The V Franchise
The Mini-series V first aired on May 1 and 2, 1983. There was a follow up mini-series, V: The Final Battle, released in 1984. It was a successful mini-series which spawned a 1984 TV series. The series lasted one season. There was a 2009 attempt to reboot the series. The reboot lasted 1 ½ seasons.
The mini series’ premise is aliens come to Earth and claim it’s in peace. They appear human. They arrive in city sized craft. Their ultimate goal is to take the Earth’s resources and use humans as a food supply. This article contains spoilers.
The Two Mini Series
An armada of 50 large spacecraft hover over cities around the world. It takes a few days for the aliens to introduce themselves and to announce they come in peace. They are greeted with pomp and circumstance.
Robin Maxwell (Blair Tefkin), a member of a school band that plays at the welcome ceremony, is immediately smitten by Brian (Peter Nelson), a handsome young alien. All seems to be going well but there are a couple of disturbing signs. At the banquet the aliens only eat a few vegetables. The military bases are closed. Some scientists are disappearing. There are posters proclaiming the aliens, known as “Visitors”, as friends. There is an organization called “Friends of the Visitors.”
Reporter Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) boards a space ship and learns the aliens want to use humans as a food source. The aliens are reptiles in humanlike masks. Photographic evidence is not enough for the masses. Resistance groups form.
John (Richard Herd) is the nominal head of the Visitor task force. Diana (Jane Badler) runs the day to day operations. Diana has a method of brainwashing people to make them obedient subjects. It’s a difficult process that doesn’t always work.
With it obvious the Visitors were in charge of the planet everyone has to decide if they should, actively collaborate, do nothing and hope the Visitors leave, or take up armed resistance. This conflict plays out in the home of Abraham Bernstein (Leonardo Cimino). Abraham is a Holocaust survivor. His grandson Daniel (David Packer) became one of the Friends of the Visitors. When Abraham’s son Stanley (George Morfogen) learns Abraham is hiding the Maxwell family Stanley wants to send the Maxwell’s away. Abraham tells how his wife, Stanley’s mother, died in a death camp. Abraham concludes by saying; “They have to stay. Or else, we haven’t learned a thing!”
In a daring assault during a ceremony that’s being broadcasted live rebel leader Juliet Parrish (Faye Grant) cries out; “The Visitors are not our friends.” She tears at John’s mask, revealing his reptilian skin. Diana asks a newscaster to call it a hoax. The newscaster confirms it was true and Diana kills her. The next day collaborator Eleanor Dupres (Neva Patterson) helps make a fictitious broadcast that is billed as the real events of the previous night.
There is another spectacular human victory. When Abraham sees some children spray painting visitor posters, he takes the hand of a child with a spray can and spray paints a “V” on the poster.[i] This is how the mini-series V ends.
Time has passed between the end of the original mini-series and V: The Final Battle. The rebels have suffered a string of defeats. The Visitors have upgraded their body armor so regular small arms ammunition is virtually useless. The resistance gets armor piercing ammunition.
A few aliens don’t agree with their leader and actively help the resistance. A Visitor military commander, Pamela (Sarah Douglas), arrives and proceeds to take over. This doesn’t sit well with Diana. Diana kills Pamela and blames the assassination on internal resistance.
Robin’s infatuation with Brian results in twins. The first baby, a girl, appears human except for the forked tongue. The second baby looks like a visitor. The human like baby quickly grows into a young girl with strange powers. The baby that looks like a Visitor dies. An examination of the body helps the humans develop a biological weapon. Robin Maxwell, in a spirit of vengeance, tests it on Brian. The rebels wait until they have a cure for their Visitor allies before they deploy the weapon.
There is a climactic battle where the Earth is made poisonous to the Visitors. Diana makes her escape in a shuttle craft.
[i] The letter “V” was the symbol for allied victory in World War II.
The series picks up 1 year after the victory over the Visitors. Diana is a prisoner who is going to be put on trial for her crimes during the Visitors’ occupation. While being transported she is apparently assassinated. The assassination is a fake. The faked assassination is part of a rescue plot by industrialist Nathan Bates (Lane Smith).
The Visitors attempt a straight forward invasion. The invasion is a mixed success. The germs are still active in colder climates but dormant in warmer climates. This puts Los Angeles, and other areas with a warm climate, under Visitor occupation. Diana is leading the Visitor fleet. Lydia (June Chadwick) is her second in command. Lydia wants to take Diana’s place and Diana is looking for an excuse to get rid of Lydia. They make multiple attempts to assassinate each other.
Willie (Robert Englund), who was fighting with the resistance in the initial occupation is still fighting with the reconstituted resistance. There are also Visitors, like Philip (Frank Ashmore), who work with the resistance. Some humans actively collaborate with the Visitors.
Many episodes begin with a newscast delivered by real life ABC news anchor Howard K. Smith playing himself. His broadcast would include a segment where he would honor a resistance hero of the week.
The last episode ends with the emperor of the Visitors calling an immediate ceasefire and announcing his intentions of negotiating an armistice. The resistance won but Diana is planning to assassinate the emperor. This hints the possibility it isn’t over.
Notes from Other Countries
In Spain, during a protest of President Ronald Reagan’s visit, a protest sign depicted a picture of President Reagan in a cowboy hat with some of his skin peeled away revealing he is a Visitor.
V was such a hit in South Korea the TV station gave an encore telecast. The voices were interesting. The voice used for Marc Singer sounded like someone who might be a sumo wrestler. For the women characters there were two voices. One sounded like someone who could be described as a silly goose. The other voice sounded like someone who was scheming. The scheming voice was used for both good and bad women characters. Such is the fun of watching an American program in a language I can’t understand.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Robert Sacchi
Robert Sacchi (author) on November 01, 2020:
Thank you for reading and commenting. I gave the schedule a look. It was competing against Webster, Monday Night Football, and The Dukes of Hazzard in the Fall and against Dallas and Hunter in the winter. That probably explaines why many people don't remember the series.
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 01, 2020:
I recall this being on, but I didn’t watch it either. I would have enjoyed it based on your detailed review. Well done.
Robert Sacchi (author) on October 31, 2020:
Thank you for reading and commenting. Unless a series runs for a long time many people would miss it. Maybe one thing I should look at in these articles is the competition for the shows.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 31, 2020:
I missed viewing this series, but from your descriptions, I would have liked it.
Robert Sacchi (author) on October 30, 2020:
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Pamela Oglesby - The concept of some aliens being on the human's side seemed a popular one. It made for a more complicated plot.
Kalpana Iyer - I would be interested in knowing if the original mini series played in India.
Liz Westwood - There was an attempt to reboot the series in 2009. It didn't work out too well. I rather liked the 2009 series myself but they may have made it too complicated.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 30, 2020:
I don't remember seeing this series but it sounds very interesting. I think I would like it. Thank for this review, Robert.
Kalpana Iyer from India on October 30, 2020:
I vaguely remember someone I know talking about this series. Sounds interesting!
Liz Westwood from UK on October 30, 2020:
I don't recall this series, but your description of it makes it sound interesting. I wonder if it might be revived at some stage in the future.