminders of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust). A number of critics have commented on the new V and terrorism, but what this new incarnation of the old show seems to really be about is conspiracy-minded thinking. Fear of conspiracies is a sign of the times today.
Here, the aliens do not really arrive for the first time when their giant UFOs appear over all the major cities of the Earth but, we are told, they had been here for years, maybe even decades. The have taken over positions of power and manipulated world events to bring about crises, wars, economic instability, and general chaos, fear and mayhem.
No doubt the show is a big hit among conspiracy theorist circles. It reminds me the most of the conspiracy theories expounded in the books of British author David Icke. Since the 1990s, Icke has written a series of books proclaiming that all of the world's leaders are reptilian aliens in disguise, manipulating world events to make everyone's life harder. (Why don't conspirators every conspire to make things easier?)
The uncanny closeness to Icke's disguised reptilian conspiracy theories is what makes me just slightly leery of this new stab at V. Many of Icke's biggest fans have also jumped on the US-govt-was-behind-9/11 conspiracy theories as well. Having a major network TV show confirm the delusions of crackpots like Icke and the 9/11 "truth" movement is just a bit unnerving.
But I can't wait until next week's episode!!