V Takes on Obamamania

“Embracing change is never easy,” Anna coos at one point. Where have we heard that before?

V blends slick special effects with a few meaty meta-jokes, a wink and a nudge to audiences weaned on genre fare.

“This is like Independence Day,” one teen jokes when he sees the aliens hovering above in their impressive spacecraft.

The joke stings in part because by now we’ve seen many of the story elements trotted out before. The aliens infiltrate humanity as in Battlestar Galactica, and the initial scenes of the alien invasion smacks of the War of the Worlds remake.

But the series will likely be discussed for its political allegories.

Jonathan Chait at the New Republic couldn’t stand to see a television series daring to mock anything but the GOP. He whines:

This is not just a right-wing worldview but the worldview of the paranoid Tea Party movement. ... It’s grating that a potentially interesting concept was hijacked by right-wing political paranoia.

At least the New Republic dared to address the issue up close. You’d have to watch V with the sound off not to notice the Obama comparisons, but the Hollywood Reporter did just that with their review, a qualified rave nonetheless.

The “O” word also goes unmentioned in the New York Times review, which does fairly point out some of the show’s flaws.

The original series drew parallels to the rise of Nazi Germany, using clumsy special effects and bad ’80's hair to flesh out the narrative. The new, mostly improved V takes on a much more current target. But can it keep up the pressure?

The first episode proved a ratings winner, but it remains to be seen if the political targets will still be in play in the weeks to come.

The series’ show runners already got the axe, and the new blood could push the show in fresh directions. Given ABC’s lack of support for The Goode Family, the recently canceled series which mocked liberal do-gooders, it wouldn’t be a surprise if V transforms back into a toothless science fiction romp before long.