V (1984 TV series)

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This article is about the original series; for the 2009 series, see V (2009 TV series), for other versions, see V (science fiction).
V
Genre Science fiction
Created by Kenneth Johnson
Starring Marc Singer
Faye Grant
Jane Badler
Lane Smith
Blair Tefkin
Jennifer Cooke
Michael Ironside
Michael Wright
Robert Englund
Jeff Yagher
June Chadwick
Composer(s) Dennis McCarthy
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 19 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Daniel H. Blatt
Robert Singer
Producer(s) Dean O'Brien
Skip Ward
Running time 47 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Picture format Film
Audio format Monaural
Original run October 26, 1984 (1984-10-26) – March 22, 1985 (1985-03-22)
Chronology
Preceded by V (1983 miniseries)
V: The Final Battle
Related shows V (2009 TV series)
A uniform from the TV show at Stockholm International Fairs 2011.

V (also known as V: The Series) is a 60 minute (47 to 49 minutes without commercials) weekly television series that aired in the United States on NBC in 1984-85. It is a continuation of the science fiction franchise about an alien invasion of Earth by a carnivorous race of reptilians known as "The Visitors" which was originally conceived by American writer, producer, and director Kenneth Johnson. Johnson, however, was not involved in the production of the weekly series. At a cost of one million dollars per episode, V was the most expensive series to be produced for television.[1]

Plot[edit]

Following directly on from the events of the mini-series V: The Final Battle, the alien Diana escapes from her captured mothership in a shuttle, but is pursued by resistance member Mike Donovan. After a short fight, Donovan captures her.

One year after the day the Red Dust was deployed, now the international holiday called "Liberation Day", the former members of the Resistance and their Fifth Column allies have gone their separate ways and are each looking forward to prosperous careers and bright futures. As Diana is about to be put on trial for the atrocities she committed during the First Invasion, the company responsible for mass production of the Red Dust, Science Frontiers, has her abducted and taken to a secret cabin in the woods outside Los Angeles, where the company's CEO, Nathan Bates, offers Diana better accommodations in exchange for providing him with access to alien technology.

Donovan and Martin, meanwhile, pursue Nathan's agents in a stolen helicopter. After reaching the cabin, Donovan is knocked unconscious by Martin, who wants Diana dead. Before Martin can kill her, Diana is able to overpower him, stealing his pistol. She forces him to surrender his last antidote pill so she can temporarily survive on Earth and then shoots him, enabling her escape to the Southwest Tracking Station.

Martin tells Donovan about Diana's plan to contact the Visitor Fleet moments before his death, and Donovan sets off after her on foot. Donovan meets Ham Tyler, on Bates' payroll, and the two agree to pursue Diana together. Their attempts to stop her fail, and Diana escapes to a shuttle sent by a Visitor fleet hidden behind the Moon. Diana takes command and launches a full-scale invasion of Earth. She learns that the Red Dust bacterium needs freezing temperatures to regenerate, meaning that Visitor troops can safely attack Los Angeles and other cities in warmer climates.

The Resistance assembles once more, now fighting the Visitors nationwide and also contending with the power-hungry Bates, who has used the power vacuum left behind by the collapse of the government to become governor of Los Angeles, declared an open city to both sides. The Resistance fights however it can, often joined by other rebel groups. Although 50% of the Earth is still protected from The Visitors by the Red Dust, the Resistance cannot use any more of it due to the toxic long-term effects it will have on the environment. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who has transformed yet again and now looks like a young adult, becomes increasingly important in the cause for Earth's freedom, eventually controlling the destiny of both races and deciding the outcome of the conflict.

Episodes list[edit]

Cast and Characters[edit]

Many of the cast and characters reprised their roles from The original miniseries and V (The Final Battle). The only character to be played by different actor was Sean Donovan (Nicky Katt replaced Eric Johnston in the role).

