06 November 2009

Icke! Icke baby! (to go)

Ah, the endless and fetid regurgitation of once-cherished childhood memories by the military-industrial-entertainment complex continues apace in a form so artificial and manufactured that it is destined to circle the great gyre of the cultural seas for all eternity drawn ever inward until it finally lies suspended in the Pacific Trash Vortex of humanity's soul (located somewhere near Hollywood).

As a hungry and inquisitive ten year-old, ever looking to the stars and wondering what more lay out there, with an imagination fertilized by stolen volumes of Heinlein, Asimov and EE 'Doc' Smith purloined from my father's bookshelves, few moments of television can compete with those two May nights in 1983 when I somehow convinced my parents to let me stay up and watch "V". It had spaceships, alien lizardmen eating hamsters, cool uniforms and lots of ominous warnings about the abuse of power and the dangers of rigidly obeying authority, all music to the ears of a hyperactive ten year-old.

Watching repeats of it twenty+ years later exposes all of its many-evident weaknesses, the acting is wooden, the writing is appalling and time has not been kind to the special effects, and don't even think of mentioning the big hair. But none of that dulls the warm and happy memories that nestle in the cockles of my heart, it remains forever frozen in amber untouched and unsullied, a perfectly preserved moment of childhood joy and wonder.

Until last night.

If the Pirate Bay has been good for anything, it has been reducing the time between the US and International screening of shows. US networks have been encouraged to allow international markets to broadcast new shows almost immediately after they air domestically, and international networks now snatch up broadcast-rights on the basis of unaired pilots for fear of loosing their audience to file-sharing. No longer is there the three-to-six month lag that made it almost impossible to watch anything without being exposed to the inevitable spoliers. Thus two nights after airing on ABC our own TV3 showed the first episode of the 'reimagined" series of "V", even before any UK network.

Whereas the old series was a dumbed-down allegory of the rise of Fascism, the new series is a dumbed-down allegory of the rise of Obamaism. But wait, says middle America, what's the difference?

A charismatic leader with a big toothy grin arrives to spread a message of hope and change, reaches out to the French and the Arabs and speaks to them in their own language (and without preconditions) with a message of universal peace, the media falls in love with them and gives them an easy ride, they use the internet to spread their message to an easily swayed and disillusioned youth, they champion technology as the cure for all society's ills, the nation's law enforcement stops worrying about the threat of terrorism now that the leader is here to save them, and finally, horror of horrors, the leader offers to save the world through the roll-out of (wait for it) Universal Health Care (dum-dum-dummmmmm!). Oh, and did I mention the leader is really a humanoid lizard intent on using their death panels to eat your children?

Yup, my cherished childhood tale has been transformed into the bastard love-child of David Icke and and Glenn Beck. Tea-parties, birthers and the evil machinations of the Duke of Edinburgh have all been poured into a giant cauldron of banality and from it a ladle of trite and hackneyed "Real America" chowder has been emptied scornfully over the wistful food of my youth.


I seriously doubt that the writers and producers have actually conceived of this show as a Republican vehicle, but what tires me is the lazy writing "ripped from the headlines" and the pandering to an unthinking lowest-common denominator audience, who will absorb it with an anaerobic ferocity and then on numerous You-Tube threads excrete a misspelled "Make's you think, though?" comment.

In retrospect what made the original "V" so memorable was, quite simply, that I was a ten year-old, and that's why the writing, plot and acting appealed to me. Twenty-six years later and the writing, plot and acting of the remake still seem to be aimed at an audience of ten year-olds. This is what frustrates me about US mass-market television, why does everything have to be so simple that a child could understand it, is the target audience really that emotionally and intellectually stunted? Can a viewer only engage with simplistic and formulaic black and white scenarios? Is complexity taboo, reeking as it does of liberal elitism? Why must spectacle triumph over substance every time?

It probably won't stop me from watching the rest of the series though, but I will do so under protest, and with a sneer of congratulatory superiority on my face as I root for the lizard people, and all their godless Windsor-Mountbatten-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Bilderberg allies as they try to impose a one-world government and single Amero currency through swine-flu vaccinations and climate-change legislation on a tireless and redoubtable group of freedom-loving libertarian resistance fighters armed with nothing but their faith in Jesus and their Second Amendment rights.


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At 11:18 am, Blogger Aidan said...

Yeah but the original score was freaking awesome.


At 11:06 am, Blogger Unkie Dave said...

yes, it is indeed feaking awesome.

At 12:43 am, Blogger Aidan said...

Amanda has bee getting angry about this us about this she's made me rewatch the original mini series, seriously the score is awesome a massive orchestra with a choir.


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