The aliens have landed. Well, sort of. ABC is greenlighting a pilot for a new version of V. Back in the 1980s, the V miniseries spawned both a sequel, novels, and a short-lived TV show.
The original 1983 mini-series stars Jane Badler, Michael Durrell, Marc Singer, Jeff Yagher, Blair Tefkin, Robert Englund, and Faye Grant, and focuses on a race of friendly and helpful humanoid aliens that land on Earth. Referred to as “The Visitors,” these aliens offer up their advanced technology in exchange for the chemicals and minerals their ailing world desperately needs. Unfortunately, they’re not what they appear to be. Journalist Michael Donovan eventually discovers that the human-looking aliens are actually reptiles who prefer live meat. Before he can get the word out, the Visitors take control of the media and soonafter, the world.
The miniseries spawned a second miniseries, novels, and its own weekly TV show that ran in 1984. V: The Series ran for only one season. Many of the actors from the miniseries returned and were joined by Jennifer Cooke, Jeff Yagher, June Chadwick, Michael Ironside, and Lane Smith.
NBC cancelled the show after 18 episodes and the finale ended on a cliffhanger that left many storylines unresolved. DC Comics published a comic based on the weekly series that also lasted 18 installments but didn’t resolve any of the show’s storylines either.
In 1989, Warner Bros. considered producing a new series, V: The Next Chapter, that would have picked up the TV show’s storylines some five years later. After numerous script drafts, the project was ultimately abandoned due to expected high production costs.
Now, Warner Bros. wants to try again and ABC has given the project a greenlight. This time around, The 4400’s co-creator/exec producer, Scott Peters, has the reins. Kenneth Johnson, the original’s writer/producer, isn’t involved with the ABC project.
The new series pilot will focus on a Homeland Security agent named Erica Evans. She has an aimless son who attaches himself to the newly-arrived aliens, causing lots of tension at home. Like the original, the new V will center around aliens who say they’ve come to Earth to help but have other motivations. Because this is a reworking of the original story, it’s doubtful that any of the performers from the original will reprise their roles.
If the pilot impresses network execs and gets a go-ahead, will the new series outlast the original? Other recent remakes of NBC 1980s shows, like Bionic Woman and Knight Rider, have been critical and viewer disappointments. Perhaps the new V will be different. One way or another though, these aliens just refuse to go away.
Image courtesy Warner Bros.