Tuned In

The Morning After: Universal Health Scare

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Spoilers for the fall finale of V coming up after the jump:

After the pilot of V debuted, there was spirited debate over whether the plot (charismatic alien leader promises hope and change, seduces media and the youth, promises health-care miracles and wins sheeplike adoration) was or was not meant to echo right-wing criticisms / conspiracy theories about the Obama administration.

My take was that it might or it might not be intentional (both the original V and some of the more heated paranoid rhetoric draw on the same Nazi parallels, after all). But any writer with enough braincells to work a QWERTY keyboard could not be dumb enough to be as unaware of the symmetries as the makers of V claimed to be.

Well, after last night’s finale (which puts the series on pause until March), I’m with Dan Fienberg: there is no way the writers cannot be conscious of the parallels. Now, I’m not sure what the makers intend by them—whether it’s a right-wing critique, a funhouse-exaggeration of right-wing critiques, or simply an adapting of the original series’ conspiracy plot in a timely way to get free publicity. Unlike, say, Battlestar Galactica, V seems to be more interested in simply throwing out button-pushing references than building some kind of in-depth allegory.

But having the aliens experiment with us through our flu vaccine? Come on! Next they’ll be injecting AIDS into our chicken nuggets!

In any case, even though I am self-evidently not a charter member of the Glenn Beck fan club, that’s fine by me. I don’t think that topical science fiction only works when I personally agree with it politically. I just want the show to be challenging, inventive and original. And there, the finale left me my opinions of V unchanged: the show is fascinating when it deals with the aliens, leaden and predictable when it spends any time with its humans.

I’ll watch again when V returns, largely because I’m so impressed with Morena Baccarin’s controlled deviousness. (I loved her delivery of the line, “Skin him,” and her intoning of her Bliss speech made her seem like the most evil yoga instructor ever.) But I’m not exactly counting the days.

While we wait, anyone have any theories as to what the Vs want from humanity, and why again they can’t simply destroy us? (I’m guessing they need our bodies themselves—maybe our DNA is necessary to them for some reason—which means they need to take us intact and preferably willingly.) And can anyone provide a better explanation than the show has for why the Fifth Column Visitors don’t just out themselves, and thus Anna and company, as lizards? Weigh in. And be sure to get your flu shots!