Tuesday, November 03, 2009

TVOD: It's V Day (UPDATED with REVIEW 2330 EST)

UPDATE: Well, it's V day, finally. Don't hold me to this, but if I can finagle my son's laptop I may live-blog it. I know, I should have my own but I never leave the house. Looks like I'll be DVRing it, so scratch the liveblog. I'd rather soak it in and then fulminate anyhow.

Anyway- V. Yeah. It feels like we've seen the whole thing already, doesn't it? One thing that just struck me is how androgynous Morena Baccarin looks, something I wouldn't have thought possible. The whole thing seems a bit late too, since the big Alientertainment meme seems to be on the way out again.

UPDATE 2330 EST: So, what we have is a scenario where these beautiful New Age do-gooders come to Earth preaching enlightenment and universal brotherhood (as well as offering "universal healthcare", smack dab in the middle of the big brouhaha over Obamacare in the real world). Then we have these working class rebels who know the real story, that these are alien reptiles that have been living among us for years, slowly gaining power. But what they really want is to to destroy us. Luckily the plucky, tradtionalist Catholic priest will lead the valiant blue collar heroes to victory against those godless alien liberal terrorists (with their feminist Hispanic leader with her mannish hair-do) and their big fancy spaceships and parked in all those degenerate cities like New York and Paris.

Did Glenn Beck write this after staying up for a week chugging cough syrup and reading the complete works of David Icke? Honestly.

But I think I caught a whiff of something, subtext-wise, that might be lurking under the narrative here, that might have an interesting real life resonance. Did anyone else catch it? No, not Project BlueBeam or any of that...

Scott Wolf's least favorite description of himself is that he's the poor man's Tom Cruise. And here he is being used by the aliens to be their media frontman for their world takeover. The aliens with their welcome centers and their recruitment drives. I'm just waiting for them to offer personality tests. You with me?

V producer Scott Peters was co-creator of The 4400, which a lot of people thought incorporated themes from Scientology. But whether this was meant to be pro- or anti-Scientology was unclear. Personally, I think the parallels are a lot stronger in V (particularly the health care thing, the negative publicity riff and the V's going after critics), and more obviously negative. Certainly timely, given all of the negative publicity the CoS has been getting in the past couple of weeks. That just fascinates the hell out of me. Can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

There were little semiotic goodies, but the Independence Day shoutout coupled with the Morris Chestnut character getting an engagement ring for his sweetie couldn't help but remind me of Horus J. Hancock. Loved seeing the dreamy Vancouver lighting, two Firefly alumni and a 4400. As well as all of the beauty shots of the Empire State Building and the Stairway to Sirius.

But there's one big fat caveat here: I just sat down to watch Heroes tonight. I've missed it for the past few weeks, and realized I hadn't a clue what is going on. There's this disturbing trend in SFTV, where shows start out strong and then nosedive. Well, if there any TV execs reading this, let me suggest that the endless serial model has had its day. If you happen to miss one or two eps, you're lost (though I do plan on catching up with Heroes, certainly).

It shouldn't be a chore to follow a TV program, particularly when its based in escapist fantasy. The never-ending storyline is one of the things that killed comics back in the 90s, which is why the big publishers starting breaking the stories into smaller arcs. I'd very strongly recommend that to anyone in the TV biz, if they were ever desperate enough to ask me for advice.

In the meantime, I recommend you check out "UFOs as Vanguards of a Post-Biological Intelligence" by the late Mac Tonnies. Give it a read before V comes on- see what kind of juices start flowing with the two memestreams in open collision. Here's a taste:
The UFO/"alien" phenomenon described by Vallee, John Keel and even Whitley Strieber is alarmingly congruent with a "postbiological" hypothesis. We appear to be interacting with an exceptionally patient intelligence which, despite its advantages over terrestrial science, seems limited by a steadfast refusal to make itself widely known. (Whether this indicates a guiding morality or pragmatic necessity remains to be seen.) Contrary to mainstream expectations, our visitors have opted for a much more gradual form of contact, evidenced both by the often theatrical nature of the apparent vehicles in our skies and by the behavior of the presumed occupants (who seem to enjoy letting us assume they're predominantly human-like, governed by such familiar traits as curiosity and even sexuality).
I've been thinking along Tonnies' lines in a way, myself. Terrible shame we never got a chance to throw it down.

Reports circulating in the Kremlin today are saying that Russian Air Force Commanders have issued warnings to all of their aircraft to exercise “extreme caution” during flights “in and around” an area defined as Latitude 17 North [North Atlantic Ocean] Latitude 3 South [South Atlantic Ocean] to Latitude 8 North [Indian Ocean] Latitude 19 South [Indian Ocean] between the Longitudes of 46 West, 33 West, 46 East and 33 East, and which covers the greater part of the African Tectonic Plate.

The reason for this unprecedented warning, these reports state, are the rapid formations of “geomagnetic storms” emanating from the boundaries of the African Tectonic Plate that due to their intensity have caused the loss of two major passenger aircraft during the past month leaving nearly 300 men, women and children dead.


  1. Oh God, I regret so deeply not getting you two together. It crushes me.

    Both you and Mac have an important way of looking right past the tired ETH and peering into something altogether stranger.

