A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this remake of the same-named 1980s miniseries centers on the arrival of a group of alien Visitors who claim to have only the best of intentions but actually have a hidden agenda. As their real goals become clear, a resistance movement starts fighting back -- so you can expect some fighting (sometimes intense, with small explosives, knives, etc.), as well as minor swearing and some suggestions of human-alien romance. Various forms of torture are also implied. Several main characters are placed in situations where they must make tough choices -- to stand up for what's right or to abandon their principles and sell out the human race for personal gain.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a fleet of massive spaceships suddenly appears over Earth, mankind is terrified. Where have they come from? What do they want? What kind of creatures are inside? But all of these concerns are dispelled when they see the aliens’ leader, Anna (Morena Baccarin), who looks like a beautiful woman, speaks perfect English (and many other languages), and reassures the planet that her people have come in peace. The Visitors, as they like to be called, simply want to befriend us and promise to share all kinds of advanced technology and medicine. Most of the world welcomes the Visitors with open arms. But a handful of people have doubts about the Visitors' intentions, including FBI agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch), who are recruited by an anti-Visitor terrorist group that's determined to expose the aliens’ true intentions.
Is it any good?
V is a departure from the typical alien-invasion yarn because these invaders don’t rush in with blasters blazing; their plan -- to gain the planet’s trust and then slowly assume power -- is much more insidious. There’s plenty of fighting when the guerrillas take on Visitor guards, but the more interesting part of the show is watching how people react to the Visitors. Ambitious journalist Chad Decker (Scott Wolf), for example, is offered the chance to become the Visitors’ primary news conduit, a position certain to boost his career if he’s willing to abandon his principles. As Anna watches him squirm, it’s clear that the Visitors know exactly how to manipulate the people of Earth.
Still, it's sometimes hard to believe that so many people can be so easily misled, and that only a small handful of resistance fighters are aware that that the Visitors' intentions are anything but benign. Not only is Erica defying the aliens, she also must stand up to the government that seems only too willing to embrace the Visitors and ignore the potential threat. As a result, the show often plays much like many other actions programs that pit a small team of rebels against a larger force -- the fight scenes can be dramatic but not especially original. Where V stands out is in the more personal dramas, when it creates thoughtful moral conflicts. Watching people struggle with choices that could be good for them as individuals but terrible for the world shows the best, and worst, of humanity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about principles. Would you help the Visitors if it led to wealth and personal power? Or would you fight back, even if resisting had a high cost? What do you think of the characters' decisions in these situations?
Why do so many aliens on TV shows and movies look like humans? What do you think of the show’s explanation for this seemingly impossible biological coincidence?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sci-fi
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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