|Created by||Kenneth Johnson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||19 (+1 unfilmed) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||47 minutes|
|Original release||October 26, 1984 –|
March 22, 1985
V (also known as V: The Series) is an American science fiction television series that aired in the United States on NBC from October 26, 1984, to March 22, 1985. It is a continuation of the V franchise about an alien invasion of Earth by a carnivorous race of reptilians known as "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.
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 that 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.
Cast and characters
Many of the cast from the original miniseries and V: The Final Battle reprised their role in the weekly series. The only character to be played by a different actor was Sean Donovan (Nicky Katt replaced Eric Johnston in the role).
- Jane Badler as Diana – Supreme Commander of the Visitors
- Marc Singer as Mike Donovan – Co-Leader of the Resistance (former TV cameraman)
- Faye Grant as Juliet Parrish – Founder of the Resistance (former medical student)
- Robert Englund as Willie – Visitor Resistance member
- June Chadwick as Lydia (episodes 2–8; 10-19) – Fleet security officer sent by the Leader to Earth to commence the second invasion, she resents Diana's disobedience of command.
- 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.
- 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. The Ham Tyler character was to have returned in the unfilmed final episode of the first season, although there is no information on whether Ironside would have reprised the role.
- 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.
- 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.
The following cast appear in multiple episodes:
- Frank Ashmore as Martin and twin brother Philip (episodes 1; 14–19 and 20 unfilmed) – 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.
- Aki Aleong as Mr. Chiang (episodes 5–12) – 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.
- 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 1,2,4,9) – She retreats into a cocoon by the end of the first episode to undergo metamorphosis. Beck makes another brief appearance as the young version of a clone of Elizabeth that Diana produces to serve her own ends.
- 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.
- 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 and 20 unfilmed) – 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 "bathhousing and barbarism." Nevertheless, he did enjoy indulging in sexual pleasures on occasion.
- Judson Scott as Lieutenant James (episodes 11–19 and 20 unfilmed) – Lieutenant Visitor with ambitious goals who beds Diana to climb to the top.
- Nicky Katt as Sean Donovan (episodes 4,5) – 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.
- Howard K. Smith as himself (episodes 3–13) – Smith appeared briefly at beginning of several episodes playing a newscaster (his former real-life profession) describing recent (off-camera) actions by the Visitors and the Fifth Column, sometimes providing expositional background for events in that night's episode. He did not interact with any of the other characters.
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:
They arrived in 50 motherships offering their friendship and advanced technology to Earth. Skeptical of the Visitors, Mike Donovan and Juliet Parrish infiltrated their ranks and soon discovered some startling secrets.
Juliet Parrish: They're shipping food!
The Resistance is all that stands between us and the Visitors.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Liberation Day"||Paul Krasny||Paul Monash||October 26, 1984|
|The first anniversary of the day the aliens were defeated could lead to Earth's last day: alien commander Diana escapes and reunites with her fleet. Diana kills Martin in order to get his supply of the red dust antidote. The Starchild undergoes a strange metamorphosis.|
|2||"Dreadnought"||Paul Krasny||Steven E. de Souza||November 2, 1984|
|Diana talks peace while readying the fearsome Triax superweapon that could reduce Los Angeles to rubble. Meanwhile, Resistance fighters activate a new weapon of their own: a captured mothership. Robert Maxwell is killed when he collides the mothership into the Triax in order to destroy it.|
|3||"Breakout"||Ray Austin||David Braff||May 24, 1985|
Combatants held in a Visitor work camp face the flesh-consuming alien monster that guards the camp. Hunters of the 5-year old Starchild are unaware she has morphed into a fully grown woman.Note: This episode was rejected by NBC in the series' first run because of its violence. It was however shown during the reruns and was included in VHS and DVD releases. However, because of the switch in original order, this episode has continuity errors when watched in the original intended order. For example, while Ham meets Kyle for the first time in this episode, he then meets him again for the first time in the next episode. Robin meets up with the group during this episode, but is once again alone searching for help at the beginning of the next episode. There are also several other minor plot inconsistencies.
