V Franchise


Introduction

V is a science fiction TV franchise created by American producer and director Kenneth Johnson concerning aliens known as “The Visitors” trying to take over Earth. It ran as a miniseries in 1983 and 1984, and a weekly TV series from 1984 to 1985. A remake/reimagining aired from 2009 to 2011.

Outline

“V” stands for “Victory.” This is the emblem/sign that gets spray-painted over posters of the alien race that have come to Earth and is used as a sign of rebellion for those who stand against the aliens. Reptilian in form, the aliens disguise themselves as humans in order to put them off their guard. They claim that they are in need of a chemical substance on their planet and ask for our help to produce it. In return, they offer to teach us about their advancements in science and technology. Little to the humans’ knowledge, the reptilians are in fact stealing our water and cryogenically freezing humans to transport back to their planet as food. The (original) series centres on the efforts of a journalist named Michael Donovan and a group of rebel fighters, who try to save the planet by fighting against the aliens.

Background

V is a science fiction franchise created by Kenneth Johnson in the 1980s with his original landmark miniseries starring Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Jane Badler, Peter Nelson, Frank Ashmore, Richard Herd, Michael Wright, Robert Englund, Andrew Prine and Richard Lawson. It was followed by a sequel miniseries as well as an ongoing series, and spawned several novels, comic books and other memorabilia.

The concept was revived in 2009 when a re-imagined series aired. This was followed by an ongoing series starring Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Charles Mesure, Logan Huffman, Lourdes Benedicto, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin and Scott Wolf. The revival was cancelled in May 2011 after two seasons and 22 episodes.

Trivia

  • The series was intended as a literal retelling of the Nazi takeover of various countries, and the resistance movement against them.
    • However, because of the popularity of the “Star Wars” saga and other science fiction hits, as well as the belief among network executives that US citizens would not believe a fascist takeover, the network executives had the producers change it to a science fiction miniseries.
    • Other ideas were also discussed, but discarded.
  • On the night of 30 October 1982, Dominique Dunne, who had been signed to play the role of Robin Maxwell, was at her West Hollywood home with co-star David Packer.
    • The two were going over lines for the next day’s filming when Dunne’s estranged ex-boyfriend, Ma Maison sous chef John Sweeny, arrived unexpectedly in an effort to reconcile.
    • Dunne had ended the relationship due to Sweeney’s physical and emotional abuse.
    • Shortly after Dunne stepped outside to talk to Sweeny, they began to argue and Sweeny strangled Dunne.
    • Dunne would die of her injuries five days later, on 04 November.
    • Blair Tefkin was cast to replace Dunne as Robin, and all of the scenes that had been shot with the late actress were re-filmed.
    • According to the DVD commentary, however, Dunne is still visible from the back in one group scene that occurs as the Visitors arrive on Earth.
  • The Visitors’ symbol is actually a modified swastika.
  • In a massive media campaign before the “V (1984)” series aired, posters with the line “The Visitors Are Our Friends” appeared in subways around the United States – just as they did in the first part of the miniseries.
    • Several days before V: Liberation Day (1984) aired, each poster was spray-painted with a bright red “V” exactly as was done in the show.
  • The laser effects cost one thousand dollars each.
    • The high cost was due to the lengthy post-production work of manually adding optical effects to the film.
  • Due to the high cost of the laser visual effects, it was decided that human resistance fighters would use regular rifles and pistols.
    • This was explained away in the script as due to high security on the alien armouries.
  • It is hinted that the Visitors are engaged in a war with another alien species, but this idea is never developed further.
    • In 2008, V creator Kenneth Johnson published the novel V: The Second Generation which takes place 25 years after the original miniseries (though ignores the events depicted in V: The Final Battle and V: The Series, neither of which Johnson was involved with).
    • In the novel, the Visitors’ enemy are a race called the Zedti, who ultimately come to Earth at humanity’s request but turn out to be even worse than the Visitors are.
  • Much of the non-original music for the filming of V was a combination of motifs from Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and, more notably, motifs from the fourth movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
  • This was NBC’s highest-rated programme in two years.
    • It had a 40% share of the national audience, and finished in second place for the week.
  • The company the resistance members steal medical equipment from is called Stamos Pharmaceuticals.
    • Writer, Producer, and Director Kenneth Johnson named it after John Stamos, on whom his daughter had a crush.
  • The vast majority of the shots of the mothership are matte paintings.
    • A model was used for a few scenes where the mothership is in motion.
  • The Leader’s name is never revealed.
  • Although V and the three-part sequel V: The Final Battle were screened a year apart in the US, in the UK both miniseries were screened as one over five nights in summer 1984.
    • ITV screened them as counter-programming against the BBC’s live coverage of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
  • The octagonal storage containers contain a device, with what appears to be rotating red lasers inside a long glass tube, both of which are seen on the Visitors’ mother ship, later made regular appearances as set dressing and props on “Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)” and other series.
  • According to the New York Times, the miniseries reportedly cost $13 million to make.
  • The end of the first series was left deliberately open-ended with many unresolved plot threats dangling.
    • This was all in the hopes that a cliff-hanger ending would generate interest in either a tv series or a second mini-series; and the producers in fact got both!

V Series

  • V: The original 1983 two-part television miniseries.
  • V: The Final Battle, a 1984 three-part sequel miniseries.
  • V: a 1984-1985 TV series.
  • V: a 2009 reimagining of the 1983 TV miniseries.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date:
    • V: The Original Series: 01 May 1983 to 02 May 1983.
    • V: The Final Battle: 06 May 1984 to 08 May 1984.
    • V: 26 October 1984 to 22 March 1985.
    • V Series 01: 03 November 2009 to 18 March 2010.
    • V Series 02: 04 January 2011 to 15 March 2011.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Running Time: variable.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.