Feb 21, 2013

[TV] V: The Original Miniseries

For one reason or another, I can't seem to find any reviews for the 2009 reimagined V TV series on this blog. I thought I had posted them back when the show was still around, but it seems that was not the case. Then again, I could be totally wrong since it's pretty trying to find blog articles that match a one-letter show title. Go figure.

So if I really can't find them, I'll probably post reviews for them in the weeks to come just to get them out of the way.

Anyway, I found myself with some time to kill after work and so I opted to finally get around to watching the original 1983 miniseries for V, upon which the latter 2009 series was based. And initially I was expecting a rather hokey TV series with somewhat dated filming techniques but instead it turned out to be quite a compelling show - one that did a lot better than the more recent version of the TV series, I believe.

And this includes the big hair and funky vocal modulation.

Synopsis: V: The Original Miniseries was a science fiction limited TV series released in 1983. It had been written and directed by Kenneth Johnson and had aired on NBC.

Without warning, 50 giant alien spaceships appear over major cities all over the world, thus shocking the people of earth. Eventually one of the saucer-shaped motherships sends out representatives to meet with the United Nations. All over the world the aliens - known only as the Visitors - explain their purpose. They have come to Earth in search of help in the form of natural resources. In exchange, they offer the gift of their advanced technology. They appear human as well with the only different being the "strange" tone of their voices.

At first it seems this is practically a dream come true as they aliens continue to build stronger friendships with the governments of the world and eventually their people. However other strange things start to happen, as ultimately realized as a supposed global conspiracy by the scientific community to find a way to kill the aliens. Thus the various scientists suspected of being part of this plot are arrested - and many are the same scientists who have been most vocal about the need to examine these aliens further and try to understand them better.

Thus we have a rather cerebral thriller of sorts as Earth is slowly invaded by smiling aliens. What's worse is how it's not like there's any true resistance at the start - everyone just welcomes the Visitors with open arms. And thus the deviousness of the alien plot, which really defines the core dynamic of the show. And this main premise did make the series especially interesting for me - plus at the same time surprising given I thought the series would be a lot campier or something given the time period.

The show is really focused on how various people responded to the aliens arriving on Earth. Thus we have media folks like cameraman Michael Donovan (Marc Singer) starting as passive observers and eventually becoming more active players once the truth is revealed. Or you have everyday families, scientists scared for their lives or those individuals who have fully embraced the Visitors as being practically infallible. So don't expect a lot of futuristic action or fight scenes involving laser guns.

It was interesting to note how the Visitor Supreme Commander, "John" (Richard Herd) really wasn't that pivotal a character. Thus it comes as no surprise as how Diana (Jane Badler), his supposed second-in-command, came out to be the fan favorite. She's quite the compelling character and the one they attribute a lot of the more "exotic" Visitor scientific experiments to. And Jane Badler is just totally fierce - she's your classic 1980's villain.

V: The Original Series stands surprising well today despite the many years since it first came out. I still hold that this series had a much tighter and more intelligent story compared to the 2009 version - a review I will address in time. Thus V gets 4 little plot twists that demonstrate just how well the Visitors planned for all eventualities.

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