Now, in the V of the 1980s, the evil aliens were hellbent on turning humans into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Why humans particularly when the lizard people could also eat animals was never adequately explained, especially as animals presumably wouldn't have gotten so pissy about it.
But this is a brave new world, my friends, and evidently the ABC network didn't think lizard people chowing down on your neighbors was edgy enough. So now the evil aliens want to use humans as breeding stock. Women of Earth: guard your ovaries!
The newer version of the show has also unfortunately gone to the Jack Bauer School of interrogation techniques.
That's upsetting on its own, but now the show has waded into the deep end without the water wings because Anna the Evil Queen Dictator has decided that the thing that makes humans so feisty and annoyingly intractable is the soul.
Yep, the soul. Apparently the Visitor aliens don't have souls, so the way to conquer humanity is to remove ours.
Leaving aside the unintentional hilarity of the grotesque ways the aliens try to perform the souldectomies on their helpless human victims, this soul thing is a real letdown. It's not the concept of the soul that bothers me but the idea that, yet again, we humans have some super-special quality that no other being possesses in the entire universe. It just seems like so much self-glorifying vanity, this conviction that there is always some aspect of our species that is unique and precious and must never, ever be threatened.
The irony here is that we're only unique and precious to ourselves. After all, as far as we know we're the only creatures on this planet that can even think about ourselves in the abstract, let alone form opinions from it. And when you're dancing with yourself, of course you're going to be the most awesome date at the prom.
Shows like V just feed into this fantasy of our uniqueness, setting up villains who are superior in every way except for how they lack that certain something we don't. And that lack is of course why the humans always win. In The War of the Worlds, it was our connection to Earth that saved us. In Independance Day, it was our ingenuity (and that everyone in the galaxy uses Windows). In the orignal Stargate movie, it was our strength of will against powerful oppressors. When Jean-Luc Picard fought the Borg in the 1980s, it was the fierceness with which we cling to individuality. And in the new V series it's our soul.
Writing this, I was reminded of this line from the Desiderata poem my dad had for years up on his wall:
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.
And certainly no less than lizard-like aliens, but no more than them, either.
It would be nice if we could remember that, because one day the aliens will come, and chauvinists don't make good neighbors. Though they might make good eating.