V TV Series Overview (2009-2011)


Introduction

V is an American science fiction drama television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from 03 November 2009 to 15 March 2011.

A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new series chronicles the arrival on Earth of a technologically-advanced alien species which ostensibly comes in peace, but actually has sinister motives. V stars Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin, and is executive produced by Scott Rosenbaum, Yves Simoneau, Scott Peters, Steve Pearlman, and Jace Hall. The series was produced by The Scott Peters Company, HDFilms and Warner Bros. Television. On 13 May 2011, ABC cancelled the series after two seasons.

Outline

Giant spaceships appear over 29 major cities throughout the world, and Anna (Morena Baccarin), the beautiful and charismatic leader of the extra-terrestrial “Visitors”, declares that they come in peace. The Visitors claim to only need a small amount of Earth’s resources, in exchange for which they will share their advanced technological and medical knowledge. As a small number of humans begin to doubt the sincerity of the seemingly benevolent Visitors, FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers that the aliens are actually reptilian humanoids wearing pseudo-human skin, who have spent decades infiltrating human governments, businesses, and religious institutions, and are now in the final stages of their plan to take over the Earth. Erica joins the resistance movement, which includes Ryan (Morris Chestnut), a Visitor sleeper agent who over time developed human emotions and now wants to save humanity. Their rebellion becomes a part of a larger “Fifth Column” movement of both humans and Visitors opposed to Anna’s vague but seemingly menacing plans for Earth and humanity, but their efforts are challenged as the Visitors have won favor among the people of Earth by curing a variety of diseases and have recruited Earth’s youth – including Erica’s son Tyler (Logan Huffman) – to serve them unknowingly as spies.

