A remake of the original series, airing on ABC. Massive spaceships appear over many of the major cities of Earth, and simultaneously broadcasted images of "Anna", the leader of the Visitors. She claims that her own species is 'delighted' to find another intelligent species and want to trade their own technology for water and a "common mineral".Mankind is eager to embrace the help offered by the "Vs", especially their clean energy and universal health care. A handful, however, are aware that the Vs are not as benevolent as they claim, and that lurking under their beauty is an ugly intention.Erica Evans is an FBI agent who is tracking multiple terrorist cells. Upon the arrival of the Vs, she notices that one cell's activity suddenly spikes, and her investigation leads her to a man who claims the Vs are here not as friends, but as conquerors. Through this meeting and the events that follow, she meets both Jack Landry, a Catholic priest who is questioning the effects of the Vs, and Ryan, a member of the half-legendary Fifth Column.Stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans and has Morena Baccarin as Anna, in a role equivalent to Diana's in the original.ABC cancelled it after the second season.
This series provides examples of:
Absurdly Youthful Mother: There's the obvious Erica, but in "A Bright New Day" it's revealed that Anna is Lisa's mother. How that works isn't clear, but it helps that their real age doesn't have to be the same as they appear.
Abusive Parents: Anna as of "Hearts & Minds". She backhands Lisa then has her legs broken to make it look like she was attacked by Fifth Column members, thereby invoking a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on both Tyler and the entire human race.
Accidental Murder: Poor Joe who got caught in the middle of the fight between The Fifth Column and forces of law.
Apparently, Tyler's DNA is half missing. In fairness, the first thing someone says about this is "how can he live like that?" and the answer is "I have no idea." So at least they're aware of the absurdity.
The DNA of Vs has become 1000 times more complex over the span of 50 years. The scientist claims that that surge in complexity should have taken 5000 years. Based on what? He doesn't know enough about V evolution to deduce that pattern from their history and if he's basing it off life on Earth then he's just plain wrong. Anatomically Modern Humans have been around for about 200,000 years, that means our genes have not changed much since then. If Vs separated by 50 years have that much difference in their genetic complexity, not only would they no longer be the same species, they probably wouldn't even be in the same biological kingdom. Somewhat justified by the V's evolution being artifical and designed to take genes from other species to improve their own duriablity, resistance to disease, etc.
The Fifth Column plans to tamper with the DNA of live-aboards-to-be so that their genes mess up the whole V DNA reserve.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Visitors realise far too late that they have severely underestimated humanity. Granted, the majority are accepting their false claims as genuine, but it only takes half a dozen humans on the war-path to completely screw up the Visitor's plans.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Visitors employ what amounts to a floating sphere that shoots spikes out in a 360-degree radius. Problem is, it only does so on a horizontal plane, meaning the important characters only have to duck to avoid it. Wouldn't it be better if it just exploded? It doesn't help that its so-called "surveillance" function lacks the photographic resolution of a cheap cell phone. This is especially strange since we later see that they have floating bombs that are closer to what you'd expect. The only semi-logical conclusion is that the spike-sphere was made of ice, designed to melt away untraceabley afterwards. It makes...some sense.
Bad Ass Preacher: Father Jack was an army priest in the Iraq war, and one of the reasons he's joined the resistance is to protect his congregation.
Batman Gambit: As we've seen in "Siege", Anna sets up the bomb in the "hostage" situation, and has Joe killed in the crossfire so Tyler has a reason to return to her.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Decker comments at his first meeting with the Visitors that they are all what humans would consider attractive; he asks if there are any ugly Vs. Anna makes the charming "You're not so bad yourself" rejoinder, which means the Visitors could very well be Genre Savvy enough to know humans react positively to that which they find attractive. And that they would not react well to finding out that Visitors are reptiles underneath.
Bee People: Played believably, but not quite straight: The Vs are bred for different jobs, but they are all still intelligent. So far we've seen the queens (Anna and presumably Lisa), workers, trackers, soldiers, and possibly doctors, although they may just be workers.
