V May Return
June 10, 2003 1:30 PM   Subscribe

"V" -- a science-fiction allegory for World War II -- may return to television. NBC has commissioned a three-hour movie script from writer-director Kenneth Johnson (who was responsible for the excellent first miniseries, but not the second miniseries or the dreadful series) that promises "a metaphor for the new millennium." Will Johnson might tackle unilateralism and WMD? And might a letter-writing campaign be in order to encourage production?
posted by ed (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about a letter writing campaign to discourage production? I still have the occasional nightmare about the first time I bloody saw it. Which probably means it was really good television and all, but I really need my beauty sleep.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:35 PM on June 10, 2003

Lizards come to earth under the pretext of helping humankind, only to outright lie about their intentions to turn the human race into fillet mignon. The lizards use propaganda and blacklist all scientists who speak out. Meanwhile, a secret resistance group forms to fight them.

Nightmarish? Absolutely. But it sounds to me like television for our times.
posted by ed at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2003

Oh god. The scary lizard babies are still engraved on my soul.

Do you have any idea how relieved I was when my daughter was born without a forked tongue?
posted by padraigin at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2003

I have never seen the original, but anything that would inspire Neil Gaiman to devote time to it in Sandman is most welcome on Widdershins TV.
posted by widdershins at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2003

widdershins: The two miniseries are both available on DVD. More info on it all here.
posted by ed at 1:53 PM on June 10, 2003

Only if Michael Ironside will be cast. And Marc Singer, if only to kill him off in a gruesome way.
posted by elgoose at 2:04 PM on June 10, 2003

ITV in the UK bought 'V' as their answer to the BBC's coverage of the 1984 Olympic Games in LA. They stripped it across the weeks and it was something of a success. All I remember is the final episode when the seemed to be invading Earth using paprica. Or something.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:09 PM on June 10, 2003

Those lizards and the lizard babies gave me nightmares when i was a kid too! jesus christ!

but really, why would we want to bring this back though?? i can think of tons of SF authors whose stuff i would love to see translated into TV-ese (neal stephenson, ursula le guin, etc etc) instead of another installment in what was overall a pretty lackluster franchise.

the more money the networks lose by investing in poorly written science fiction, the slimmer the chance we'll see something good and creative come out, but thats just my thoughts.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 2:12 PM on June 10, 2003

I must be the only one who thinks it's silly to make a sequel to an allegory based on, um, settled history.
posted by coelecanth at 2:25 PM on June 10, 2003

I LOVED "V." It was my favorite. At the time I was only allowed to watch 2 hours of television a week, and it was V all the time, the other hour was up for grabs. I loved the mini-series. I loved the whole thing. It made a real impact on me and really got me started loving Science Fiction books. I hope they reprise it! I always watch when SCFI replays the pilot.

One of my favorite scenes was the teenage girl who just wanted to be liked and fell for a lizard who impregnated her and she had the little beautiful blonde girl who grew up really fast. And she watched as her mother killed her father with the poison. AWESOME STUFF! I loved Diana too, and always dug Marc Singer's tight jeans. Hey, I was young.
posted by aacheson at 2:27 PM on June 10, 2003

I always recall the scene where the resistance leaders are contemplating the possibility that the Visitors might nuke the planet:

"I'm not prepared to risk the lives of 3 billion people."

3 billion. So 80s.
posted by scarabic at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2003

so 80's...how about the fact that the Visitors all dressed like michael jackson?
posted by th3ph17 at 3:41 PM on June 10, 2003

I'd like to see a miniseries based on V for Vendetta. Probably even more timely, given the current situation.
posted by Hildago at 3:43 PM on June 10, 2003

god this show with its lizard babies creeped me out. I'm so excited it's coming back! Although, imho, the creepiest sci-fi series of recent memory was the early 90's take on war of the world - what with the taking over one's body and deteriorating faces and - yeesh! it gives me the creeps again just thinking about it.

finally, though, some GOOD sci-fi on tv would be nice now that Firefly has been cancelled.
posted by jearbear at 4:24 PM on June 10, 2003

My recollection may be hazy at this point, but weren't the aliens in V also "allergic" to water? They were horrified of going near the ocean, as if it were a huge pool of acid. If I am remembering correctly, then I would have to give the same poo-poo thumbs down to the logic of these (and the Signs aliens) for picking a planet to invade that is mostly water, and for choosing to eat/overthrow victims who are mostly water.

I, for one, would welcome our new alien overl-- ah, forget it.
posted by robbie01 at 4:41 PM on June 10, 2003

Please no more recycling of bad scifi TV shows.
posted by muckster at 4:47 PM on June 10, 2003

Take me to your lizard.
posted by NortonDC at 4:53 PM on June 10, 2003

weren't the aliens in V also "allergic" to water

That was Alien Nation. In V, the aliens came here and said they wanted some of our water, but they really wanted to do lizardy things to us.
posted by kindall at 5:03 PM on June 10, 2003

by the time the lizard babies showed up, the whole thing was old hat. The Final Battle sucked (with the widely noted exception of Michael Ironside killing Stephen by dumping a bag of red dust on his face). The first two episodes, on the other hand, were just about the best TV sci-fi since that twilighty show about the zone.

