I watched it. I liked it, but didn’t quite love it. Some random thoughts and asides in no particular order:
1. I think they rushed it a little too much. They could have spent a little more time playing out the drama, political and emotional, of an alien visit. Having most of the main characters figure out this is a sinister alien invasion and discovering the secret identities of the visitors-in-our-midst in the first episode was a really profligate waste of dramatic material.
2. I really hope they don’t lose the scientists-as-Jews plotline from the original series. I thought that was a great part of the original miniseries.
3. If I were 17 and the super-hot alien blonde wanted me to put on a German gay disco doorman’s jacket, I would have done so.
4. Scott Wolf is just hard to take seriously when he’s not crying over Jennifer Love Hewitt in Party of Five. Maybe he’ll improve, but I fear he may have a Mickey Rooney problem in that he won’t be able to play a non-teenager until he’s 60.
5. Alan Tudyk is awesome because he’s awesome. But he’ll be under-used and killed in no time. Because that’s just how he rolls.
6. Big hair is out, short hair is in.
7. Having rewatched some of the original series on SyFy yesterday (what is up with the spelling change anyway?), I have to say the show looks a lot better — a lot better — than the original. Technology has advanced quite a bit since the 1980s, but fake TV technology has been revolutionized.
8. Oh, all right: The politics: I simultaneously loved the “universal health care” line and thought it was a bit hamfisted. I do like that it all bothers Jonathan Chait so much, but I think they could have been a bit more subtle. However, it’s worth recalling that the visitors in the original series promised to cure diseases as well.
I think Chait goes overboard too when he says the show is a loveletter to the Tea Party movement. If liberals were less insecure about the political climate, they might even argue that much of the stuff about the dangers of “devotion” and promises of miraculous cures amounted to an indirect shot at faith-healing evangelicals.
It’s also worth noting that the show is still an allegory for fascism, albeit a loosey-goosey one (hardly anything new in sci-fi). The obsession with youth, the promise of a new age, the seduction of power, the aesthetics of physical beauty and uniformed order, and yes, the promise of universal health care etc etc: This all fits perfectly well into fascist wheelhouse.
Ultimately, I liked it. I will keep watching it. But I really, really, hope it doesn’t fall back on high-priced action sequences and sex. That’s not to say I would be happy if they cut out the high-priced-action sequences and sex, but I’d like more than just that.