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Do you remember V?

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1 Do you remember V? on Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:02 pm

The Bill

Since I've been recovering from the flu, I've had time to sit in front of the television recently, which ended up being very fortuitous for me this past weekend! You see, on Sunday, the Sci Fi channel showed the entire miniseries of V. I hadn't seen it since back in the 80's! I was only too eager to sit and watch it...all 10 hours worth.

Yes, I sat and watched it from 12:30 pm until 11 pm. I had never been abl to watch it from beginning to end like that before, having usually watched it in it's 2 hour segments on sequential nights. I was pleasantly surprised to see it has held up fairly well (effects wise) and very well (story wise) in the 26 years since it first aired.

I remember being SO into this when I was a kid! If you weren't around in the 80's, you can't understand what you missed. It had some monster ratings, each segment having 80 million viewers. To compare to modern tv shows, a current show is considered a hit with 20 million viewers. Nothing nowadays has anywhere near 80 million viewers! To say "everyone" was watching V when it first aired is not much of an exageration, especially when you consider the U.S. population was hovering around the 200 million mark.

Anyway, it began in 1983. I was only 9 years old at the time but my parentshad let me stay up to watch it, which was a big deal then, staying up until 10 o'clock to watch a tv movie! Being able to stay up to watch it made me feel like I was being treated like my parents took me seriously or something. I thought they were really cool for letting me watch it with them. I was really inundated with those memories while I rewatched it this past weekend. I was full of nostalgia, remembering eating popcorn with my parents while watching it.

Watching it through adult eyes now, I saw how much stuff I missed when I was a kid. Back then, I never picked up on how The Visitors were just a thinly veiled stand in for the Nazis. Even their uniforms, with their "Visitor insignia" looked vaguely Nazi-like. The entirety of the series was based on the book "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis, which was about how something as evil as nazism could take root here in the United States. The subject of the Visitors arrival (which was later swiped by the movie "Independence Day") was treated in a serious manner. I wasn't used to seeing science fiction being treated in such a serious way. V was never once treated as a "kids show", despite it's science fiction setting.

The Visitors show up and not only do they look perfectly human, they came to ask us for our help. (Despite their looks, they did have metallic sounding voices, which was copied just one year later for the Transfomers!) The Visitors seemed like nice people, and they came with their hat in hand, so how bad could they be, right? The people of the world were (mostly) quick to accept the Visitors. In just a months time, Visitors were finding themselves being accepted into our society.

That's when some people, mostly scientists and some vocal critics begin to disappear. Then, the Visitors reveal a supposed conspiracy against them, to garner sympathy. Next thing you know, the Visitors are "working with" local police, even though it's obvious who are really calling the shots. Then, the Visitors roll out a "Friends Of The Visitors" group for the kids, which was a nod to the Hitler Youth. It was towards the end of the first segment that we, the viewers, through main character Mike Donovan, get the big reveal! Take my word for it, this was indeed a BIG reveal back in '83!

The Visitors looked nothing like us! They were humanoid lizards who were wearing fake human skin! They could even spit venom at their enemies! Now, in and of itself, that's not that big a deal, except Donovan also learns of their real plans for earth...they want to suck up all our water and, the truely distressing part, they want to place us into cryogenic sleep, because they want us for food! The Visitors were basically cannibals!

Now, as a nine year old watching this, this was a kick ass storyline of the first degree! I eagerly watched as Mike Donovan made his escape from the Visitors mothership with his videotaped proof of their sinister intentions. How could I not like this?? It had action, evil lizard people, futuristic technology, a sinister plot I could easily follow, and clear cut heroes and villains.

Watching as an adult, as I mentioned above, I could easily see the story being told of Nazism. I can also see how certain people colaborated with the Visitors for purely selfish reasons, selling out their own neighbors for some percieved amount of power under the new lizard overlords. It wasn't as black and white as it seemed to me as a child however. While human colaborators were definitely seen as "bad guys" to the humans, they were seen as allies by the Visitors. Likewise, the Visitors who were a member of the secretive group, The Fifth Column, were against their own peoples plan and were seen as traitors, but rue heroes by the humans. I was still highly entertained by it all.

I think it helped that I hadn't seen this since I was still a kid, so it didn't have a worn out feeling to it. I approached it with fresh eyes. I had forgotten a lot of what happened over the years, not to mention the stuff I didn't pick up on when I was a kid.

I did notice that the cargo containers used by the Visitors, mostly in their motherships hanger decks, looked very familiar to me, so I checked online. It turns out that a lot of miscellaneous stuff was later purchased by Paramount and used for Star Trek: The Next Generation! The famous sci-fi recycling at work!

I had also found out something else of great interest to me. The main actress, Faye Grant was from St. Clair Shores, Michigan. She lived on Grant street, which was literally right around the corner from where I lived! I believe she even attended my high school. Cool!

Anyway, I think the Sci Fi channel was airing V in preperation for the new tv series which began on Tuesday night on ABC. Of course I watched it! It was pretty good, but it moved at a break neck pace, as opposed to the slower pacing of the original. Of course, the "big reveal" isn't a surprise to any of us who watched the original show. I would most definitely recommend to give the original miniseries a viewing if you've never seen it. I heard it's on dvd now *cough*Christmas present*cough*.

By the way, I should thank my parents for letting me stay up to 10 o'clock to watch V. Thanks mom and dad! I hope I can one day return the favor by letting my own as yet nonexistant child stay up late to watch V some time. Smile

Always remember:

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2 Re: Do you remember V? on Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:27 pm


All I can say is, it is amazing to me what my kids remember from their childhood. What made them happy, all seems so random. Oh well, if it made you happy, I am glad that I let you stay up late. You made me happy by just being you! I probably couldn't refuse your request because you were always so sincere about anything that expanded your imagination.

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3 Re: Do you remember V? on Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:49 am


Masked Vigilante
Masked Vigilante
I feel somewhat robbed for having CLEARLY missed the boat...

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