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This show is apart of the both the Kenneth Johnson the NBC Continuities.
V is a science fiction two-part television miniseries, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson that tells a cautionary tail about how easily fascism can take hold in any society. V does this with aliens, The Visitors filling the role of the fascists who are able to take over Earth without firing a shot.
The landmark miniseries stars Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Michael Durrell, Jenny Sullivan, Richard Herd, Peter Nelson, David Packer, Blair Tefkin, Diane Civita, Richard Lawson, and Robert Englund.
In the early 1980s, aliens arrive on Earth in a fleet of 50; 3 mile in diameter saucer-shaped motherships. Each of these huge vessels hovers over one major city.
|Geneva||New York City|
|Saint Louis||San Francisco|
Addis Abeba is suggested from the archeological dig seen and El Salvidor is suggested from the mothership observed during opening scenes. All other cities are mentioned by name.
After their shuttle lands on the roof of the United Nations building in New York, the aliens reveal themselves to be very human in appearance, but they require sun glasses to protect their eyes in bright sunlight and they have a distinctive low resonance to their voices.
They refer to themselves simply as the Visitors and they tell us that they are here in friendship and to seek humanity's help in obtaining chemicals needed to aid their ailing world. In return for Earth's help they promise to share their advanced technology with humanity. The governments of Earth accept the arrangement, and the Visitors, led by their leader John and his second in Command and head scientist Diana, gain considerable influence with human authorities.
Very soon after their avail terrestrial scientists start to find themselves facing increasing media hostility, and government restrictions on their activities and movements. Many scientists and others keen on examining the Visitors more closely begin to disappear or are discredited. Noted scientists confess to subversive activities. Besides confessing to these actions these scientists exhibit unusual behaviors such as suddenly demonstrating an opposite hand preference to the one they are known to have.
Journalist and TV cameraman Michael Donovan sneaks aboard the Visitors' motherships over Los Angles California and discovers that beneath their human like facade, the aliens are carnivorous reptilian humanoids who prefer to eat their food (rodents and birds) alive. Donovan covertly records on video tape the Visitors eating and discussing their real plans for Earth, but just as this exposé is about to air, this and all other terrestrial broadcasts are interrupted by a Visitor signal. The Visitor declare Donovan a criminal. Donovan finds that one minute he is a trusted friend to the Visitors and then the next he is a fugitive pursued by both the human and Visitors police forces.
Being the mostly likely to discover the Visitor secrets and to provide the human population with an easy scapegoat human scientists all around the world continue to be persecuted.
Humans deemed important to the Visitor control of the earth are subjected to Diana's special mind control process called Conversion. The Conversion Process has the ability to turn humans into the Visitors' pawns. If done well the process may only leaves subtle behavioral clues to this manipulation. Others who are deemed to strong willed or are not important to the Visitors are subjects of biological experiments and torture.
Some humans (including Mike Donovan's mother, Eleanor Dupres) willingly collaborate with the Visitors, seduced by their power. Daniel Bernstein, a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, joins the Visitor Youth and begins to reveal the locations of traitors to the alien cause. One teenager, Robin Maxwell, the daughter of Robert Maxwell a prominent anthropologist, is seduced by Brian, a male Visitor. Diana, knowing Robin's infatuation with Brian sets up a "medical experiment." In the experiment Brian successfully impregnates Robin.
Soon after the Visitor take over resistance movements are formed all over the world. Among other things these movements are determined to expose and oppose the Visitors as much as possible. The movement in Los Angeles is lead, reluctantly by Dr. Juliet "Julie" Parish. Donovan is later assimilated into the group.
After again sneaking on to the Los Angles mothership, Donovan learns from a Visitor named Martin that the story told to humanity about the needed chemicals is merely a diversion. The true purpose of the Visitors' trip to Earth is to conquer and subdue the planet, steal all of the Earth's water and harvest the human race as food, slaves, and soldiers/cannon fodder in the Visitors' war with the Enemy. Donovan also discovers there are dissidents among the Visitors (later known as the Fifth Column ) who oppose their Leader's plans. Martin promises to aid the Resistance, and gives Donovan access to a Visitor Fighter craft.
The Los Angles Resistance cell strike their first blows against the Visitors, while procuring laboratory equipment and weapons to carry on the fight.
The resistance hoping the Visitor's enemy is humanity's friend, sends a signal into space hoping for an answer.
The symbol of the resistance is blood-red letter V's spray-painted over posters promoting Visitor friendship among humans.
In a commentary track on the DVD release of the first miniseries, Johnson reveals that V was originally intended as a straightforward political thriller, charting the rise of a fascist movement in the United States. However, NBC wanted a sci-fi hit, to capitalize on the success of films like Star Wars and Star Trek.
The story is very much a Nazi allegory, right down to the Swastika-like emblem used by the Visitors. The Visitors even have a youth auxiliary group called the "Friends of the Visitors" with obvious similarities to the Hitler Youth. The Visitor broadcasts even mimic Nazi era propaganda. How Kenneth Johnson wrote the portrayal of human interaction with the Visitors bears a striking resemblance to stories from Occupied Europe during the World War II of some citizens choosing collaboration while others chose to join underground resistance movements.
In Germany, the Nazis primarily persecuted Jews while the Visitors were depicted persecuting scientists, their families, and anyone associating with them. The Visitors also distributed propaganda in an effort to hide their true identity and mission. Some of the central characters in the initial series were from a Jewish family. The family's grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, frequently commented on the events of the past again unfolding. The Visitors declared martial law to control the scientists as well. In addition, direct figure analogies are used, such as the senior Visitor scientist, Diana, who is a direct analogue of Dr. Josef Mengele.
The original miniseries ran for 197 minutes and was very successful. So successful that NBC wanted a sequel, V: The Final Battle, which was meant to conclude the story. The second miniseries did so well that NBC and Warner Brothers green lighted a weekly television series in 1984-85 that continued the story a year after The Final Battle. Johnson left V during The Final Battle because of creative differences.
- The concept of lizard-like aliens who appear human, and who plot to control humanity, is similar to some fringe theories - see Reptiloid.
- In the original miniseries and The Final Battle, the Visitors' voices were given, among other post-processing, a pitch shift effect - to give them an otherworldly demeanor even though they looked (outwardly, at least) like normal human beings. This was dropped from the weekly series, evidently due to budgetary constraints.