Two Kinds of Chick Flicks, Sci Fi and V

Are you watching V?

Okay, so it’s not BSG or Firefly (although the cast list does include two of the Firefly alumni: Alan Tudyk in a brief lizardy role for three episodes in season one and Morena Baccarin in a lead role as the evil and awesome lizard queen Ana). But it is cheesy good fun for a Tuesday night. Not anywhere near as cheesy as the original series with Marc Singer, but it’ll do.

Did we expect more from this series? Possibly. After the big conversion of Battlestar Galactica from mini-caped starship jockeys and mechanical dogs to angst-filled warriors and sexy, humanoid Cylons on a dark, twisted religious quest I’m still hopeful that someday we’ll get another such welcome surprise.

Honestly though, I’m glad V stayed light and fluffy. It’s time for some fun sci fi again, Saturday matinee, don’t-take-it-so-seriously stuff. And really, lizard-like aliens in big spaceships with an evil plan—can you make that into a believable doom and gloom tragedy? Someone probably has. (As Craig Ferguson’s fond of saying: I look forward to your letters.) But, don’t you miss the tongue in cheek humor of SG1 and Stargate Altantis? There’s a potential in that for V, if the powers that be allow the writers to throw in more moments like the one last week when Father Jack commented on Hobbes’ need for closet space to accommodate his many black t-shirts. The hunky mercenary in tight black tees is just one of the many clichés that could be poked at for the fun of it.  Speaking of Hobbes, or rather Charles Mesure, the actor who plays him…

Another reason I like this incarnation of V is the same reason I liked watching the original: the hot guy factor. In the eighties, we had Marc Singer saving the day in tight jeans or undercover in a red jumpsuit. This time around we’ve got Mesure along with Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, and for awhile Oded Fehr (who, might I say, is aging very, very well). For me, more handsome guys means more reasons to while away an hour on a weeknight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a woman who loves to read science fiction, even the type that leans heavy on hard science to drive the plot. I also love high-tech suspense and detective stories with a cool, pared down style like Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. I’ve never understood why this surprises men. Good stories, good writing: what’s not to like? Once, when I was taking my lunch break in a mall food court and reading one of Asmiov’s books, a man actually stopped by my table just to tell me how amazing it was to see a female reading Asimov. Another time, I couldn’t convince my then boyfriend that I wanted to see The Hunt For Red October because I’d read the book and all rest of Tom Clancy’s novels. He kept thanking me for letting him pick the film for the night and assuring me that next time we’d go see something that I would like. Of course, aside from quality story telling, there was another factor that I enjoyed seeing Red October so much—not one to tell a date, though. A bonus in most sci fi, war films, cop shows and adventure films is the makeup of the cast: lots of hunky guys.

You see, there are two kinds of chick flicks. Let me clarify (especially for the powers that be in TV and films seeking to capture the female demographic): The first kind is the romantic, sentimental kind (Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and so on).  Then, there are the packed-with-action-and-hot guys kind (Backdraft, Terminator films, Star Trek 2009).  So, while I don’t know if the hot women actors in V are enough for male sci fi fans to keep tuning in, I can tell you there are lots of us chicks who tune in for the hot guys in the cast.

There is one chick factor the new V lacks: cute and/or nerdy guys. Granted Bret Harrison, from Reaper, has recently joined the cast as Dr. Sidney Miller, but we could use a few more cuties in the series. I used to watch Stargate Atlantis just as much for Paul McGillion and David Hewlett as for Joe Flanagan and Jason Momoa. And where are the innocent, nice-lizard guys? I long for a character like Willy, played by Robert Englund, in the original V mini-series.

Oh, yes. There is a big point in V’s favor that I haven’t mentioned: the strong female characters. But that’s a topic for another day.

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