Today’s cuppa: office coffee

ABC’s remake of “V” hit big in the ratings when it premiered last Tuesday (a new episode airs tonight) and also stirred upV_Morena_Baccarin_Visa.jpg a bit of controversy, with some claiming it’s a veiled (or not so veiled, depending whom you ask) criticism of the current administration, and others claiming it’s just a show about disguised aliens coming to Earth and promising hope, change and universal healthcare in exchange for unquestioning devotion.

As you can see from my poll on the subject, opinion is mixed.

And for two opposing views of of the actual or perceived intent behind the story, click here and here …and for my original feature story plus extra comments from the producers, click here.

Whatever you think the show is really about, one thing’s for sure — it’s really a TV show, and it got really good ratings, which is really good news for star Morena Baccarin, who plays Anna, the beguiling alien leader.

Here are the highlights of a brief chat we had after the “V” premiere:

Q: What did you think when you realized “V” was a hit?

A: Wow, holy sh-t. I think it’s great. It’s a little bit surprising, but at the same time not, because people are really excited about it, and we are very excited about it.

Q: To what do you attribute the success?

A: The show being great. It’s a story that people are fascinated by — the alien invasion thing, the idea that there’s something out there besides us. I think that the writers and everybody have done such a great job of embodying that, the fear and vulnerability, matching it to the sensibilities of today.

Q: You did generate controversy, which doesn’t seem right now to be a negative.

A: You mean with the Obama stuff? It’s really funny. We’re not necessarily saying those things, but it’s OK if people want to talk about it. It’s par for the course when you put something out there.

Q: After all, haven’t people always have theories about what TV shows are really saying or what’s really going on in the world?

A: Of course. Isn’t there an actual group of underground people who believe there are lizards among us?

(As it turns out, Baccarin is right about that. Click here.)

Q: In the original, the aliens were seeking to eat our small furry animals — and also us. Is that the agenda this time around?

A: You know, I wish I could answer that question, but they haven’t told me, if you can believe it. I don’t know a hundred percent why we’re here, but you’ll get to find out when you see episodes a little bit more. They answer the question a little bit more. We still want to keep that mystery going, but it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

It’s a little more complicated than the original. I don’t think we’re just saying, “We’re coming down here; we’re going to eat you and take over the Earth.” There’s a lot more to it than that.

V_Morena_Baccarin_Visa2.jpgQ: The show has undergone several changes behind the scenes, making some new fans nervous about prospects for the future. From your point of view, do the next three episodes — which finish out the four that have been produced at this point — hold up to the premiere?

A:  They do, absolutely. I don’t know, again, the politics of all of that, but the changes have been made in order to maintain the work that we’ve been doing, so I have confidence in that. People don’t need to worry about that. Just watch the show. It’s great.

Q: I hear you go back to work on the show in Vancouver, Canada, in January. Is that true?

A: I think we go back, Jan. 20, around then, and then we’ll shoot a block of nine episodes. I’m not sure what the plan is on how we’re going to air them (HCTV: click here for the last official word on that), but we’ll be waiting a little bit. We only have four done, and a little suspense is good. That’s the plan.

Q: What more have you — or will we — learn about Anna?

A: Anna is a very complicated character, so with every episode we get, we see a little side of her. I’m trying to think of things I can actually say. It’s hard. I find it so difficult to do interviews, because I can’t tell everybody what we’re doing. You get to see more qualities and more emotions and more of her dealing with day-to-day stuff. There are some interesting plot and character turns there.

Q: Since we know that the Visitors are really reptilians under the skin, are you working on finding your inner lizard?

A: Definitely finding my inner lizard and moving on from there. I’m shying away from playing a lizard or playing an alien. That would be a trap to fall into, especially if she were robotic or different in that sense.

What I’m trying to do is be as human as possible, and when you try to do that, something happens, and it becomes a little odd, which is a quality that you can’t really target. They always tell you in acting class that if you want to play drunk, just try to play sober.

Q: The promos emphasize Anna’s rapid eye blinks. Is that your way of hinting at her reptilian reality?

A: (Laughs) I don’t know what you’re talking about