November 4, 2009
V: Is There Finally a Network Show That Criticizes Obama?
Last night I watched the premiere of V, the remake of the 1980s miniseries about alien "visitors" whose friendly facade masks sinister motives. In terms of quality and entertainment value it's so-so. Not great, but there are plenty of worse things on TV, and I intend to keep watching it for now.
But there's something really interesting about it: The aliens are clearly a metaphor for President Obama.
During a time of financial, political, and military strife, the aliens arrive, bringing a message of hope. Many people see them as saviors; few stop to question their motives or consider that they may not be the same as the image they present.
Expressions of doubt or criticism are seen by many as offensive. The aliens enlist the help of energetic young people to build support and root out any skeptics. The media is told that they're not allowed to ask any uncomfortable question or anything that would present the aliens in a negative light... and the media agrees to that.
The aliens even -- and I swear I am not making this up -- offer universal health care.
Of course by the end of the pilot, it's clear that the aliens do have an ulterior motive and are planning something horrible. Members of the resistance discuss what the true motivations might be; and the episode concludes with the hero pointing out that the aliens are trying to develop their most powerful weapon: Devotion.
Over the past decade, we've had to endure countless Hollywood villains who were thinly veiled (or not veiled at all) proxies for George W. Bush, and/or cartoonishly "eeeeevil" caricatures of Republicans and conservatives. It's nice finally to see some similar criticism of Obama in a mainstream, big-budget, network TV show.
Perhaps this is a sign that the veneer of the Obamessiah has finally cracked, and criticizing or doubting the President is no longer seen as taboo.
Hatched by Movie Badger on this day, November 4, 2009, at the time of 11:27 AM
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The following hissed in response by: Captain Ned
Hmm, a recycled copy of a show that basically took the Twilight Zone classic "To Serve Man" and made it into a series actually might have some chops? I might have to watch this.
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Word has it that ABC sacked the producer for the show being "too political". Expect V to be toned down considerably in the coming weeks.
Which is funny. I watched the premiere, and for the most part it seemed entirely apolitical. Evil beings have ulterior motives, mouth lies, and recruit the gullible to do their dirty work. Oldest story in the book, first used as a plot device in the book of genesis. Hell, it was the same story as the old series. It was no coincidence they were snakes under the skin.
Obama- just like those aliens on V, only he doesn't eat people. He makes them eat each other.
The following hissed in response by: Movie Badger
Geoman: I doubt the producer was changed for being too political. I think that's a case of a couple conservative blogs engaging in rampant speculation and then all quoting each other.
The producer was replaced, but there are countless reasons that are far more likely than ABC wanting to protect Obama. The most obvious being that the pilot had pretty weak characterization, and that they wanted someone with experience building strong characters and sustaining a sense of intrigue over many years. They brought in a veteran of The Shield and Chuck, two excellent shows that have managed to do this, so I don't see that as a bad sign.
I read a particularly silly blog post at Big Hollywood hypothesizing that now V would become pro-Obama. But given the track record of The Shield and Chuck, I don't see that as likely. The Shield had a negative view of all politicians, and included as a character a corrupt Democrat City Councilman who certainly wasn't a good guy. And Chuck works very hard to avoid politics and be a show that's fun for everyone.
I'd agree that episodes written after they changed show-runners are probably less likely to contain digs at Obama. I know nothing about the new show-runner's politics, but given that he's in Hollywood the odds are against him being a conservative. But I don't think this is the reason they changed show-runners, and at worst the show will end being politically neutral.
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