Cast

  • Main Cast:
    • Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans—an FBI counter-terrorism agent who becomes the leader of the global Fifth Column. Erica seems to become closer to the Visitor Lisa than to her son Tyler.
    • Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols—a Visitor posing as human and a Fifth Columnist trying to undermine the insidious plans of the Visitors. He is later forced to betray the Fifth Column due to Anna holding his baby daughter hostage. He is strangled to death by his daughter while trying to remove her from the Visitor mothership in the season 2 finale.
    • Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry—a Catholic priest and former US Army sniper with two kills, whose unease with the Visitors is soon validated by his alliance with Erica over their discovery of the Visitors’ secret. Over time, he finds his views of the Visitors conflict with the church hierarchy. He is eventually laicized after speaking out against the Visitors one time too many, following numerous warnings from the Visitor-controlled Vatican.
    • Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans—Erica’s teenage son who becomes a V “peace ambassador” and Lisa’s love interest. He becomes closer to Anna over time, and at odds with his own mother. The Visitors stripped him of half his DNA when he was in Erica’s womb, which led to his father believing that Erica had an affair. He is killed by Lisa’s “twin” sister after mating with her in the season 2 finale.
    • Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie Stevens (season 1)—Ryan’s fiancée who was originally unaware of his alien nature. Her discovery of his secret leads to her being murdered by Anna after giving birth to Ryan’s baby.
    • Laura Vandervoort as Lisa—a Visitor and Tyler’s love interest who is revealed to be Anna’s daughter and next-in-line to be the Visitors’ queen. She displays growing human emotion throughout the first season and joins the Fifth Column in the season finale. Lisa is shown to be closer to Erica than her own mother, she often confides in Erica about her emotions and Erica comforts her. In the second-season finale, she is imprisoned by Anna, and replaced by her sister, who is identical in appearance (also played by Laura Vandervoort).
    • Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes (recurring season 1, starring season 2)—a former British SAS soldier and current mercenary, on top of the wanted lists of many law enforcement organisations, who is recruited by the Fifth Column. It is revealed the Visitors have someone close to him and are blackmailing him.
    • Morena Baccarin as Anna—the cold, diabolically-manipulative Visitor Queen and High Commander. She maintains loyalty and control over her subjects by use of a telepathic pacification process known as “Bliss”.
    • Scott Wolf as Chad Decker—a television news anchor who becomes the Visitors’ spokesperson. He is caught between his journalistic ethics and his ambition when his exclusive access to Anna comes with a price. He turns Fifth Column when he learns the sinister truth about the Visitors, though this remains hidden from Anna until the season 2 finale.
  • Supporting Cast:
    • Christopher Shyer as Marcus—Anna’s second-in-command in charge of operations. He is shot in the second season during the Concordia announcements, but has since recovered.
    • Mark Hildreth as Joshua—The physician in charge of the medical crew on board the Visitors’ New York mothership. In season 1, he appears loyal to Anna, but is in fact a Fifth Columnist undermining the Visitors’ operations from within. After being killed and revived, he awakens in season 2 with a wiped memory and renewed loyalty to Anna. In the end of season 2, he remembers being in Fifth Column after seeing Lisa snoop around on the mothership and rejoins the network against Anna.
    • David Richmond-Peck as Georgie Sutton (season 1)—One of the original members of the human resistance who wanted revenge against the Visitors for causing his family’s deaths after he discovered the V’s agenda. In an attempt to save Ryan, he is captured by the Visitors. He is tortured for information and later chooses to die rather than reveal Fifth Column members.
    • Roark Critchlow as Paul Kendrick—Erica’s superior in the FBI counter-terrorism unit. He has long suspected that Erica might be a member of the Fifth Column and reveals himself to be part of another underground anti-V organization known as Project Aries.
    • Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox (season 1)—Erica’s first partner in the series. Erica discovers he is a Visitor, and wounds him. He ends up on Anna’s ship where he is killed by Joshua, the V physician, who is also a spy for the Fifth Column.
    • Lucas Wolf as Samuel (season 1)—a Visitor Fifth Columnist who worked alongside Joshua.
    • Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik—An FBI agent assigned to work with Erica. Like Erica’s previous partner, she is also revealed to be a V mole. After her true identity is discovered, she is tortured and killed by the Resistance.
    • Scott Hylands as Father Travis—An elder priest at the same church where Father Jack works. He appears to side with the Visitors in several conversations with Father Jack.
    • Lexa Doig as Dr. Leah Pearlman (season 1)—A V doctor posing as Valerie’s human physician. She is also Fifth Column.
    • Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans—Erica’s ex-husband, who left her after blood tests revealed that their son, Tyler, could not possibly be his. He tries to reconnect with his wife and son after learning the truth about Tyler’s altered DNA. In season 2, he is caught in a crossfire between FBI agents and the Fifth Column, and is shot and killed.
    • Jane Badler as Diana (season 2)—Anna’s mother, who is being held prisoner on the Visitor mothership in a secret prison cell made to resemble their homeworld. This Diana is a completely different character from the one that Badler played in the original 1980s series. She was once Queen until she proposed that the Visitors live in peace with humans. Anna finally overthrew her and imprisoned her for fifteen years. She was eventually rescued in the season 2 finale but rather than escape, she chose to confront her subjects and was killed by Anna as a result.
    • Bret Harrison as Sidney Miller (season 2)—an evolutionary biologist, whom Erica tracks down in order to explain the Red Sky. Since then, he has continued to work with the Fifth Column.
    • Oded Fehr as Eli Cohn (season 2)—an ex-Mossad agent and the leader of a radical Fifth Column cell, with whom Erica shockingly has a mysterious past. He is killed in a staged hostage crisis after turning over his global contacts as well as leadership of his cell to Erica. Rosenbaum has stated that, “The two of them have something in common that she [Erica] never would have guessed.”
    • Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling (season 2)—Erica’s newly assigned FBI partner who trained with her at Quantico. He begins to suspect that Erica may have divided loyalties when it comes to her dedication to bringing down the Fifth Column. In the season 2 finale, he is revealed to be a member of a secret global anti-V cabal known as Project Aries.
    • Martin Cummins as Thomas (season 2)—the chief engineer of Anna’s Concordia project, who is temporarily promoted to second-in-command following the shooting of Marcus.
    • Ona Grauer as Kerry Eltoff (season 2)—Chad’s co-anchor on Prime Focus, added by their producer to provide opposing viewpoint to Chad’s Visitor-centric reporting. He tricks her into claiming that sources showed a citywide blackout was the result of the unstable Visitor Concordia generator, causing her to be fired for false reporting. However, Anna had revealed to Chad that Kerry’s viewpoints were “dangerous” to Visitor/human relations and would not be tolerated. Therefore, in getting her fired, Chad not only removed her as a threat to his cover but also protected her from Anna’s wrath.
    • Marc Singer as Lars Tremont (season 2)—a member of a top-secret organisation of high-ranking military and government leaders (called Project Aries) who know more about the Visitors than most and have been secretly preparing for a Visitor attack. Singer also played a leading role in the original 1980s series

Production

The series was announced in May 2009, to be executive produced by Scott Peters, Jace Hall, Steve Pearlman, and Jeffrey Bell. Filming of the post-pilot episodes began on 10 August 2009. Cast member Elizabeth Mitchell noted that the show would do service to the most iconic moments from the original franchise.