A summary of the plot of the first two hour episode:(possibly goes into the second also, not sure)

1. Aliens show up over all major world cities.
2. They meet with the Sec. Gen. of the UN and brainwash him to do their bidding.
3. They claim to come in peace.
4. Industry welcomes them, as they claim to require the production of several rare chemicals, and promise to exchange this production for scientific knowledge.
5. They begin persecuting scientists who are skeptical of their motives. Scientists begin disappearing, and begin to be blacklisted by communities.
6. In the name of security, the visitors impose a police state with the full cooperation of world governments.
7. One reporter learns that they're actually lizards, here to take all the water on the planet and use us as food, leaving a barren unpopulated desert world.
8. He tries to take it to the media but finds that the visitors have preempted him.
9. A resistance forms.

Also at some point, they manage to market action figures to a growing sector of indoctrinated kiddies, who wear alien style jumpsuits and inform on their scientist-loving parents. Great stuff.
posted by condour75 at 6:03 PM on June 10, 2003

As I remember it, the Tenktonese (I am a nerd) in Alien Nation were allergic to saline water, not necessarily just water. Incidentally, robbie01, the ship was damaged and had to land on earth. As I remember the show, there was a great deal of attention paid to the fact that when the Tenktonese got here, several of them dies because they ended up near seashores, and almost all of them had a rash for weeks when they were first settling. The show, after being cancelled, had a three part finale about a year later, and this was addressed because a 'spy/recon man" from Tenkton was sent to Earth to get all the slave Tenktonese back. They discovered he was not a refugee that lived in the woods for fear of being caught by the overlords because he had the salt water rash.
I loved this series.
posted by oflinkey at 7:44 PM on June 10, 2003

At the risk of revealing what an utter geek I am, Kenneth Johnson, who is writing the script for this proposed three-hour movie, was involved in the first miniseries, which featured the themes set out by condour75. He was originally on board for the second miniseries, but left in disgust when the project became driven towards the Star Child crap.

So essentially if Johnson was to bring back V, he'd be bringing back the spirit of the first miniseries. (Although I have to agree with the sentiments here to bring back Michael Ironside, if only because Ironside plays the wisecracking mercenary who could stab you in the back at any moment so well.)

Kenneth Johnson was also responsible for the Alien Nation series and subsequent TV movies. While I will confess that V almost entirely ripped off its premise from Childhood's End (and Independence Day, in turn, ripped off its flying saucer look from V), what distinguishes Johnson's sci-fi television work is the character depth and social themes that run throughout his opuses.

What people forget about V is how it was the first major television production to use CG effects. My thinking here is that Johnson will attempt something similarly ambitious effects-wise, while simultaneously offering a mass entertainment that has more brain cells than the standard talkdown skiffy.

What they also forget is that the first miniseries went out of its way to focus on many disparate characters. You had scientists. You had a family -- even a father forced to turn in the Resistance, confronted by a Visitor who offered a very O'Brien-like dilemma. You had a migrant farm worker smuggling targeted people across the border of Los Angeles. You had Donovan's mother, who was a by-the-business turncoat of the worst kind. You had guerilla media and guerilla fighters. You even had some inner-city action with a pusher turned freedom fighter.

That Johnson managed to cover such expanse for a major TV movie is astonishing (he had just read War and Peace), when you consider the battles he had to fight, the pressures he was under (this was the most expensive television production at the time) and the fact that he managed to get it all shot in something like 45 days.
posted by ed at 8:33 PM on June 10, 2003

What people forget about V is how it was the first major television production to use CG effects.

Huh? V aired less than a year after the release of Tron. The state of the art can't have advanced that far -- from spare, geometric lightcycles to detailed mile-wide motherships -- in so short a time. Especially on a TV budget.

Also, what's this about Sandman, widdershins?
posted by jjg at 9:06 PM on June 10, 2003

I liked how the Aliens in AlienNation got drunk off spoilt milk.
posted by muckster at 9:21 PM on June 10, 2003

offtopic, but after perusing muckster's link to the new Battlestar Galactica site...

Boomer and STARBUCK are GIRLS?

wow. at least Starbuck is cute

my god, there go the last vestiges of my sanity

people on the boards over there are already calling it "Polistar Correctica"...
posted by badzen at 1:35 AM on June 11, 2003

Amen, Hildago. Amen.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:18 AM on June 11, 2003

Kenneth Johnson goes way back. He was a writer and producer on The Six Million Dollar Man, for example, and executive producer on The Incredible Hulk.
posted by kindall at 8:56 AM on June 11, 2003

And Marc Singer, if only to kill him off in a gruesome way

But, not before he has sex with Shari Belafonte.

Wait, maybe I'm getting my Marc Singer movies mixed up.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:04 AM on June 11, 2003

When that half alien kid stuck out that forked tongue, I was scarred for life. I also liked it when that drunk alien went "mousing" by fishing for mice in a dumpster. Mmmm, mice....
posted by adampsyche at 9:05 AM on June 11, 2003

"Huh? V aired less than a year after the release of Tron."

Of course Tron was a feature film, rather than a one-off TV miniseries that may or may not have paid off.
posted by spirit72 at 5:46 PM on June 11, 2003

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