Screenshot: I'm rooting for the aliens

Because V is only four episodes in, I am not sure whether sci-fi tinted TV will be giving or taking away. I am cautiously optimistic, and here's why: Anna, the leader of the extra-terrestrials.

Anna is the leader of the alien envoy, and what is striking about how that leadership is conveyed is its utter matter-of-factness. There is absolutely nothing in the aliens' comportment or behavior to suggest that having a chick in charge is something of a novelty. Anna wears her authority and power over others unobtrusively, but doesn't hesitate to exert it -- and she seems to delight in making these little displays around humans.

I'd give V credit for making the aliens seem more alien by their subtle lack of gender politics, but I don't think that's the real intent. Anna (Morena Baccarin) is obviously cast as the exact opposite number of homo sapiens freedom fighter Erica Evans. Where Erica is a frazzled blonde, a distracted mother whose relationship with her son is fraught with misunderstanding on both sides, and systematically discounted as the voice of expertise on anything ... Anna is a sleek gamine brunette, her daughter serenely complies with Anna's every aim, and her authority is absolute. We could be looking at the 21st-century update to the infamous Alexis/Krystle catfight on Dynasty.

Like I said, it's too early to tell in which way V will veer. But if you'd like to see what I'm talking about, check it all four episodes on Hulu. The series returns in March 2010.

by Lisa Schmeiser
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4 Comments Have Been Posted

I watched the pilot of V and

I watched the pilot of V and didn't really like it, but I love so many people in the cast, including Morena Baccarin, and she played, from what I saw, Anna <I>perfectly</I>, and it made me really sad I didn't like the rest of the show at all enough for her performance to be enough. But I loved Morena since she was on Firefly years ago and I met her once and it was basically the most epic moment of my life. She's so talented.

Do we know whether the aliens have separate/multiple sexes?

Since we haven't yet seen Anna without her human skin/costume she could just as easily be male or hermaphroditic, yes? (If the aliens can clone human skin, surely they can create sex organs!)

Even if Anna is a she, I think her choice of human costume is just as - if not more so - important as her "real" gender. Since the aliens are performing for a global audience, a safer choice for a leader would be male; perhaps a male of several and/or ambiguous racial/ethnic groups. Why would the aliens choose a female to represent them on planet earth, when female leaders aren't universally accepted amongst humans?

(It's kind of a rhetorical question; no doubt the producers cast Morena Baccarin because it makes for good tv and helps to draw in woman viewers, logic be damned. Also: CATFIGHT!)

I think they kinda hinted at that in one of the episodes...

You're right we don't know what sex V's are under their skin suits, but regardless, I'm pretty positive Anna's persona/gender is a highly calculated maneuver like everything else they do. In one episode, when preparing for a visit with an ambassador from an Asian country, she chooses a kimono, saying something along the lines that it connotes submissiveness and a desire to please. Her second-in-command dude asks if that's the right message to be sending to the humans what with their plan on world domination and all, and she replies that you really just don't understand humans at all.

Which of course made me giddy that a show was actually hitting (however probably by accident) on some feminist theory, i.e. the effects of female gendering in political discourse. Anna comes across as very feminine (note she is always in heels and a skirt for the Americans, and other feminine attire for other countries). Her speech and mannerism are all very typical of feminine humanity, the perfect thing to persuade human (read: male led) politics into beleive they truly are "of peace, always".

Interesting point!

<i>Her speech and mannerism are all very typical of feminine humanity, the perfect thing to persuade human (read: male led) politics into beleive they truly are "of peace, always".</i>

Initially, I thought Anna's gender might be an impediment in certain human cultures, but this is an interesting observation - perhaps her gender was (at least in part) chosen to convince humans that the aliens are harmless.

Has anyone seen the original <i>V</i>? Are the characters/roles consistent across the two versions? (A quick look at imdb shows that there are some top-billed females, but the characters' names, at least, have been changed.)

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