Peters later confirmed that in addition to potentially using cast members from the 1983 miniseries, the new series would nod to the original in other ways. He said that when asking people what they thought were the most memorable elements of V, the top responses included “the huge ships, the red uniforms, eating the hamster, and [the] alien baby,” adding that “we are well aware of those moments and are looking to put our own little spin on them to tip our hat to the old audience.”

Entertainment Weekly put the original V on its 2008 list “The Sci-Fi 25: The Genre’s Best Since 1982” and called Visitor leader Diana’s devouring of a guinea pig “one of the best TV reveals ever.” Asked about the 1983 reveal of the Visitors’ reptilian appearance beneath their human disguise, Peters noted “That was the other one, of course… We tried to put our own [spin on it]. We’re… a little bit different than their execution of it. It wasn’t so much latex mask as it is real flesh and blood.”

Reuters called the idea behind V “a powerhouse concept that combines conflict, suspense and imagination with some heavy-duty philosophical issues,” noting that the update “preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere to accommodate contemporary concerns… the militaristic notes will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-9/11 emphasis on questions of trust and terror.”

Production on the show was temporarily suspended in August 2009, pending the resolution of a dispute filed with the Writers Guild of America by original creator Kenneth Johnson. Warner Bros. sought to remove Johnson’s “created by” status by claiming that the new show was so fundamentally changed from Johnson’s original premise that it constituted a standalone work and not a remake. The Writers Guild, however, disagreed, and when production resumed in September 2009, Johnson retained the credit.

In September 2009, it was announced that four episodes of V would air in November 2009, and that the series would resume its 12-episode season in March 2010 after the 2010 Winter Olympics. ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson said, “We always intended to break the show up into ‘pods’ to make it more of an event.” As production of the fourth episode of V wrapped, it was announced on 03 November 2009, that Scott Rosenbaum had been named executive producer and showrunner of the series, with Peters and Hall remaining as executive producers. Production of the remaining eight episodes resumed in January 2010 with new episodes returning 30 March 2010. On 13 May 2010, ABC renewed V for a second season. The second season premiered 04 January 2011, but the original order of 13 episodes was reduced to 10.

On 13 May 2011, ABC announced that V was cancelled.

Cancellation Response

Following ABC’s cancellation of V in May 2011, the fan letter-writing campaign “Project Alice” began writing to Warner Bros. to renew the series on a different network. The campaign initially sought to get the show renewed on TNT, while later efforts had also concentrated on the CW Network as well. Both networks are owned by Warner Bros. Television’s parent company, Time Warner. Ultimately the campaign was unsuccessful.

Trivia

  • A picture of Laura Vandervoort from this series was used to make fake ID passports as part of an international identity-theft ring.
    • She was immediately recognized by an FBI agent who happens to be a fan of Smallville (2001) wherein she portrayed Kara Zor-El (Supergirl).
  • The show was originally going to be set in Los Angeles just as the original mini series had been in 1983.
    • This was changed to New York when the production was moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for tax reasons.
  • Famke Janssen turned down the role of Anna.
  • Lucy Lawless was considered to play Erica Evans, the lead character. However, she had already signed on to appear in Spartacus (2010), which premiered shortly after V.
  • As with the original series, the Visitor’s alien text is just a substitution cipher for the alphabet, but written top to bottom then left to right, often breaking words into multiple columns.
    • Many letters have a counterpart rotated 180 degrees, while the glyph for the letter H is already 180-degree symmetric.
  • An important address in the show is 4400 Pier Ave. Joel Gretsch, who plays Father Jack Landry on the show, starred in the TV series The 4400 (2004).

V Series

You can find a full index and overview of the V franchise here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 03 November 2009 to 18 May 2010.
    • Series 02: 04 January 2011 to 15 March 2011.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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