August 31, 12:39 PM
The Visitors are coming back this fall as a mid-season replacement on ABC. This new series is a “re-imagining” of the original mini-series V, which ran on NBC back in 1983.
For those of you too young to remember it, V was a 2-part, made for TV movie, which starred Marc Singer (Beastmaster), Faye Grant (Greatest American Hero), Jane Badler (One Life to Live), and Robert Englund (Nightmare On Elm Street). The mini-series boasted some impressive special effects, which were created by effects master John Dykstra (Star Wars). The TV movie opened with several large ships entering Earth’s atmosphere and hovering over several major cities across the world. Referred to as the Visitors, by earth’s press, key representatives from the visiting alien’s mothership arrive at the UN and state that they are here peacefully and need certain minerals and chemicals from Earth. In exchange, the visitors will aid humans with growing food more efficiently, promise to share their advanced technology, and to cure disease. The UN agrees to aid the Visitors, and soon the aliens begin to gain more and more control and influence.
(Warning- Spoiler Alert)
However things start to take a turn for the worse. Scientists go missing and the media seems to only report the news that is favorable to the Visitors. Growing suspicious, TV journalist Mike Donovan (Singer) sneaks aboard the mothership and discovers that the visitors are not humans but reptiles in disguise, and that they intend to collect all of earth’s fresh water and its human inhabitants as food. Soon Donovan joins a group of freedom fighters who plot and plan the destruction of the Visitors.
V became such a ratings hit that NBC ordered a sequel, V: The Final Battle. When the sequel proved successful, NBC ordered V: The Series to go into production. However creator Kenneth Johnson didn’t like the direction the network wanted to take the TV series in, and decided to pass. Without Johnson at the helm, the series would languish in the rating, only lasting a year (from 1984-1985). In February 2005, Johnson wrote the novel, V: The Second Generation, which takes place 20 years after the original mini-series.
The original V was an allegory for the rise of socialism, and fascism in Europe during the early part of the 20th century— specifically the Nazi movement. The Visitors wore SS-like uniforms. Their symbol was similar to the Nazi symbol. They employed a youth movement, similar to the Hitler Youth, and made any dissidents enemies of the state. Johnson said that the story for V was influenced by Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here, Bertolt Bretcht’s play, The Private Life of the Master Race, and the short story by Damon Knight, To Serve Man (which was later filmed as a TV episode of the Twilight Zone).
In a recent interview with new series Executive Producers Scott Peters and Jeff Bell in Sci-Fi Magazine, Bell said “So many people who have seen V have such affection for the original series.” In fact, Entertainment Weekly magazine included V in its Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies and TV of the Past 25 Years list. Peters, who also wrote the script, added “really it’s updating it and making it relevant for our time now.”
As in the original series, the new series opens with spaceships hovering over major cities around the world. The beings onboard call themselves Visitors. This time they are singing the praises of peace, love, harmony, hope and change (gee, that sounds familiar). As Peters puts it, “suddenly you realize that they’re not at all what they seem to be, and that they’re hell-bent on taking over the planet. There are a lot of powerful thoughts in those few sentences that you can bring forward.” Bell adds, “It’s about what happens when people follow things blindly, or they don’t think for themselves.” Is this an allegory for the currant administration? The producers and ABC are not saying. However, conservative radio host Laura Ingrahm, seems to think so, as she aired sound-bites of the show on her nationally syndicated radio program last Friday, and compared them with sound-bites from several Obama officials, key Democrat leaders, and the President himself— all eerily mirroring the series sound-bites.
The new series stars Morena Baccarin (Firefly), Joel Gretsch (The 4400), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Scott Wolf (The Nine), and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville). Check local listing for the day and time.