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Why ABC’s remake of V ‘The Visitors’ lost me at hello

REVIEW: Well. I’m pretty much the target audience for any science fiction show, having been born and raised on SF films (my parents took me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama dome at age 6), and TV. I enjoyed the original “V” series with the mall hair, member’s only jackets, and moral heavy handed overtones of Visitors = nazis.

So, I was curious to see what a “re-imagining” of V might be like, since other such ventures have been hit or miss. Movie remakes of series have generally sucked (think Wild Wild West, which I loved as a kid), and it’s been rare that a remake exceeds the original work, as has been the case with Battlestar Galactica.

v the visitorsAs to the premiere of the new “V” last night? Frankly my dear, I was bored out of my mind. So many contrived elements which might have been acceptable in the “old days” of television (remember when they couldn’t show a bare bottom, or say “shit” on TV?), now seem not so quaint but just laughable. We know much more about biology, science, and the universe than we did when the original show was on.

Beyond the contrivance of the smart FBI chick’s kid just happening to become a convert of the V-meme, or the fact that it seems unlikely that lizard-people wearing bio suits would be able to live comfortably on Earth and maintain long-term relationships. Certainly, the idea of the “chameleon” comes into play, and that would have been far more interesting if the Visitors could change and shed their skin rather than wear the 1/2-inch thick rubber suits.

Is it really likely that a “visitor” (ne “invader”) would be able to pass all the x-ray, bio sniffer, and similar biometric systems in place after 9/11 in many public and other locales? Are they cold blooded? Would they show up as an empty spot on a heat sensitive security camera?

I find it unlikely that a race of horny (pun intended) lizard folk would be attracted naturally to us smooth-skinned types which goes against their general biology. I’ve never had a lizard come up and try to hump my leg, or sit on a rock in the desert and give me the googly eyes like these visitors do. And sexually compatible? Really?

I think we’ve seen so many end of the world, day the earth stood still, when worlds collide kind of films over the past sixty years that the general rule of anybody raised on pop culture would be suspect of ANYBODY showing up in a space ship. We can barely trust our neighbors, our spouses, our children, or even folks in different states of the USA. We make fun of the French for not joining in a massacre of innocents in other countries (“freedom fries”) but we’d accept a bunch of “too good to be true” aliens showing up in a bunch of space ships and not wanting anything.

And apparently TV anchors can now do their own stories without a news director overseeing the program. That didn’t work for Dan Rather, so why would this be allowed by the guy interviewing the Visitors on international TV now? Don’t buy it, sorry.

If we don’t trust our own government to run a health care plan (where’s Sarah Palin in this? if she thinks Obama is running death panels, what would she say about the visitors?), would we trust aliens who have been around for about a minute to offer a health care plan. Um, yeah, scan my DNA, you won’t sell it on the alien internet will you?

At least they got the obvious out of the way at the outset – best friend an alien, check. Tagging now means positive “V” viral marketing, check. Contrived family relationship to put mother and child at odds when the world is at stake. Aliens with misgivings about “what’s really going on” (but never bothered to tell anybody before the visitors came down in full force). Really?

Although “V” did well in the ratings, I ended up tuning out, and letting the DVR record it, and switched over to NCIS, which won the ratings that night. I watched the rest afterwards, but was still bored.

So what comes next? A whole season of watching clueless people discover everything the audience already knows? They want our resources, they like having sex with humans (might be more interesting on Showtime, but definitely not on ABC), the like to eat their mates. What is there to learn we don’t already know.

I’m not sure who the target audience is now, since it’s far less interesting than ABC’s FlashForward, not remotely as good as Battlestar Galactica, and not even as flippant and junk-food-enjoyable as Psych. Perhaps the Gen-Y who never saw the original, or perhaps people who will watch anything. Maybe it’s just me, but I expect more from my B-grade sci-fi than I used to.

They lost me at hello.

Article is Copr. © 2009 Christopher Simmons. Article originally appeared on