Belief Makes You Stupid: "Heretic's Fork" makes mention of a potential "Church of the Vs". When Erica rightly points out that Anna is not a god, Tyler's counter is that the Vs haven't done anything bad. Unfortunately, Erica does not point out that this has nothing to do with the original argument. Comes up later when Jack speaks out against the Vs at his church, calling them false prophets since people are worshiping them instead of God.
Bratty Teenage Son: Just how self-absorbed is Tyler? He blamed Erica for his dad's death because he thought she wasn't doing her job properly even after he thought she was a hostage and he saw that she was visibly hurting. Some people would call Erica abusive for hitting him, but she was really doing what the audience was thinking. To be fair, he eventually seems to come to his senses, but Anna has figured out how to Bliss humans by then and slams the door on that.
While it's been slowly building since "Hearts and Minds", Lisa now qualifies as of "Laid Bare". Anna ordered her to kill a test subject, and later that night she broke into tears in Erica's arms. And now Lisa was forced to watch her double have sex with Tyler and then see the fake Lisa kill Tyler
As of "Siege", Erica, with her ex dead and her son leaving her for the V also qualifies.
Conspicuous CG: You just know that the mothership is a green-screen backdrop... somehow. Inside the ship, most of the time, nobody and nothing casts shadows. The glimpses of the Vs beneath their human skins haven't been terribly impressive either.
Anna. Daughter and future Queen of the V's starting to turn against her? Keep one egg in stasis so she can try again. Tyler isn't working out exactly as necessary? Have 28 other candidates prepared for possible breeding.
Then there's Project Aries. Their base is specifically stated to be built deep enough below ground to survive the impact of the New York mothership both crashing and exploding if it was ever hypothetically shot down somehow.
Dawson Casting: Tyler and Lisa. May be justified with Lisa, in that she is a V and supposed to have an Uncanny Valley look, but it is pretty obvious that Tyler's actor is about 20, especially in shots where Tyler is standing with Anna.
An almost literal example happens when Anna picks a guy to help make her army. After the deed is done, the eggs need nourishment.
And again when Fake Lisa has sex with and subsequently kills Tyler.
Defrosting Ice Queen: The reason Vs rebel against Anna in the first place. Their race shows very little in the way of emotion, apparently being fed happiness by Anna's "Bliss." Any V that discovers emotion becomes immune to Bliss, and almost inevitably rebels.
Determinator: Georgie. His ability to resist Cold-Blooded Torture is all based around his utter rage and hatred of the aliens, and his ability to not break comes as a surprise to the aliens' torture experts.
An article was written by the Chicago Tribune comparing humanity's initial support of the aliens to Obamamania, particularly given they phrase the help they offer humans to "a message of Hope" and they are offering universal health care to Earth's citizens. Others say that its simply a coincidence, and the series is simply pressing the political hot buttons of the week.
The episode Laid Bare had the extreme misfortune to air 10 days after the Tucson shooting that led to the deaths of six people and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being hospitalized. There was considerable media buzz following the shooting and many accused right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin of encouraging violent behavior through rhetoric. Keeping this in mind, Laid Bare has a scene involving a fake relative of a victim of an anti-V suicide bomb blaming protagonist Jack's rhetoric for the bombing. Of course, this episode aired so soon after the tragedy that it was obviously completed before it occurred, making this a case of extremely bad timing.
In "Devil in a blue dress" Anna is giving Bliss to Tyler while looking like she is having sex with him. That happy smile on his face afterward doesn't help either.
Downer Ending: In season 2. Lisa is locked away in a dungeon, while her impersonator kills Tyler. Diana is dead, after failing to retake her place as queen. Ryan was murdered by his own daughter. Hobbes has vanished. Chad is exposed and caught by Anna. Jack, along with the rest of the world, has been brainwashed by Amy and Anna's Bliss. Damn.
