Wednesday, May 26, 2010

V sign

I've given up on V after eight episodes. I was pleasantly surprised by the first couple, but the problem is that, in my opinion, modern TV shows can get away with cardboard characters if they've got an exciting, intriguing and continuously developing storyline, and they can get away with storylines which advance at a glacial pace if they've got even one or two interesting characters. In V we have a storyline which goes nowhere, and characters which also never seem to evolve beyond the caricature level (the Fighting Priest, the FBI agent cloned from Sarah Connor, the whiny teenager searching for his identity, the V with a heart of gold...). But worse, it's not even entertainingly bad-- I've been known to watch terrible series just to laugh at them (e.g. Torchwood up till "Children of Earth"), but even attempts to watch V through with snarky commentary (e.g. drowning out anything Father Jack says with overdubs of "Drink! Girls! Feck!") just fall flat.

Also, it lacks the courage of its convictions. I know some people were upset at the way the first couple of episodes seemed to shamelessly court the Tea Party demographic (the evil aliens are here to conquer you with... health care! And clean energy solutions!), but actually I had high hopes for this, as at worst this could have led to entertaining hysterical paranoia and at best might actually make some social and political points (like They Live did between bouts of crypto-antisemitism) providing insight into the sort of people who hold these views. But they have been relentlessly timid ever since; American politicians have been firmly out of the picture, so we haven't had any images of Congressmen or Senators coming down either for or against the Visitors depending on where they stand on those issues; there was a brief subplot about the UN secretary-general last episode, but that was completely perfunctory. Nor have we had any of the characters discuss the pros and cons of, for instance, V-provided health clinics (I thought briefly that we might, when we met Father Jack's pro-V fellow priest, but no), and the writing team seem to have been dialing back the Anna/Obama parallels, so that she now comes across more as a watered-down version of antichrist Nicolae Carpathia from the Left Behind novels.

So in my opinion, another case of please all and you please none. It doesn't ring true as a series, but also, it doesn't ring false in an entertaining way.