If you were alive in the early ’80s and had even the slightest interest in science fiction, chances are you were aware of V, a miniseries televised by NBC in 1983 and followed by V: The Final Battle and V: The Series the following year. The plot centred on an alien invasion, the human resistance movement and a strong Nazi/WWII allegory. It could even be argued that the basic story – minus the intelligent plot points – was directly ripped off in the generally woeful Independence Day.
For those who don’t remember, think reptiles in human disguise, mice and guinea pigs for dinner and/or smart red uniforms and I’ve found people usually recall the show from within the depths of their subconscious.
For those who do remember – and were fans – did you know a sequel miniseries is currently sitting in development hell?
Having heard the first rumblings quite a few years ago, I was surprised how little was made of it on online news sites. Had the phenomenon died off so significantly? Did the abysmal, hour-long television series really kill the franchise so completely?
In 2005, it was reported that NBC passed on the idea of producing original creator Kenneth Johnson’s sequel script. Instead, they began looking into a remake (for which the writer/director submitted a screenplay) only to question – ironically – whether the idea was too close to Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster. Later that year, the network – which was partly revived in the early ’80s by V‘s success and was famously in another slump around ’05 – pulled out of the idea, in fear of flooding the market with sci-fi television. ABC then took an interest and even a feature film was considered. However, as of today, the project remains in development hell.
So, you ask, why bring it up? What’s the story? Well… for those interested in seeing Kenneth Johnson’s official sequel to the original V miniseries – that is, it ignores most of The Final Battle and all of The Series, which he did not approve of – a novel titled V: The Second Generation is about to hit shelves this November. Based on the script that was bandied about at NBC and ABC, the synopsis is as follows:
The reptilian Visitors, who cleverly portray themselves as Earth’s protectors, are anything but. Our oceans are being drained in order to fuel the aliens’ motherships, and our scientists are treated like wanted criminals. And they have pods of preserved humans destined for even more sinister purposes.
But hope is not lost. A small, yet resourceful Resistance risks everything to undermine the Visitors’ stranglehold on Earth’s people. Despite their heroic efforts, without more help they will be crushed by the Visitors and their human militia. Just when Earth’s doom seems inevitable, agents of an alien civilization from another planet arrive in answer to humanity’s desperate call for help. But can these other aliens be trusted? Or might we defeat one alien overlord, only to be delivered into the hands of another, equally as oppressive?
Time is running out for the Resistance, for when the Visitors’ Leader arrives, the aliens will complete their mission on Earth, with devastating consequences for all life on the planet.
The most interesting part? It remains listed as “currently being developed for TV” and, after contacting Kenneth Johnson, it appears there’s some truth in this. When asked whether a big-screen production or perhaps a straight-to-DVD release may be on the cards, Johnson confirmed “all options are open and we are pursuing them” but that straight-to-DVD is “unlikely” due to “the high production cost”.
So, that’s that. If any of you have ever had an interest in seeing the V franchise revived, now you know: it’s not out of the question. It sounds to me like the suits just need to know if there’s a demand.
Source: Ilana’s V Page / Tor Books