anghara (anghara) wrote,


It's funny, going back to something that you've read or seen a long time ago, or what seems a long time ago - the 80s seem like a different world today, don't they? - but with the new V coming up on SyFy (GOD I hate that - I hate even typing it) they were showing the old series for everyone to get up to speed with and so we sat down to watch the original V.

Unbelievably, rdeck had never seen it. I had, in that distant world of the 80s, when it first came out - but my memory of it was sketchy, at best.

Oh, BOY.

It was... not very good, was it.

Oh, there were moments. I remember the gerbil-eating scene quite clearly, and yes it was still delightfully icky to watch. I remembered poor language challenged Willie, and I still liked him. But I also remembered other things - like the fact that I thought that Robin Maxwell was a stupid spoiled brat that FIRST time I met her, and alas time has done nothing to dull that edge that scraped me along the nerves back then. Whiny little drama queen. How much does she need to have shown to her to realise that HER FAMILY WAS HIDING FOR THEIR LIVES, that other people had put their own lives for the sake of that family, but nooooooo, the Princess was bored with being stuck in the pool house, so she sneaks out and goes off into the main house (how the hell does she get in anyway?) where she KNOWS there is an informer who is in the Visitors' back pocket, and then actually blithely rejects said informer's advances when he makes them, ostensibly blind to his obvious infatuation with her. There are consequences, for everyone - the family is smuggled out of the city (someone put a piece of duct tape over the baby's mouth, ferchrissakes, or else feed her a doctored fruit juice laced with valium or whiskey so that she sleeps through the escape and doesn't give everyone away to anyone who's listening because the piled foliage in the back of the Mexican gardener's truck is whimpering pathetically all the way through the town - and anyway, what's with the checkpoint guards, who don't even LOOK at that pile of foliage? They were obviously supposed to be Nazis - and the Nazis knew better - they would have bayonetted that pile if not upended it on the ground to check it. The damned driver insisted he was going out of town to a good restaurant, so what was he doing taking an entire garden's worth of clippings with him...?) and they eventually join the heroic Resistance... which gets a base in an "Abandoned" building to which everyone originally has to scramble down an embankment to get to, just so as to show off the pretty young leader's difficulties with a cane (and why is her hair always so damned perfect?) only for us to realise, a couple of scenes later, that Princess Robin is once again feeling claustrophobic so she *walks out of the abandoned house without anyone seeing her or stopping her or even asking where she is going* and trots down this grassy slope and lo she is suddenly out on the street where she falls foul IMMEDIATELY of a lingering patrol of V stromtroopers who apparently don't bother checking out where she had just come from (or even asking her) but whisk her off to the mother ship where she paces her cell (happy NOW, idiot girl?) and smears her mascara artfully as she sobs about the iniquities of her life.

Meanwhile, her daddy down below realises, like, HOURS later (little madam left in daylight, it is now dark) that she is missing, so *HE* goes off without telling anyone and apparently clarivoyantly down the same damned slope and falls foul of yet another - or the self-same - patrol of V stormtroopers. Of whom he demands pathetically, "Where is my daughter? What have you done with her?"

Um. They tell him she's a prisoner who will be TORTURED if daddy doesn't help out... with the location of a super-secret rebel camp in the hills. Daddy folds like a pack of cards after they promise him that they will attack the camp at 4 o'clock, giving everyone a chance to leave there first. Daddy believes them and then spends the next couple of scenes looking so damned guilty that if I had been anywhere near him I would have twigged something was wrong, even given that HIS IDIOT DAUGHTER WAS MISSING. Daddy has an attack of conscience during a raid by the resistance on a V armoury - why is it that bad guys in SF movies can never shoot straight? - and declares that he must "warn" the camp (what, they had NO communication with the place? None? AT ALL?) and leaps into an open jeep and drives through the crossfire along a perfectly good if unpaved mountain road leading straight to the super secret camp - and is overflown by the V armada of shuttles whereupon he beats his hands on the steering wheel and whines, in a very good imitation of his daughter, "But it isn't 4 o'clock yet! You lied! You LIED TO ME!" (but the questions that rather beg to be asked are 1. why on earth the V crowd needed his pathetic help to find a camp TO WHICH IT IS POSSIBLE TO DRIVE UP TO IN A VEHICLE, implying that there is a road, and that other vehicles have been using it, sort of - and the thing is just sitting there out in the open anyway, houses and huts and all, and would have been perfectly obvious to anyone possessing satellite or even aerial imaging devices (and don't tell me that the V people don't); 2. WHY was all the sensitive equipment of the resistance stored up there in the first place, only for it to have to be taken back down again under difficult circumstances; 3. why the hell the bad guys can't shoot - they should have obliterated that little doddle of a camp with two well-placed missiles, instead of strafing the damned place with the equivalent of light-sabre machine guns; 4. why the hell the V armada went away without finishing the job when one - ONE! - of their shuttles as stolen and piloted by Macho Man Hero turns up and burns a hole in one of the attacking shuttles' butt. It's a pathetic battle, and one that could not - should not - have been won by the rebels. But wait there's more - there's emotional drama as Daddy Dearest finds Mommy Dearest on the point of expiring, which she then does, pitifully, leaving him with the girls - including Idiot Child Princess who had been rescued by Macho Man Hero from the mother ship by means left unelucidated (after he discovers great hangars full of the nearly-dead humans who have been "vanishing" from the planet, hung up like dried jerky, and yes, Virginia, SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE...

And of course Idiot Child Princess is now carrying the lizard prince's unborn baby...

Oh, my word.

It's all so unbelievable, and poorly plotted, and the suspension of disbelief is damned difficult when you're trying to suspend a concrete brick by a thread of spider silk. For the 80s, I suppose it was as good as they could have got it - but it's just sad when you outgrow the things you once loved, and I have outgrown this, oh, have I outgrown this. Since the original V aired I've read astonishing books and seen far better movies and TV series - and I've learned a few things about world building myself and count among my friends people who are thoroughly wonderful and masterful at their own world building - I've learned to appreciate the good stuff, and more than that, to expect it.

I'll watch the new V when it lands on the small screen. But I sure hope they learned a few things since the last go-round. If they start throwing the same stupid unbelievable stuff at me in the new series, it won't survive the first episode. Life's too short.

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