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TV Series Review

They call themselves Visitors. And they say they come in peace. But there are those who are skeptical of the intentions of these human-like aliens whose spaceships hover over our cities like storm clouds that won't go away.

"Visitors are old friends who drop by for a drink," says FBI agent Erica Evans. And these are not those. So what do they want—really? What are they after? Do they really come in peace? Or are they perhaps here for … dinner?

Just as in NBC's original 1983 miniseries and the episodic drama that followed in 1984, ABC's Visitors also hide lizard looks and foul intentions. But it's just a matter of time before humanity—real humanity—learns the truth. And it's a truth that fans are informed of by way of gory glimpses of the Visitors' true form—often through gaping flesh wounds. This program pegs the ewww-o-meter every episode.

V does appear to have higher goals in mind than just turning our stomachs, though. Parenting issues come up as Erica is forced to grapple with her relationship with her son. The series also probes the questions wrapped around devotion and demagoguery. And that last bit has caused some critics to say it's pointing political fingers:

"This is not just a right-wing worldview but the worldview of the paranoid Tea Party movement," writes Jonathan Chait for The New Republic. "I'm really not sure how this made it onto network television. Maybe the calculation is that Glenn Beck will start urging his viewers to watch and a ratings bonanza will ensue."

Glenn Garvin of the Chicago Tribune adds, "Nominally a rousing sci-fi space opera about alien invaders bent on the conquest (and digestion) of all humanity, it's also a barbed commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the president's supporters and delight his detractors."

More interesting than that, though, is what the show posits as the difference between us and them: the soul. The Visitors supposedly have nothing like it—they have to do with a diet of something called bliss instead—and they'll stop at nothing to bring the human soul to heel. The human resistance network, known as the Fifth Column, seems to realize the gravity of this. And episode by episode, our human protagonists lean more and more on the concepts of faith and hope.

That's noteworthy because V is one of the few shows on television that overtly uses spirituality as a pivotal theme. While some greet the Visitors as saviors, Father Jack—an important member of the Fifth Column—believes they're prophets of the falsest kind, veritable antichrists in deceptively pleasing form. To him, the fact that the Visitors showed up when they did isn't providence, it's manipulation.

But for families, all that may be moot. Because just like the Visitors have shown up to obliterate all that humans hold dear, so V has arrived to flagellate us with violence, blood and gore—even extreme scenes of murder and torture.

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Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans; Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols; Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry; Morena Baccarin as Anna; Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie Holt; Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans; Scott Wolf as Chad Decker






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