Main Cast[edit]

The following cast appear in every episode:

  • Jane Badler as Diana - Supreme Commander of the Visitors
  • Marc Singer as Mike Donovan - Co-Leader of the Resistance (former TV reporter)
  • Faye Grant as Juliet Parish - Founder of the Resistance (former medical student) (Faye Grant makes no appearance in the episode "Secret Underground")
  • Robert Englund as Willie - Visitor Resistance member

Supporting Cast - Recurring Characters[edit]

The following cast appear in multiple episodes:

  • June Chadwick as Lydia (episodes 2-19) - Fleet security officer sent by the Leader to Earth to commence the second invasion, she resents Diana's disobedience of command.
  • Frank Ashmore as Martin and twin brother Philip (episodes 1; 14-19) - A Fifth Column leader and friend of Mike, Martin attempts to assassinate a captured Diana, but she manages to kill him and escape from the Resistance. Martin's identical twin, Philip, is an Inspector General who comes to Earth to investigate the murder of Supreme Commander Charles. Philip himself eventually joins the Fifth Column.
  • Michael Wright as Elias Taylor (episodes 1-11) - A now semi-retired Resistance member, Elias runs the Club Creole restaurant, which becomes the informal headquarters of the Resistance. Continuing to sympathize with the Resistance, Elias provides employment and safe refuge to Willie and Elizabeth. Club Creole is destroyed by a Visitor raid and Elias is later killed attempting to rescue Robin Maxwell.
  • Lane Smith as Nathan Bates (episodes 1-13) - CEO of biotech company Science Frontiers, which mass-produced the Red Dust toxin. Bates' thirst for power sees him consistently blackmail Diana to gain control of the Los Angeles area, which becomes an "open city." He is killed by his henchman, Mr. Chiang.
  • Jeff Yagher as Kyle Bates (episodes 3-19) - The disowned rebel son of Nathan Bates, Kyle joins the Resistance, eventually becoming one of its leaders. He falls in love with Elizabeth, and then apparently stows away on The Leader's spacecraft to follow her when she goes into space.
  • Aki Aleong as Mr. Chiang (episodes 1-14) - A henchman of Nathan Bates, Chiang is tasked mainly with tracking Kyle. While Bates is in a coma from being shot accidentally during a plot to assassinate Mike, Chiang betrays Bates and makes a deal with the Visitors. The deal sees Chiang murder Bates in order to gain control of Los Angeles. Kyle later kills Chiang as revenge for his father's death.
  • Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler (episodes 1-12) - A former CIA agent and Resistance hitman, he is actually in the employ of Nathan Bates as a hitman when the series begins. He soon defects back to the Resistance, but is captured and undergoes conversion by Charles to assassinate Mike. The assassination attempt is unsuccessful, and Ham later departs for Chicago with Chris and Robin.
  • Mickey Jones as Chris Farber (episodes 9-11) - Best friend of Ham Tyler, he continues to aid the Resistance. He eventually leaves for Chicago with Ham and Robin.
  • Jenny Beck as young Elizabeth, the Starchild (episode 1) - She retreats into a cocoon by the end of the first episode to undergo metamorphosis. Jenny Beck makes another brief appearance as the young version of a clone of Elizabeth that Diana produces to serve her own ends.
  • Jennifer Cooke as the post-metamorphosis Elizabeth (episode 2-19) - She searches for her mother, Robin. She falls in love with Kyle, which is complicated by Robin's own attraction to him. Elizabeth possesses supernatural powers, which she uses to assist the Resistance. She communicates and meets with the Leader to negotiate peace.
  • Michael Durrell as Robert Maxwell (episodes 1-2) - The scientist father of Robin and grandfather of Elizabeth, Robert is mortally wounded and sacrifices himself to stop the Triax superweapon, saving Los Angeles from destruction.
  • Blair Tefkin as Robin Maxwell (episodes 1-12) - Elizabeth's mother. At the start of the series, Robin has gone missing. She reunites with Elizabeth after the latter's metamorphosis, but tension soon runs high between mother and daughter after Robin learns that Kyle, to whom she is attracted, has eyes for Elizabeth. Robin and Elizabeth eventually reconcile. After another Visitor tries to impregnate her, Robin leaves Los Angeles for Chicago in the company of Chris Farber and Ham Tyler.
  • Duncan Regehr as Charles (episodes 10-13) - Personal envoy of the Leader and a member of the Royal House of Raman, he is sent by the Leader to take over military operations from Diana. He schemes to wipe out the Resistance and kill Mike Donovan. Suave and charismatic, Charles is known as a ladies' man. Annoyed at Diana's defiance of him, he uses his power of betrothal to order her to marry him within 12 hours, so that she will be forced to return to the Homeworld to bear his offspring. After seeing her naked in a ceremonial bath prior to the wedding, however, he changes his mind and arranges for her to stay. Charles dies after Diana, who correctly suspected that Lydia would try to assassinate her by poisoning the wine in her ceremonial chalice, switches her cup with his; Charles drinks the wine and realizes too late that it has been poisoned.
  • Peter Elbling as Oswald (episodes 15; 17-18) - Visitor underling of Diana, he is a mortician and an interior decorator. Diana had him "procure" several sexual partners for her pleasure, a job he enjoyed immensely. He displays traits of a very flamboyant and openly homosexual man, but had enough modesty and morals to eschew what he considered stereotypical gay behavior, such as "bathousing and barbarism." Nevertheless, he did enjoy indulging in sexual pleasures on occasion.
  • Judson Scott as Lieutenant James (episodes 11-19) - Lieutenant Visitor with ambitious goals who beds Diana to climb to the top.
  • Nicky Katt as Sean Donovan (episodes 5-6) - The son of Mike Donovan, previously converted by Diana and released as a spy in the Resistance. He was later re-captured by the Visitors from a boarding school at Ojai at the start of the series (not seen on screen but discussed). He resists his father's attempts to rescue him.