Dramatic Irony: The FBI investigation concerning Erica's involvement in the Fifth Column ended due to the setting up Erica as a fake hostage, a situation that ended with Joe's death. The investigation ended because of the supposed hostage situation, but as soon as the investigation ended Erica took Eli's sword and became the sole leader of the Fifth Column.
Dying Like Animals: Given the premise of the show, it's no surprise there will be a few of these.
Evolutionary Levels: Apparently, the Visitors are here to steal the best of the human race's DNA, so they can "speed up their evolution". The characters stop using particular phraseology rather fast though; when they do things make more sense.
Now that Joshua appears to have Laser-Guided Amnesia, he doesn't seem to qualify anymore. Lisa, as of the season one finale, now qualifies.
Follow the Leader: Arguable, the BSG parallels are noticeable, but it's more the concept of the reboot (an old Sci-Fi series reworked for greater political relevance and additional religious themes) than the core pitch of the shows themselves.
For the Evulz: Getting a DNA sample doesn't usually entail screaming, but the Visitors don't care enough to give their victims any anthestitic before injecting them with dozens of needles.
Gory Discretion Shot: In Season 2's opener "Red Rain", Anna uses her tail to slash open one of her lackies' disguises. There is much splattering of blood but it's done off camera. However, the impaling afterward is onscreen.
If Jesus Then Aliens: Reversed, in that people become more religious after the Visitors arrive. Also, possibly Subverted in that Father Landry is the least credulous when it comes to the Visitors' intentions.
Invincible Villain: Even called attention to by Erica. No matter what the Fifth Column does, Anna always comes out on top. Either through Diabolus ex Machina or just good PR, every supposed win they've had is thrown right back in their faces. Manages to go Up to Eleven in the season 2 finale. The Fifth Column decides to take out Anna. Result? Anna uses Bliss on pretty much all of humanity; the Fifth Column is basically defeated; Diana, Tyler, and Ryan are dead; and the queen egg hatches to replace Lisa. Coming back from that should be impressive.
Kick the Dog: If you still had any doubts that Anna is capital-E EVIL instead of just wanting what's best for her species, then forcing Lisa to watch as Lisa's sister has sex with Tyler and then kills him certainly removes them.
Kill 'em All: Very nearly. Ryan is dead, Tyler is dead, Hobbes is missing, and Chad's cover has been blown...
Made of Iron: Anything short of complete immolation doesn't appear to be fatal to Vs, as seen with both Dale and now Joshua.
Mama Bear: God help us if someone threatens Anna's unhatched children.
Then subverted in the season 2 premiere: Anna was disgusted with herself for feeling maternal towards her children that survived the explosion, so she turned their life support systems off. She tries to hold her tears as she walks away.
Erica's entire group in "Hearts & Minds", and Jack in particular. He subtly warns Decker of a potential attack on a V shuttle, Decker in turn warns Anna, and she makes Erica's group look like monsters by filling the shuttle with humans. Moreover, it results in the formation of a taskforce to hunt the Fifth Column down, with a V spy as one of the members, though they catch a break when Erica is put in charge.
Also in "Devil in a Blue Dress". Their attempt to sabotage the Blue Energy reactor ends in the Vs making it look as if they restored power after a human failure, getting them even more public approval. Admittedly, the alternative would have been destroying an entire city.
No OSHA Compliance: Though they're aliens, the Vs are guilty of this in the construction of their Concordia reactors. When one reactor is made to go unstable through the addition of a second batch of unstable blue energy, the reactor has to be shut down manually. Mind you, there's enough there to wipe out a city.
The episode "Laid Bare" has both sides of the war doing similarly questionable acts in order to accomplish their goals. These acts are the protagonists torturing and subsequent killing of Malik for information and Anna having Lisa kill a test subject to "extract a human soul."
Mentioned in "Mother's Day" by both Erica and Lisa.
Not So Stoic: Anna as of the season one finale, after discovering that the majority of her eggs were destroyed.
Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Sid is an expert or atleast knowledgable at whatever scientific stuff Erica's group needs him to do. He started out as a biology expert and in "Devil in a Blue Dress", he has a good understanding of how the Visitors' blue energy works.
Only Sane Man: The Secretary General in "We Can't Win" counts. While most higher-ups appear to be dropping trousers and bending over, he's more suspicious of the Vs' agenda. Of course being an experienced politician means that he doesn't need to know that they're lizards to suspect that something is up.
Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Episode 3: Erica comes home and Tyler greets her half-naked. Justifiably suspicious, Erica opens his bedroom door and Lisa is there, and she's stripped down to her underwear since we last saw her.
Playing Gertrude: The actress who plays Anna is five years older than the one playing her daughter, Lisa.
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: The V's age Ryan's daughter as a test to perfect the technology for use on a new Queen Egg. Somewhat subverted in that she's still very much a child, as opposed to an adolescent who'd be a new character.
Postponed Question: In "We Can't Win", Anna's number 2 asks her near the end of the episode why they were giving humans blue energy. Also counts as Viewers Are Morons, because there's no way we could have figured out ourselves why an invading hostile-masquerading-as-friendly culture would possibly want to make us dependent on them for our energy needs.
John May turned against the V and started the Fifth Column because he discovered that human emotions are "beautiful" and got married to a human woman with a son. Ryan also discovered this at John May's funeral, leading to his Heel-Face Turn.
Lisa is going this way for Tyler, up to and including being immune to her mom's Bliss treatments.
Unfortunately for the Fifth Column, Anna is also aware of The Power of Love and manages to manipulate Ryan into a Face-Heel Turn back to her side in the season finale. It doesn't stick, but she made the most of it.
Pow Zap Wham Cam: When Tyler goes to the Visitors' ship at the end of the pilot.
Product Placement: Have you bought an iPhone yet? Because V would really like you to buy an iPhone.
Pun: A V supporter's sign reads "Give Vs a Chance".
The Quisling: Zigzagged with Decker. He's willing to toe the line for the Visitors on-camera, but once he's off the set, his journalistic integrity kicks in, and he decides to investigate them. Yet even with the apparent knowledge that they are up to something, he's still being more helpful than his standard work ethic would dictate. Once he sees what the Visitor's are really up to he permamently throws his lot in with The Resistance as The Mole, using his reputation as this trope to stay in Anna's confidence. It does almost get him killed by other members of The Resistance who weren't aware of his status.
Rapid Aging: Anna does this with Ryan's hybrid child, who in a matter of weeks (or at most months) appears as a 7 year old child.
Red Sky, Take Warning: Subverted. Anna pumped some sort of gas or dust into atmosphere causing the sky to turn red. This scared the crap out of people, but didn't seem to have any negative effect. Of course, Vs being Vs, it probably does have some horrible use that will become apparent when Anna is actually supposed to do it (she jumped the gun in a moment of rage).
Ryan hugs Valerie when she tells him she's pregnant. Ryan fakes happy to her face, but during the hug looks rather distressed because Valerie doesn't know Ryan is both a V and a member of the resistance.
Another happens with Anna, where she hugs her recently-abused daughter as if concerned, but smiles because she's the one who did the abusing as part of a ploy.
Revenge Before Reason: Anna jumps to the paint the sky red part of her plan when her eggs are destroyed, despite the fact that they weren't ready to implement it yet.
Rule of Symbolism: The Jesus icon falling in the earthquake, symbolizing the decline of religion. Lisa holding the apple and smiling at the boys, symbolizing Eve and/or the Serpent. Cutest Lilith ever!
Sexy Discretion Shot: In the Season 2 premiere episode "Red Rain", Lisa and Tyler make out on the bed and embracing each other in her room on Anna's ship while Anna herself watches both of them and then switches off the monitor.
Space Whale Aesop: Apparently, universal health care will lead to lizard aliens killing us all. Or alternately, the world's inability to guarantee health care to all citizens makes Earth more vulnerable to takeover by lizard aliens. Remember: the aliens had been sowing dissent, war, and other problems on Earth for decades, so it's possible that they had prevented humans (or at least America) from creating universal health care so that they could step in, steal their thunder, and present themselves as the saviors of humanity.