    Both of you can look past the charade, and both of you - from a place of strong insight - are seeing a deeper and stranger truth, but you are articulating it as something totally different.

    The Fortien and the Mythologyst.

  2. That was a great quote from Tonnie. I do think a lot of work in this field could do with more thoughtfulness and pragmatism, less sensationalism.

    Looking forward to V, saw the first 8 minutes, the characters looked kind of stock, but as a spectacle it looked pretty cool.

  3. V for Victory


  4. It seems very 4400 ish, Especially since Joel Gretsch is in there. I hope they can maintain interest/quality episodes, heroes lost me second season.

  5. On Mac: As Whitley Strieber and Nick Redfern have picked up on, one of the ideas Mac came up with may be key to our understanding: do the entities formerly known as "aliens" have intelligence but not sentience?

    Justin: Not that unrelated, Robert Bigelow has been one of the driving forces behind space hotels and he is also interested in UFOs - funding the NIDS (which included Vallee in its roster) and now MUFON. His money allowed the NIDS to launch the Skinwalker Ranch investigation and they also monitored cattle mutilation and black triangle reports.

    CK: "Well, if there any TV execs reading this, let me suggest that the endless serial model has had its day." There is also an intrinsic problem with the commissioning/canceling of shows - they run a pilot or mini-series up the flag pole, if it gets saluted then they commission a series. From then it hovers on the brink of cancellation unless they are a big hit and get to spin it out. Which means they have to balance padding it out to milk the success, with having a ending in sight that you can parachute in when the axe looms. This results in some messy story structure (beginning, middle and end anyone?) which you can see with Lost and Heroes (suddenly getting more room to tell your story you start padding and making it more convoluted) and BSG (where the ending has left a few people wondering what the point was (see also my comments at that link for similar thoughts). When it works, like in Babylon 5, you realise the creator has a plan - I remember the quiet pop as my mind was blown by the realisation that what seemed like early standalone stories were part of the bigger story too. Still not something you can parachute into (I keep trying to talk a friend into watching it but you have to start at the beginning) but the story is a solid and satisfying one, not the messes we seem the current series seem to spiral into.

    As you say, same thing goes for comic books. I'd much rather see more limited series when people have an interesting and engaging story to tell (in a Kirby vein I still wonder about the commisioning of an ongoing Eternals series after the Gaiman reboot. It then gets cancelled because of low sales and is then radioactive for a few years. Surely a few mini-series would be better). However, the comic book industry machine does rely on churning these series out and (as with long running TV series) it does work for keeping readers/viewers locked in. Good story-telling can go hang.

  6. sorry, but today is link craziness. China says militarization of space inevitable, like we didn't already know that from reading the Secret Sun!


  7. V was rockin the 17 meme when the son of the FBI agent entered the visitors spaceship.

  8. Xcellent review Christopher !! tee hee "embracing change is never easy" yeah just ask those of us who voted for B Obama:-) o well -still better than Johnny "emcee" McCain I guess-if one is allowed only the two choices! I agree about the androgyny of the lead V creature-best to you as always Christopher-thanks again!!

  9. about the russians the original article is from 06/30 http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/7331/53/1/3/
    but today on yahoo(occultism) i found this related:

  10. A while back I read a book by Picknett, "The Stargate Conspiracy." What strikes me about many of these movies and television shows is how they seem to trade on variations of the "great Ennead" claim. The number 9 also figures in a great many of these story lines or movie titles. While the number 9 has not yet occured in the series, "V" seems to trade on a variation of the Stargate conspiracy. I also found it interesting that the ships use six-side panels to telecast their message. It was a six-sided panel that fell and hit chicken little in the cartoon by that name. Additionally, the first two commercial breaks for last night's premiere included spots for the 2012 movie and another aliens-visit earth cartoon. Further, "V" can also be read as the Roman numeral "5" as we approach Guy Fawkes Day. This also resonates with the movie "V for Vendetta" and reinforces certain archetypes and memes regarding revolutionary change, the law of fives, and government corruption. All in all, the pattern seems to be the following: the group mind is being primed for some sort of catalysmic event that will create a break with everything we've come to know. I believe the second or third episode of Flashforward was entitled, "There are no more good days." Speaking of Flashforward, at the end of the episode before last when the woman is shot at the end of the episode, a red, spool-like object is seen rolling around by her head. At the same time, it or someone says, "wake up, wake up." Did anyone else catch this? I immediately thought it was a tie-in to "Life on Mars" -- another subtle nod in the direction of the Stargate conspiracy -- Mars, Cydonia, etc.

  11. A few things jumped out at me.

    One, the blonde from Lost is still quite enchanting in my opinion, even if she's now a badass agent.

    Two, acting and dialogue were terrible.

    Three, plenty of blatant and screaming religious metaphors, such as the teenybopper love interest plucking an apple from the antigravity field and chomping on it. And the shattering Christ in the very beginning. Ooh, Shocking!

    Four, I thought the conversation between the Priests was interesting, as it discloses the Pope Ratzo's official position on aliens. But not sure why we only get the Catholic Church's opinion.