|4||"The Deception"||Victor Lobl||Garner Simmons||November 9, 1984|
|Mike awakens to an ideal family life in a world where the Earth has triumphed; however, this life is part of an alien holographic ruse aimed at gathering information about the Starchild Elizabeth.|
|5||"The Sanction"||Bruce Seth Green||Brian Taggert||November 16, 1984|
|The top pupil at the visitor Youth Corps is Mike's missing son Sean. Standing in the way of his rescue are a fearsome alien and the boy's conflicted allegiance. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who is now an adult woman after days previously resembling a ten-year-old, reunites with her mother Robin, who has not seen her since her metamorphosis.|
|6||"Visitor's Choice"||Gilbert M. Shilton||David Braff||November 23, 1984|
|Bates imposes a curfew in the open city of Los Angeles in an attempt to curb resistance activity; Donovan and Ham make plans to hit a Visitors' conference.|
|7||"The Overlord"||Bruce Seth Green||David Abramowitz||November 30, 1984|
|A citizen who rallies the Resistance to aid a downtrodden mining community has a dangerous secret agenda. Julie faces allegations of treason.|
|8||"The Dissident"||Walter Grauman||Paul F. Edwards||December 7, 1984|
|When the Visitors place a force field around Los Angeles, the Resistance captures its creator as part of a plan to shut it down.|
|9||"Reflections in Terror"||Kevin Hooks||Chris Manheim||December 21, 1984|
|Bates's trickery signals destruction for the Resistance headquarters. Diana uses a blood sample to generate a deadly clone of Elizabeth, which escapes.|
|10||"The Conversion"||Gilbert M. Shilton||Brian Taggert||January 4, 1985|
|After Ham and Kyle are captured, the Leader's envoy Charles programs Ham with a new conversion technique to kill Donovan during a prisoner exchange.|
|11||"The Hero"||Kevin Hooks||Carleton Eastlake||January 11, 1985|
|Bates's police arrest Resistance sympathizers, including Robin, and threaten to execute a prisoner a day until Rebel leaders surrender. Elias is killed by a death ray trying to rescue Robin.|
|12||"The Betrayal"||Gilbert M. Shilton||Mark Rosner||January 18, 1985|
|Rebels abduct an alien medical student to treat a gravely wounded Willie; Charles plots to overthrow the comatose Nathan Bates.|
|13||"The Rescue"||Kevin Hooks||Garner Simmons||February 1, 1985|
|Charles forces Diana to marry him, knowing that alien law requires her to return home to bear his offspring. She is visibly unhappy with the arrangement, but follows through under duress. Lydia is divided in her opinion, while she is happy Diana will be leaving, because of her feelings for Charles, she is also disappointed that he has chosen Diana over her. The Resistance crumbles under heavy fire in Los Angeles, headed by Diana's favoured Lieutenant, James. Julie risks her life to assist with the delivery of a baby to an old friend of hers and his heavily pregnant wife. The birth is a success. Unable to prevent the wedding, Diana is officially wedded to Charles. Lydia in a final desperate attempt to be with Charles, poisons Diana's chalice. In their private quarters Charles and Diana drink together in celebration, with Diana suggesting that Charles "takes her cup" just as he "takes her". They each drink from the other's cup and Charles is poisoned and dies. Lydia enters and is horrified to discover what has happened and Diana orders Lydia's immediate arrest for wanton murder.|
|14||"The Champion"||Cliff Bole||Paul F. Edwards||February 8, 1985|
In the aftermath of a wedding night that left the alien commander dead, Lydia is sentenced to death in a rapid trial headed by Diana. At the last minute, Inspector General Philip (who happens to be Martin's twin brother) arrives, and commutes Lydia's sentence due to lack of evidence that she had intended to kill Charles, especially with the possibility that it may have been Diana who was responsible for the commander's death (she had handed him the poisoned cup after all). Since Lydia's intended target was actually Diana, making Diana the only accuser of the crime, Diana and Lydia put on body armor and pick up laser weapons in preparation for a ritual battle to the death. Lydia is victorious in the battle, but before she can perform the death blow, Philip abruptly halts the proceedings. Mike and Kyle befriend a local resistance force headed by Kathy Courtney. Mike promises Kathy's daughter, Jesse, that he will return to visit them when the war is over. Meanwhile, Philip mentions that another set of fingerprints was found on the bottle of poison and so until the case is fully investigated, Lydia and Diana must look after one another. Should any grievous harm occur to one of them, the other will be automatically accused of the murder of Charles.Note: New opening credits were introduced in this episode.
