Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"V": ABC remakes 1980s miniseries: what happens to V-creatures in a disco?


V” was a mildly controversial miniseries on NBC in 1983 from Kenneth Johnson and Warner Borthers television. This time, ABC gets to do the rerun, with politics brought up to date by 20+ years, directed by Yves Simoneau. We all known by now that “V” stands for both “visitors” and “victory.” Somehow, the concept reminds me of the 1984 potboiler film “Red Dawn.”

It’s pretty sudden, all the earthquakes, as the spaceships hover over major cities on V-Day, hanging in the air rather like those of “Independence Day” or “District 9”. The face of Anna (Morena Baccarin) hangs on the spaceship as an image, and journalist Chad Decker (Everwood’s Scott Wolf) gets an interview with her. (The 1983 version had started with rolling spaceships moving across the American desert southwest.) The website for the new series is this.

When Anna tells Chad that she can’t be asked any questions that would put the visitors in a bad light, Chad has to explain the nature of terrestrial journalism—objectivity. But it’s clear quickly that Anna promises utopia (“universal health care” is a great buzzword, isn’t it?) in exchange for slavery and political subjugation. Already there is a hint of Marxism in the visitors’ system.

There are, of course, “the kids” – Logan Huffman plays Tyler, who gets a ride on an extraterrestrial chopper into the mother ship, inside which there is a kind of synecdoche, a model city, that is rather interesting to look at – all reminding me of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rendezvous with Rama”. In fact, why not make Clarke’s “Childhood’s End” into a film, starting with a landing of utopian creatures from a bird-world, ready to set up a group mind on Earth.

Well, birds (as dinosaurs) are post-reptilian, and underneath the surface, the V-people, buff as the men may look, are reptilian or lizard-like. At least that’s what I remember from the 80s. Imagine some dirty dancing in a disco, and someone gets too aggressive with the kneading and pulls away not just the hair but the skin, revealing the scales underneath. That’s how I would write this. V-creatures would never survive Halloween in a gay disco. Imagine them as in reverse costumes.

I don’t think that the premise of the series is as intriguing as that of “Flashforward”, but we’ve seen this series before, and the big red “V” is bound to generate interest.

Picture: spaceship model at NASA museum in Chantilly, VA

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