Unreality TV at the premiere of the new series of V!

by Gerard McGarry

When I heard that the old 1983 sci-fi miniseries, V, was being rebooted, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. When we take a series that was a great story and throw a ton of new-millennium special effects, usually the story gets lost in the spectacle.

However – and please expect spoilers – tonight’s premiere of V actually managed to provide breathtaking special effects alongside a very solid storyline.

The thing about V is, if you’re my age (30-mumble mumble mumble), you’ll remember vague details about the original series. There’s the rat-eating stuff, the freaky reptilian alien baby, and the water-stealing endgame. But the details are hazy to say the least. I checked with other V veterans, and they tend to agree on this.

That’s a good starting point for the re-imagining of V. It’s almost a new start for us. I mean, did you know that “V” stands for “Visitor”?

The pilot episode establishes the story comprehensively. We meet the main characters on the morning the aliens choose to visit Earth. The scene where the spacecraft hover over the major cities of the world is amazing – using the entire base of each craft to beam a message to the citizens below was a stroke of genius. And yes, we’re universally agreed that Morena Baccarin may be one of the hottest aliens in science fiction history.

Anyway, here’s a quickie run-down of the main characters:

  • Erica Evans – an amazingly hot FBI MILF lady who’s suspicious of the aliens, and struggling to contain her son’s obsession with the visitors.
  • Tyler Evans – hormonal teenage son to Erica, he becomes an ambassador for the visitors, mostly to get into the pants of a hot blonde “V” (who played Supergirl in Smallville)
  • Chad Decker – an ambitious reporter who sacrifices his integrity by giving the visitors free publicity and interviews in return for furthering his career.
  • Father Jack Landry – a priest who is naturally suspicious of the visitors and worried about their effect on church attendance (i.e. the church pews are full since the aliens arrived).
  • Morris Chestnut – aha! A rebellious alien who disagrees with their plans to harvest the Earth and steal the planet’s natural resources. He sides with the resistance, but is in love with an Earth girl.

First off, I’m not entirely sure that broadcasting their message to entire cities was the safest and most effective way for an alien race to make first contact. Perhaps a discreet word with the major parliaments in the first instance?

However, the visitors quickly ingratiate themselves with the planet by offering their advanced knowledge in return for access to water. They set up various propaganda schemes to gain favour with their hosts, including “Peace Ambassadors” – gullible kids from Earth who sell the positive aspects of the visitors to their friends and families.

But down on Earth, there’s a counter-movement of humans who despise the aliens and seem to know much more about them than the “visitor” propaganda machine would like. These ‘resistance’ members claim that the visitors have been on Earth for many years, infiltrating society and spreading their influence and that their sudden decision to reveal themselves is the final part of their scheme to eradicate the human race.

Aside from some very special sci-fi set pieces, this reboot of “V” tackles religious themes and broader societal issues. I expect to see mother and son pitted against each other as one becomes closer to the aliens while the other joins the resistance against them. When we came out of the premiere, there was a lot of discussion around “what would an alien invasion mean for religion?” and “what are the consequences of discovering intelligent life in the universe?” And that might be the mark of a good show – making the viewer walk away asking questions.

This is republished from our community site, Unreality Shout.