The Politics of Alien Invasion

neorandomizer's picture


When science fiction wants to be taken seriously its practitioners talk about how sci fi is metaphor for what ever the writer is trying to portray to the reader or watcher in the case of TV. Aliens are minority groups; zombies are chaos or death, etc. The same is true for the alien invasion story since its first famous rendering in H.G. Wells’s ‘War of the Worlds’ to the current ‘V’ TV series this has been true.

In the ‘War of the Worlds’ Wells wanted to show his fellow Englishmen what it was like to have a technologically superior nation colonize a third world country. He wanted to show the horror of British Imperialism to the people that were doing it to India and Africa.

By the 1950’s with stories like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ the writer was voicing the then fear of infiltration by an enemy. In the ‘War of the Worlds’ movie and films like ‘Invasion of the Flying Saucers’ the fear was out right attack. The cold war was in its first phases and this was the fear in most Americans minds.

With the ‘V’ mini-series in the mid 80’s the theme had become a fascist take over of the United States. The show was so ham fisted in this metaphor that a co worker of mine that I never thought of as sharp told me that the show was a rip off of ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’. The aliens of ‘V’ had become metaphor of infiltration and bloodless invasion with the USA playing the part of Austria from the 1930’s. There were many jabs at the then Reagan administration making the show a political statement.

Now we have the new ‘V’ TV series and somehow the producers the writers and the network seem to have been blind to the whole science fiction as metaphor thing. They have kept the infiltration and bloodless invasion plot and modernized the politics. The people that are making this show seem somehow not to have realized that a show like this with this story line was a political statement against the party that is in power. The writer also had the bad luck that one of the plot points they took from the original would be the hot political subject of contention.

This not understanding of what sci fi really is has caused heartburn at the network. They have stopped production and by all accounts are trying to rewrite the show. It was a mystery why they did this until the first episode aired last night. With the obvious left leaning at ABC the network must have choked when they saw this episode.

I really do not think this show will last into next year as planned with the midterm elections next November no amount of rewriting can change what an alien invasion story is really saying.