|15||"The Wildcats"||John Florea||David Braff||February 15, 1985|
|Rivals become scheming allies when Diana and Lydia learn that if the commander's murderer isn't found, Visitor law requires that all suspects be buried with him. A street gang assists the Resistance.|
|16||"The Littlest Dragon"||Cliff Bole||David Abramowitz||February 22, 1985|
|Mike and Kyle come to the rescue of two Fifth Column fugitives, Robert, and his pregnant wife, Glenda (Wendy Fulton), who have survived Diana's purge of the Fifth Column's agents, and escaped from the mothership after Robert sabotaged the proposed mission to kill several Resistance operatives with a hidden explosive device and stole the borellium crystals that powered the LA Mothership's laser cannons. Diana sends out a cadet, Angela, to capture Mike and kill the renegade couple, while Philip follows her. Meanwhile, when the fugitive couple take shelter at a warehouse, Glenda gives birth to an egg hatched into her new baby son, whom Mike and Kyle manage to safely deliver for her. Donovan and Bates succeed in repelling Visitor attackers and Philip, who is revealed to be a leader within the Fifth Column. Angela attempts to kill him but is finally shot down by Glenda.|
|17||"War of Illusions"||Earl Bellamy||John Simmons||March 8, 1985|
|A teenaged computer whiz Henry Atkins (Josh Richman) hacks into and disrupts the Visitors' sophisticated new Battlesphere system, but he insists that the Resistance first rescue his father Dr. David Atkins (Conrad Janis) from alien captivity.|
|18||"The Secret Underground"||Cliff Bole||Teleplay by : David Braff & Colley Cibber|
Story by : David Abramowitz & Donald R. Boyle
|March 15, 1985|
|A computerized list of Fifth Columnists has been taken by James, prompting one of them to steal the disk and escape. He is shot and stumbles his way into a hall where the Visitors are preparing for their celebration of Ramalon. This prompts Donovan and Julie to pose as collaborators, go aboard the Mothership, and retrieve the disk.|
|19||"The Return"||John Florea||Teleplay by : David Abramowitz & Donald R. Boyle|
Story by : David Braff & Colley Cibber
|March 22, 1985|
Just as James and his shock troops corner the Resistance, Philip orders the Visitors to cease all hostilities and return to the Mothership. The Resistance discovers that the Visitors have made a worldwide ceasefire and that a majority are retreating from Earth. Via Elizabeth, it is discovered the Leader is coming to Earth to negotiate peace, and he has asked Elizabeth and the Resistance to come to the Mothership.
Diana and James decide to extend the war by arming the energy swords of Phillip and Donovan during a supposedly non-lethal duel. When this attempt fails, Diana blackmails James into attempting to assassinate the Leader by having his troops blow up the Leader's shuttle. When the destroyed shuttle is revealed as a decoy, Diana stages a coup and attempts to self-destruct the fusion reactors of the Mothership in order to kill everyone aboard and destroy Earth. It is only the Leader, working through Elizabeth telepathically, who is able to stop the self-destruct.The Leader arrives, Diana and James are captured, and Elizabeth boards the Leader's shuttle to return to the Visitor home world to guarantee peace. The episode and the series ends on a cliffhanger with Kyle stowing away on the shuttle Elizabeth and the Leader is traveling in, which also has a "going-away present" from Diana aboard.
|20||"The Attack"||TBD||David Braff & Paul F. Edward||partially filmed|
The conclusion to the cliff hanger that was created in "The Return", and the intended conclusion for the series. Kyle is transported by Elizabeth to an alternate dimension where he sees both her and The Leader, a massive four armed Visitor. Elizabeth explains that in the distant past that the rulers of "Saurus" feared that one of their group would become too strong and thus broke "The Anyx", which was the source of their power. Part of the Anyx had been hidden on Earth.
