ABC's new sci-fi series V kicks off tonight. It concerns a charismatic leader who comes out of nowhere promising a bright future and a better life for all Americans. Is that leader Barack Obama or is it a space lizard?
On the show, it is definitely a space lizard (maybe Balloon Boy's dad's conspiracy theories about lizard people were right all along!), but like a Chicago Tribune review by Glenn Garvin points out, it could also be about our nerd president.
Welcome to ABC's "V," the most fascinating and bound to be the most controversial new show of the fall television season. Nominally a rousing sci-fi space opera about alien invaders bent on the conquest (and digestion) of all humanity, it's also a barbed commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the president's supporters and delight his detractors.
Anna is the beautiful and charming leader of the aliens—knows as V's because they are visitors—and she tells the world that her people can fix everything that is wrong with society. She has the liberal media brainwashed, and they all go along with stories about how great and wonderful she is. Of course, there is a fringe group who rebel against her and want to expose them as the evil-doing, reptile skinned, foreigners that they really are. Of course, these are the heroes of the show. Wow, that really does sound like the teabaggers! There's even a religious rebel named Father Jack, which is basically an anagram of George W. Bush.
It certainly wouldn't be new for a sci-fi series to be an allegory about modern society (Battlestar Galactica, anyone?) but it would be sort of odd for a sci-fi show on a major network to give credence to tactics and delusions of the far right. The birthers will be lapping up a show about a foreign-born president who comes to snatch society out of their clutches, and Glenn Back and his cronies will love to see a media that is overtaken by liberals and keeps the truth away from the "real Americans." But what will everyone else think?
The sci-fi culture usually veers to the left in its political allegory (again, see Battlestar or this summer's upbeat Star Trek that was an endorsement for the hopeful future that the Obama administration promised to usher in). The original 1983 miniseries that the show is based on was an anti-fascist message that preyed on "the aliens are coming, the aliens are coming" invasion fears of the Cold War. This is what it has been warped into. We find it hard to believe that thinly-veiIed conservative propaganda will find a strong foothold with the core sci-fi audience, and as for those leaning to the right, they tend to like their entertainment much more straightforward. Why try to figure out what all those lizard people mean when they can just watch Jack Bauer bash people's heads in on 24? That's their idea of fun.
Our prognosis, keep picking on the president and the only letters that V will get are D.O.A.