  12. I noticed that there was a significant focus on the concept of motherhood.

    In fact, the female lead and her son re-connect with one another right before the alien and humanity re-connect with each other. As if they're trying to creatively imply that the alien and human relationship is one of parent and child (in a Zecharia Sitchen sort of way).

    Even Alan Tudyk's character tells the lead woman to "go be a mom." And there was just a lot of mom, mom, mom-ness going on. :P I got the Zacharia Sitchen stuff on the brain I guess since I just finished reading the 12th planet. I also just finished Joseph Chilton Pearce's 1977 book "Magic Child" which deals a lot with the concept of matrices and how such things are crucial to a child's development... how the first matrix is the womb, and the second matrix is the mother-- who is for many years the literal center of the child's entire life and consciousness--and the third matrix is the earth. It seems that the fourth matrix would then naturally be the cosmos and/or anthropocosmos, and to help with that transition it would make sense to have a matrix/mom figure I guess. Anyway, I do think, after reading these two books and pondering their ramifications, that deeper integration into the wider cosmos (which will naturally include an awareness of "alien" cultures) is actually a kind of biological inevitability.

    It's also possible that alien's desire to gobble up or destroy mankind could be a metaphor. Like the tarot card of death which doesn't actually symbolize bodily death, but the end of a certain way of relating to the universe and each other, or the end of a paradigm, followed by entry into something a little dangerous (just like the first years out of the womb can be rather unsettling and are typically filled with odd little dangers). It will be interesting to see whether they draw on the Zecharia Sitchen stuff (that humans were created by alien "gods") or whether they stick with the idea of Morena Baccarin's character as a maliciously clever foster mother.

  13. Good V review - looks like I'll be tuning into this. No sign of a Sarah Palin-type freedom fighter yet?

    Interesting mention of Project BlueBeam (which I think came up in a BSG discussion here, as Mormon and sci-fi fans would be the core audience for this, as would Scientologists too, but then sci-fi fans were the core audience for Dianetics oriignally so no surprise there) - while it is unworkably complex and impossible to implement in the real world (which I think is this one, although some days I have my doubts ;) ), it would make a great plot to a film or TV series. Perhaps even this one, as remaking it seems unecessary unless you've got some clever twist and "they ain't aliens, its been the gubberment all along" seems like a great one to drop in here. ;)

  14. http://www.unknowncountry.com/

    William Henry and Whitley Strieber talk about V and The Fourth Kind.


    Look to the REVELATIONS tag in the upper right for free download.

    Also - Whitley was a 4400 fan!

  15. Hi Chris,

    Great post and V update but I was very disappointed with the V pilot.

    I especially went "aw shucks" with that "universal health care" line. I thought ABC (mainstream media) LIKED Obama!

    V hit the celeb gossip show "Inside Edition" with commentary from a Miami Herald movie reviewer who noted the Obama administration parallels to the tv series: Obama and Anna both handsome.charismatic and new to the scene...they both come out of nowhere and reach the top; they both promise peace and a new transparency; then there was the health care thing.

    I'm not thrilled with the series. Seems to me if the writers know that we "know" the story; they would have tried to be a bit more intriguing by offering something new. And what was up with a one hour pilot? I guess they had to get out of the way of "Dancing with the Stars"...which BTW had a V-shaped judges table.

    Very disappointing.

  16. V the original was about 'fascism', the Nazi's from up there taking over, without the occultism. Very risky during the hedonistic 80's.
    I tend to agree with everyone here that it was too safe. This is not JJ Abrams, or Battlestar Galactica rethink, but it is interesting that the V's have been here for a long time.
    Just hope it doesn't turn into Space Above and Beyond's -we are them. An early 'reptilian' race that left earth millions of years ago, or lost a war here. Beggars can't be choosers though for the 'lack' of a good scifi fix on tv these days. I did see some parallels to the Charlie Sheen Arrival film, especially in the ruthlessness of the V's. This tends to point toward the interspecies gothic s&m 'sex' scenes to come. Was it just me? Or do the 'seamless' special f/x spoil us these days?

  17. Hi Chris,

    V also made the political right Fox network show "O'Reilly Factor" tonight!

    They drew parallels with the Obama administration and Bill O'Reilly noted that Obama was elected one year ago today. He added that V "mocked" Obama and everyone noted the control of the media in V which is aka the media war between Fox and the White House

    Comedian Dennis Miller appearing on the show called Hose Speaker Pelosi "reptilian."

    A Fox commercial afterward noted that there will be a special program, a reunion of the U.S. hostages taken in Iran on November 4, 1979.

    Since when has politics and science fiction merged so in the real world? It was if V was planned to broadcast just for the political pundits!

    Thanks, Chris!

  18. All I can add is this- if Fox news is telling you one thing, the other thing is usually the truth. So keep a close eye on the series for interesting subtext. I'll be definitely watching to see if there are any more memes from 4400 showing up. I have this weird feeling this show has some surprises in store for us...

  19. "Did Glenn Beck write this after staying up for a week chugging cough syrup and reading the complete works of David Icke?"

    Beck with his chalkboard, Icke with his projector? I can see it.