Donovan and Julie make contact with Ham Tyler with the intent of renewing his search for Sean. Meanwhile Diana escapes and the Leader's shuttle is destroyed, but is revealed to have been a decoy. Julie is killed as the Resistance, while Elizabeth refuses to rule at The Leader's side and rejoins her friends. They return to Earth and are reunited with Ham Tyler, who meets them in a Road Warrior styled vehicle. The remaining Resistance fighters hit the road, with Season 2's focus to be the search for the missing piece of the Anyx.Production of this episode ceased when the series was cancelled.
Although the show had been cancelled in March 1985, the sets from the production remained in storage for some time as discussions transpired over rendering a conclusion to the V saga. Among the options explored were a stand-alone TV movie or a final miniseries. Several scenarios were discussed:
- The Resistance goes to the Visitor homeworld and attempt to stop Diana from assassinating the Leader
- An exploration of the aftermath of the peace treaty in "The Return". A hardline US government would impose harsh conditions on the Visitors who choose to remain behind after their race departed, leaving the Resistance to ally with them 
In 1989, there was a proposed sequel series by J. Michael Straczynski entitled "V: The Next Chapter" that would have followed up five years after the conclusion of the original show. Ham Tyler would have been the only character to have returned and would have taken place in Chicago. The rest of the remaining cast had been temporarily or permanently written off, with Mike Donovan captured, Willie executed, Lydia assassinated, Julie living in exile in Australia, Diana reassigned, and Elizabeth having died. Warner Brothers ultimately passed on the project.
In the Nielsen ratings, V's initial episode made its debut at a mediocre 34th place, tied with three other shows. By episode 13, it had slipped to 53rd place. For the season, V finished ranked 57th with a 12.5 rating/18 share.
On Rotten Tomatoes, V has an aggregate score of 67% based on 16 positive and 8 negative critic reviews. The website’s consensus reads: "Indefinitely postponing the apocalypse, V fully sheds its original self-seriousness -- along with much of its production value -- and settles into solid camp." 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."
- Despite the high budget, producers had only half the resources given to the production of V: The Final Battle. Executive Story Consultant David Ambromowitz stated, “The budget for the mini-series was about double what we had per hour, so that's what was really difficult. It's impossible to retain the quality of the show with half the money, half the time to shoot things, half the special effects, half the sets, half the characters and half of everything.” 
- Liberation Day's shot of the alien fleet hiding behind the moon was achieved using models (the 30-inch Saucer in the foreground, newly built smaller ships behind and a 36-inch model of the moon's surface) as the budget was insufficient for optical compositing.
- 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, though no explanation was given as to why the Visitors now sounded like humans.
Toys and Collectibles
A 1985 LJN toy line dedicated to the V series was to have been produced, however a March 24, 1985 UPI article on the risks of toy franchising cited that the V line was “not presently in production”.
Awards and nominations
|1985||37th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Makeup||Nominated|
- "The Classic TV Archive "V"". CTVA. Archived from the original on 2017-12-27. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Copp, Dan (March 8, 2017). Fascist Lizards from Outer Space: The Politics, Literary Influences and Cultural History of Kenneth Johnson's V. McFarland & Company. p. 84 85. ISBN 978-1476667126.
- "Visitor Database".
- http://www.sirianlegion.fr/media/reb_a4.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "CBS edged out NBC in the Nielsen ratings last... - UPI Archives".
- "The TV Ratings Guide: 1984-85 Ratings History".
- "V". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
- Finney, Daniel P. (July 27, 2004). ""V" is no victory for fans of '80s sci-fi shows". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "V The Series Review - EP1: Liberation Day Beware the Visitors!". Starlogged. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Jay, Robert (2010-04-01). "Bookshelf: V Novels and Comic Books". Television Obscurities. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
- "Bookshelf: V Novels and Comic Books". April 2010.