“V” is back. (I think I deserve some praise for resisting ending that sentence with “Baby,” Baby.) Sort of.
If you’re too young to remember, V was a pretty brilliant TV miniseries NBC ran in 1983, which was a fairly clever allegory about the Nazi usurpation of society, only the folks in the Nazi role were aliens, and though the society they usurped was American, they pretty much took over the whole world. It was a fun, but surprisingly thoughtful look at how people loose their freedom, and eventually their lives, by degrees. Despite the fact that it was made my liberal west coast Reagan-hating naybobs, it’s actually worth watching.
This was followed a year later by a markedly less-brilliant TV miniseries called “V: The Final Battle” a year later, in which the Visitors were forced all-too-easily to leave earth. After this came “V” the series, which ran one season (‘84/’85), and was mostly concerned with the fallout from long occupation of earth, and the Visitor’s attempts to subvert and re-take the planet. No one watched, for good reason: it played out like a particularly silly version of Dynasty. Scratch the “Silly“ part, it was like “Dynasty“ with (Slightly) more aliens, and a lot more guns and whole hell of a lot more Michael Ironside. Here’s the surprisingly somber opening credits:
Now, despite the fact that it was a crappy show with terrible writing, no sense of what it wanted to be, and miserable production values, the fact remains that “V” had a pretty sweet premise, and there have been numerous attempts to revive the franchise. Even Larry Niven was approached about it at one point, and Kenneth “The Six Million Dollar Man” Johnson even wrote a novel picking up the story 30 years later, which was published last year. (“V: The Second Generation.”) It’s a good idea, poorly executed and since Hollywood is largely out of the ‘Ideas’ business these days, they’re always only too happy to strip-mine something that came before them. IE: The Current Star Trek movie, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, the happily short-lived Night Rider revival, etc.
Thus a new pilot episode has been filmed, re-booting the series. It stars the brilliant Alan Tudyk from Firefly, Dollhouse, and I Robot (He was the robot); the super-hot Morena Baccarin Firefly and Stargate: SG1; and the distant-yet-strangely compelling Elizabeth Mitchell. That’s Juliet from Lost.
It’s still unknown if the series will be picked up, but ABC is looking at it for their fall schedule. And of course being a modern-day revival of a classic (And classicly flawed) show, it'll end up being all edgy and dark and moraly ambiguous and gritty and shot on a wobblycam, but since the original franchise (mostly) sucked, I find I don't mind that at all. And despite the fact that three TV actors known for their SF fan cred is the most overt bit of stuntcasting this side of the Stargate franchise, I find I don't mind that at all, either, since I really like all those actors. Basically, if they keep the Space Nazis, and don't turn it in to an allegory about environmentalism, it'll be good. How could they screw it up?
Oh, wait, it got sort of instantly screwed up once before, didn't it?