The TV Column: Executives Sound Coy About New Series's Political Edge
PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 9
Almost as if Lou Dobbs had taken over the network, ABC plans to debut a series in the fall about aliens who come to Earth promising "hope," "change" and universal health care, but who actually want to infiltrate our government and our businesses and, to that end, have rallied the country's youth behind their nefarious campaign.
Morena Baccarin plays the good-looking, seductively charismatic leader of the so-called Visitors, one remarkably knowledgeable about human culture and media manipulation.
The series is called "V" and it's a re-envisioning of an old miniseries of same name.
Baccarin acknowledged she had modeled her alien character after politicians, saying: "I am trying my best [in the role] to be as trustworthy as I can be and to embody what everybody of every nationality and need wants to see. At the same time, you have your own agenda."
Oh, and "V" is debuting on Nov. 3 -- the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a.k.a. the one-year anniversary of Barack Obama being elected the 44th president of the United States, which will be front and center on all the cable news networks, the broadcast TV networks' newscasts, the front pages of newspapers, magazine covers and pretty much otherwise on everybody's mind.
This was not lost on some of the TV critics attending Summer TV Press Tour 2009, especially those who knew the original "V" was seen as a political allegory. In that case, it was widely perceived as a thinly veiled portrait of fascism.
"Some of the words in the pilot associated with the Visitors' agenda are 'hope' and 'change' and 'universal health care,' " one critic noted. "So, was that intentional, or are you just freakishly prescient?"
"Freakishly prescient," replied executive producer Scott Peters, though not blithely -- not with any real zippiness. Many in the room did not seem to buy it, except maybe "V" heroine Elizabeth Mitchell, who responded, "Wow!" as if it was the first she was hearing about this.
The critic wanted more.
"We are not looking to put any sort of agenda onto the table but," Peters said, spinning madly, "you know, I wake up in the morning and you look at the news and you see there's wars; there's new diseases being discovered; there's old diseases that we are still dealing with. The economy is in the toilet; there are people losing their homes. Wouldn't it be awesome if 29 ships showed up and they all said, 'We've got this. We'll take care of you. Don't worry about it'?