28 May 2009

Revenge of the sexy fascist lizards

Apparently the V series from 1985 is now being remade, with the benefit of a quarter-century's advancement in special effects; Stupid Evil Bastard has the scoop (and trailers). As best one can tell from what's onscreen, however, the basic concept will be very little changed from the original.

While certainly not hard SF, the original V worked pretty well as allegory, if a tad lurid (which is not always a bad thing), and its depiction of scientists as being demonized and persecuted like the Jews under fascism was actually rather timely given the looming anti-science crusades of the Christian Right. It may be, too, that the new show will be updated in interesting ways not evident from the trailer.

I wonder anew, though, at the prevalence of remakes and sequels when SF and fantasy have such a vast and deep reservoir of ideas available in their literature. Having read hundreds of novels and short stories in the genre, I know that the gulf between its literary and TV/movie incarnations is vast. When will the latter start to appreciate and exploit even a hundredth of the inspiration which is available from the former?

Look, I'm not asking for the impossible here. I'm not asking for Brian Lumley or William Barton. I know there are things TV or Hollywood simply wouldn't dare to do, not without watering down the curry into gruel. But is Larry Niven too much to hope for? Asimov? Will we ever even see a movie of I Am Legend which is actually like the book? Good adaptations do succeed -- recall Lord of the Rings. We just need more directors who are willing to take the chance.

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