Intro[edit]

The title sequence for Episodes 1-13 featured theme music derived from incidental music previously used in The Final Battle over the main cast credits.

With Episode 14, a new intro was introduced with Michael Ironside, Lane Smith, Blair Tefkin and Michael Wright removed from the credits along with different theme music and a new monologue describing the premise of the show:

[Narrator] They arrived in 50 motherships offering their friendship and advanced technology to Earth. Skeptical of the Visitors, Mike Donovan and Julie Parish infiltrated their ranks and soon discovered some startling secrets .... [Julie Parish] They're shipping food! .... [Narrator] The Resistance is all that stands between us and the Visitors."[2]

Marketing[edit]

  • The viral marketing campaign was unique. Posters appearead in train stations of a smiling man behind wraparound sunglasses, others grinning along with him, with only a motto "The Visitors are our friends" to explain it. Days later, those posters had a red "v" (for "victory") spray-painted on them. Nothing suggested this was an ad for a TV show.[3]

International Broadcasters[edit]

Reception[edit]

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote: "...a TV series with so much promise -- based on two successful, highly rated science fiction miniseries on NBC in the early 1980s -- produced such a silly, loathsome mess...NBC tried to make a weekly series out of [the mini-series that unraveled] the show so terribly it must surely rank as one of the worst TV sci-fi experiments ever. The cast becomes dangerously unstable. Ironside quits in the middle of the show's run with no apparent reason. Others are killed without meaning. The special effects are cheapened and the use of stock footage -- previously filmed scenes used again and again -- is maddening. (At one point, they actually used stock footage from the previous week's episode.)... What was once a pretty decent science fiction saga with good drama, humor and suspense ends up becoming "Dynasty" with lizard makeup and laser guns. There's even an episode in which Diana marries her alien boss named (what else?) Charles."[4]

Production notes[edit]

  • The TV series' single season was released on LaserDisc in Japan in April 1989 (bilingual English/Japanese with subtitles) as a massive 10-disc box set, which included a "Diana Special" (in Japanese only) on side 20. It was later issued on Region 1 DVD in 2004, and Region 2 in 2008.
  • The weekly series reused a lot of action footage from the mini-series. This was especially evident in the Visitor skyfighter chase scene in the pilot episode, where nearly all external shots were lifted from the climax scene of the original mini-series.
  • In the original mini-series and The Final Battle, the Visitors' voices were given, among other post-processing, a pitch shift effect. This was dropped from the weekly series.

Comic Book[edit]

DC Comics published 18 issues of a "V" comic book concurrently with the TV series. [1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
1985 37th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Makeup Nominated
1988 Royal Television Society Most Original Programme Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1985). Encyclopedia of Television: Series, Pilots, and Specials, Volume 2 1974-1985. VNR AG. p. 500. 
  2. ^ "CTVA.biz". 
  3. ^ Johnson, Allan (August 12, 1996). ""V": It was a different kind of mini-series when NBC first...". Chicago Tribune. 
  4. ^ Finney, Daniel P. (July 27, 2004). ""V" is no victory for fans of '80s sci-fi shows". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

External links[edit]