Sugary Malice: Anna. So sweet and innocent. And of course she is of peace, always. Even when she incites civil unrest, has people tortured to death and generally plots the destruction of mankind. Especially when she does those things.
Take Up My Sword: Eli Cohn makes Erica the new leader of the Fifth Column in Siege.
Too Dumb to Live: Tyler, to the core. Chad Decker seems like this at times, but he's smart enough to see that Anna isn't on the level about her intentions without forcing the issue in a way that would get him killed. To some extent, most of the good guys get into this territory at one point or another...if not a lot more often.
Trailers Always Lie: The next-episode previews will occasionally show a particularly shocking scene completely out of context, but when the actual episode airs, the scene in question was just a nightmare. Usually involves Erica dreaming about something terrible happening to Tyler.
Translation Convention: Implied with the Visitors whenever they're alone. It sounds like English to us, but we never see humans listening in, and at one point, Ryan mentions that one of the reasons a human couldn't infiltrate a ship: "What happens when they start speaking in our native language?"
Traitor Shot: Every single scene featuring Anna ends with this. It's been long since established that she's the villain, but just in case anyone forgot...
Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Joshua gets one after being shot by Erica in season one finale. Leads to a Face-Heel Turn. However towards the end of season 2 he gets his memory back and in fact protected Lisa from being discovered by Anna's goons
Turn the Other Fist: Tyler Evans turns away from some anti-Visitor protesters before swinging around to punch one in the face in order to impress Visitor Lisa.
Uncanny Valley: In a lot of shots, the Visitors are digitally airbrushed to remove their skin of imperfections. The effects, however, make them look too good to be true—like they're all made of plastic—which is exactly whatis intended.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: There are hints of this between Kyle and Erica. He's thrown a couple of flirtatious comments her way, though so far she only seems to take them in stride rather than reciprocate.
Second season ups the tension and finally resolves it in "Uneasy Lies the Head".
There's also a lot of Erica/Jack, and they apparently filmed a few US Tier scenes that were later cut.
Erica can be shipped with everyone and everything.
"Siege". Eli and Joe die, and it's all because of Kyle! Tyler decides to go live on the V ship! Erica is now officially in control of the entire Fifth Column!
"Mother's Day". Diana? Dead. Ryan? Dead. Tyler? Dead. Chad? Caught. Lisa? Imprisoned like Diana was. Humanity? Blissed. Hope Spot? Erica is recruited into Project Aries, which is a cabal dedicated to preserving humanity from the Vs. Series canceled? Oh, hell yes!
Anna had Lisa injured and blamed the Fifth Column for the attack in order to manipulate Tyler and keep him close.
Erica and Eli also invoke this trope when Erica has Eli slap her so she could appear as a hostage and convince her suspicious FBI colleagues that she's not Fifth Column.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Played with. Anna implies that this is Tyler's ultimate fate, once whatever undefined task that they require him for is completed. Thus, Lisa is trying to preempt it by getting Tyler out of the picture first. It is, Not-Lisa mates with him and then rips out his throat with her teeth.
You Owe Me: After saving Lisa's life by altering her empathy test results, Joshua tells her that he will ask her to do something someday to repay the favor and that she will comply.
You Keep Using That Word: A Fifth Column is a group within a larger group who sides with an outside group against their own group's interests. In the original series the phrase was rightfully used to describe the Visitors who helped the human resistance fight their leaders. In this series, however, it's used to refer to anyone (human or Visitor) who is fighting against the Visitors. It is possibly a case of The Artifact for the human resistance, who more-or-less adopt the name for themselves after the Visitors begin a PR blitz to discredit the human resistance and the actual Visitor Fifth Columnist in one broad stroke by conflating together. The problem is that the majority of the humans don't know that there are Visitors within the Fifth Column.