Noah Hawley's "Alien" Series for FX Is Already Making Enemies
Politics are invading science fiction for the first time ever.
Noah Hawley's rise is one of the best thing that's happened to TV in the last decade.
As a showrunner for FX, he has adapted the Cohen brothers 1996 classic Fargo and the Legion storyline from X-Men comics into critically acclaimed series. The shows demonstrate Hawley's range as a showrunner, with wildly different tones and storytelling approaches, and now FX is trusting him to stretch his talents even further, creating a new sci-fi horror series based on the Alien franchise.
It remains to be seen whether Hawley can work his magic touch with the world that Ridley Scott and James Cameron made classic in the '70s and '80s. Hawley's series won't start filming until next spring, but that hasn't stopped certain right-wing pundits from attacking him. Apparently, Hawley's big mistake was using the term "inequality" and making the shocking claim that it exists in modern society. How dare he!
Have they watched any of them?\nI am always befuddled by how right-wingers can just miss the point of the stories they love ENTIRELY. Starship Troopers is played straight in their heads, Star Trek had no politics, Aliens is just "monster go blam".https://twitter.com/TheHellCurve/status/1410952199207886852\u00a0\u2026— Chrisi Hates Apartheid States (@Chrisi Hates Apartheid States) 1625232650
The offending comments were taken from Hawley's conversation with Vanity Fair, wherein he noted that the original films "are great monster movies, but they're not just monster movies," adding that "they're about humanity trapped between our primordial, parasitic past and our artificial intelligence future — and they're both trying to kill us."
In 1979's Alien and the 1986 sequel, Aliens, the heroes' lives are threatened not just by the horror of xenomorphs, but by human and android representatives of amoral corporate greed. In pursuit of profit, distant companies treat their spacefaring crews as expendable — as means to convert mindless, biological killing machines into profit.
In case there was any ambiguity on this issue, Hawley points to a quote from Aliens, when Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley, is confronting Paul Reiser, who plays a mid-level corporate stooge sent to accompany space marines to their death: "I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage."
pic.twitter.com/U5iCcl9gZH— i bless the rains down in castamere (@i bless the rains down in castamere) 1625240801
In the new series — which will not feature Ripley — Hawley will be exploring this dynamic by breaking down the barrier between the people being sent to do the dirty work and the people sending them. With xenomorphs no longer contained to a spaceship or a prison colony, the consequences of greed are finally going to reach the perpetrators.
As Hawley puts it, "You will see what happens when the inequality we're struggling with now isn't resolved. If we as a society can't figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what's going to happen to us?"
While this might seem like a straightforward extrapolation of ideas that were already prominent within the Alien franchise, there seems to be some resistance to Hawley's effort to force ideas about "politics" and a sense of "class struggle" onto a film series about blue-collar workers being sent to their deaths by faceless business interests. According to the likes of Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin, the use of science fiction as commentary on current social conditions is a brand new and troubling phenomenon.
What happens is that Hollywood luminaries are paid millions of dollars to lecture us about income inequality.pic.twitter.com/3dZrGmhFrS— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro) 1625224033
Ben Shapiro apparently takes issue with the fact that Hawley is getting paid "millions" to "lecture" us about income inequality... Of course, Shapiro also gets paid millions to literally lecture his audience about income inequality, but that's fine because in Shapiro's case, the conclusion is "it's good, actually."
But when a rich person thinks that rampant income inequality is harmful and dangerous — hypocrisy! If Noah Hawley thinks income inequality is so bad, why doesn't he go live in abject poverty?!
It's not that Shapiro — whose own Hollywood ambitions failed miserably — is jealous of Hawley's success. Of course not! It's just that no one with anything critical to say about capitalism should ever be paid more than a tiny fraction of the profit their labor produces...
Dave Rubin, meanwhile, identifies Hawley's message as a product of the era of "wokeism" we're living through. You might have been under the impression that prominent philosophers have been analyzing the unstable class dynamics of our society since at least the 1840s. Wrong. It turns out that examinations of inequality are "wokeism," and therefore new and frivolous.
I\u2019ve been saying for years that Wokeism is a parasite that fully infects the host and then eventually bursts forth like in the movie Alien. \n\nThe circle is now complete\u2026pic.twitter.com/EVfWmOwzjX— Dave Rubin (@Dave Rubin) 1625197910
Ironically, Rubin has spent years using the image of the parasitic xenomorphs as a metaphor for how "wokeism" — with its attacks on notions like traditional gender roles — can take over and destroy its hosts... Never mind the fact that the facehugger-chestburster lifecycle has always represented a reversal of gendered tropes — intended to make that horror of sexual violence and violation palpable to a male audience — or that Ripley set the standard for strong, heroic female leads.
Forget all that. Focus on the fact that the Wokes have got ahold of Alien now, and they're forcing a bunch of damn politics where it doesn't belong!
With only a couple episodes written, and at least a year before any of us sees the final product, it's nice to see people writing off Hawley's new show for such cool and sensible reasons.