V: The Original Miniseries (Arrow Recommends)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site.

PLOT: A humanoid-looking alien species lands on earth in high numbers, nifty outfits and laser guns in tow, to ask for our "help". We quickly find out that these E.T.'s are not what they claim to be and have come to our world for a whole other reason than assistance. Lock, load and whoop alien ass! Or be damned…

"We have come in peace to all mankind. Our planet is the 4th in distance from the star you call Sirius, some 8.7 light years from Earth. This is the first time that we have left our system, and you are the first intelligent life we've encountered. We're pleased to meet you! " – John (Alien)

LOWDOWN: Ahhhh good old V. Man was I hooked on its universe when I was a wee twat. I ate it all up like a lizard at a “all you can eat” rat buffet! Am talking V: The Original Miniseries (1983), V The Final Battle (1984) and V: The Series (1984-1985). NOTE: I never bothered with the 2009-2011 TV remake. Did I miss anything? END OF NOTE. Now, looking at the V world again today, outside of the 1983 V: The Original Miniseries, none of them hold up too well, hefty does of cozy nostalgia aside that is (hard to beat Michael Ironside being a badass dickhead as Ham in the sequel and TV series). 

And that’s because V creator Kenneth Johnson (who was also behind The Bionic Woman and The Incredible Hulk TV shows) booked out after the first mini series over creative differences with the Studio. And he was right to do so. V The Final Battle was just action fluff with none of the smarts of the original. And the TV series was basically a cheesy Soap Opera with aliens in it. But looking at the OG again today; it’s still pretty damn fantastic and is a must-see for every horror/sci-fi purists of the world! Just like any good Sci-Fi does, it used its fictional premise to address real life social issues. In this case it was commenting on a totalitarian regime at work. Yup, V: The Original Miniseries (watch it here) was a cerebral, fleshed out and at times cringe inducing retelling of the Nazi’s rise to power and it didn't pull any punches.

The “Visitors” show up under one pretense (they are our friends and need our help) but they have an ass-rape hidden agenda in store for us. Moreover, their symbol is a play on the Swastika while their uniforms and laser guns (cool as shit gun design btw) screamed SS. Once settled on earth they persecute Scientists (much like the Nazi's did with the Jews during WW2) and they set up a “Visitor Friends” group which is basically a take on the Hitler Youth Groups that arose at the time. All of the themes that came with the Nazi invasion were present here i.e. propaganda videos/posters, brainwashed folks ratting on their friends/family, grisly experiments conducted on humans "Mengele" style and a resistance forming to try to fend off the oppressors and help the victims. And to make 200% sure that we "got it" we had a Holocaust survivor (brilliantly played by the great Leonardo Cimino) often comparing the aliens M.O. to what he went through during the War.

pet sematary, 1989, stephen king

The show was filled to the brim with iconic imagery as well. For example, the sequence when the Visitors arrive in their flying saucers all around the earth (which was ripped off by Independence Day down the road) was chilling to say the least. Or when we find out what “exactly” the Visitors have in store for us. Damn! It gave me the willies then and still does to this day. The excellent cast also helped sell the shenanigan! Too many players here for me to address everybody but Marc Singer as our hero Mike Donovan was a token 80’s action dude (armed with trustee one-liners) that I couldn’t help but love. Faye Grant was convincing and affable as Juliet Parrish (and yes, I had a crush on her as a teen) while Robert Englund (yes Mr. Krueger) was the tits as the clumsy/child-like alien who’s on our side.

The villains fared just as well with Jane Badler owning all via her iconic performance as the sexually ambivalent, dangerously sensual yet evil to the f*cking core alien beeyatch Diana. Oh my… that’s all I’ll say about Badler’s Diana…OH MY. Add to all that visceral plot turns/subplots (loved the ones having to do with the Visitors befriending humans and then turning on them in horrific ways), a f*ckload of enthralling action set pieces, strong/moving dramatic moments, stellar production designs (so dug them shuttles), a fascinating "love story" (sarcasm) between a human and an alien that goes sour, a haunting score (the opening theme song by Joe Harnell …brrr) and a handful of sucker punch horror bits that traumatized me hardcore back then and still whooped me to some degree today and you get a well written, mucho involving and totally satisfying 189 minutes of SUPERIOR entertainment.

pet sematary, 1989, stephen king

Any drawbacks? Back then no, but today, it has to be said that the practical effects and matte painting work were dated as f*ck. So that did lessen the impact of some scenes. On that, the writing was so strong, the characters so likeable and the situation so engrossing, that it didn’t tarnish my 2019 re-watch too much. 

V became a phenomenon in the 80's (it spawned a comic book series and even figurines) and watching it today you can see why. Talk about bold and ambitious Television! I know that Kenneth Johnson has been trying to get a modern feature length remake of his OG series off the ground for a while now. He came close in 2018 but it fell through. So until then, visit or re-visit The Visitors! PRIMO binge material. You'll want to own it. And remember… V is for VICTORY.

Source: Arrow in the Head

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