Archive - Jan 4, 2011

The Final Battle Against Compelling TV

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Memo to the people behind "V": WELCOME BACK, DUMBASSES.

When historians write the annals of American entertainment of the new millennium, it'll all be about Lindsay Lohan. We can't stop that. Some things are just inevitable. But if they were doing their fucking jobs, they'd be writing about twenty straight years of the entertainment industry fucking up unfuckuppable premises. You hear that, future historians? I'm calling you out. Stop eventually doing shoddy imaginary work!

It all started with Reign of Fire. Remember Reign of Fire? Dragons Vs. Helicopters. Dragons should fight helicopters. Dragons should fight helicopters ALL THE TIME. But Reign of Fire sucked. A year later. Underworld. Vampires Vs. Werewolves. Like dragons and helicopters, natural enemies that should fight constantly. And not over teenage girls. Also sucked.

Remaking V in the Age of Irony is a can't-miss premise. V! Alien space lizard Nazis who eat mice and want our water! Fighting the unstoppable team of Mark Singer and Mark Singer's hair! And then they forgot about the Nazi analogy and just made a bunch of shows about lizard babies and red dust and shit like that. And they played it totally straight, because in the 80s, self-awareness was itself a weird embryonic lizard baby. It's why we all fell for "Morning In America".

Unfortunately, in addition to being the Age of Irony, this is also the age of Self-Important Po-Faced Bullshit. And since Battlestar Fucking Galactica, of all things, made a ton of money and became a critical darling for turning Space Disco Mormons into a bunch of sullen, disheveled space alcoholics, the V remake took the worst possible route, and tried to get us to take the remake seriously.

So the hero isn't a studly dude with poofy hair and a kickin' jacket. It's a single mom with a surly teenage son who just wants to get him some alien pooncloaca*. There are terrorism analogies! Another guy is a priest! People argued over whether the premiere was a commentary on the ascension of Barack Obama, for fuck's sake.

I have a dirty little secret to all the nerds in TV land working on science fiction shows. You know how everyone says science fiction is supposed to Say Important Things about the world we live in today? How it's not just lasers and aliens and is really social commentary? Yeah. A lot of that were lies SF nerds told themselves to stay respectable. And when it wasn't a lie, it was either blatantly obvious shit, or, when it was good, the result of people with more talent than you have.

V should revel in the glory of the awfulness of its source material. No scenery should remain unchewed, not even the vast swathe of cheap, unconvincing virtual scenery. Do not try to make "the critically acclaimed ABC series, 'V'". You will fail. You did fail. You didn't fail enough to get cancelled, which boggles my mind and makes me weep for the future, but you still failed.

So V is coming back tonight. I won't be watching, because the odds they've learned their lesson are slim to none. Oh, sure, they've stunt-cast Jane Badler, the original series' lizard queen, as the mother of the remake's lizard queen, but that's not proper self-awareness. That's bare-bones acknowledgment that there used to be a show called V and it had actors in it, too.

It's too late for V. But if you know the assholes who are working on the Manimal remake, and I know there's gotta be a Manimal remake being worked on somewhere by assholes, give them this message from me. A dude who turns into animals to fight crime? That's a can't-miss premise. Unless you make him an angsty guy who's constantly worrying about getting back with his wife, who left him because all that turning into panthers bullshit was taking too much time away from their son. And make it an analogy for the Tea Party. Then it'll suck, and not in the proper way Manimal should suck, either.

*Yes, I agonized over whether it should be "pooncloaca" or "cloacatang" for MINUTES.