Thursday, 26 January 2012


Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:May 1983 - March 1985
Country of origin:USA
Genre:Alien invasion, conspiracy paranoia, Cult classic
Starring:Faye Grant, Marc Singer, Jane Badler, Richard Herd, Michael Durrell, Michael Ironside, Robert Englund, Michael Wright
Rating:V: The Miniseries - 5/5
V: Final Battle - 5/5
V: The Series - 2/5
No. of seasons:3

Kenneth Johnson's fondly remembered alien invasion tale really has stood the test of time.
The plot should be known to all but the youngest of sci-fi aficionados:
Simultaneously across the globe, huge spacecraft descend from the heavens and hover menacingly over all the major cities of the Earth. After a nervous wait, the Visitors announce themselves and their intentions. "Don't worry Earthlings, we come in peace, and want only to ask for your help. In return, we'll give you many of valuable resources and technologies to better mankind." And what is it that they want?
Why, nothing more than our waste by-products as, apparently, they need it for their own planet's salvation. As one character intones: "Seems like an offer we can't refuse", eliciting the pithy response from future resistance fighter leader Julia Parish "I wonder what would happen if we did."
Inevitably, all is not as it seems, and The Visitors are in fact a race of reptilian conquerors, whose sole aim is strip mining the resources from planets and harvesting the inhabitants for food.
Additionally, they have the rather disturbing habit of eating mice, rats and birds live, gulping them down in the manner of a crocodile.
As luck would have it, not all of them are PURE EVIL, and a Fifth Column exists to aid the human rebellion.
As the use of the term Fifth Column suggests, there are parallels drawn here with the Nazi occupation of Europe, with resistance fighters (The Maquis), the Visitor's stylised logo (eerily reminiscent of a Swastika), and human collaborators (the Vichy regime) betraying their own for a profit or the promise of power.
Well executed, and with a timeless plotline, this is a bonafide cult classic, and deserves to be on every sci-fi geeks must have DVD list, if only for the spine-tingling, lip-quivering speech of ageing Jewish character Abraham Bernstein:

"....They'd shaved her head. I can still see her waving to me, as they marched her off with the others to the showers - the showers with no water....."

I cry everytime I watch that bit.
And I'm a big hairy man.

UPDATE: Have recently ploughed my way through The Series and Christ on crutches, it was a sufferance. I honestly cannot recall another series that started so superbly descending into something so unwatchable. All of the elements that made both The Miniseries and The Final Battle are gone, and are replaced with sub A-Team style tomfoolery and a level of script-writing that the He-Man cartoon writers would have baulked at.
V: The Miniseries and V: The Final Battle are fantastic.
V: The Series - truly, truly awful

Find more details here:

V: The Miniseries
V: Final Battle
V: The Series

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