The Truth Behind the V Franchise

We mentioned earlier that V might be heading back to television. The big news is that the book that could inspire this V resurgence will hit store shelves tomorrow. But how well to you remember this show and its creator? Creator Kenneth Johnson gave us the original Bionic Woman, and we all know how that recent retread has been going. Would a new V series fare any better? Go behind the scenes with some V trivia in the list below which is rife with decades-old spoilers.

  • Kenneth Johnson's name might not be as household as Gene Roddenberry's, but he created The Bionic Woman, V, and the Alien Nation television series.
  • Johnson directed The Incredible Hulk television movie back in 1977, and Short Circuit 2 in 1988. Sadly, he also directed the Shaquille O'Neal movie Steel in 1997.
  • NBC desperately wanted a science fiction television series due to the success of Star Wars. V was originally meant to be much more political in tone, but the network added more "action and rayguns" to try and make it more exciting.
  • Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski was asked to script a new V series in 1989 called V: The Next Chapter, but it was eventually deemed too expensive to produce.
  • V was partially inspired by both Nazi facism (which is why the insignia looks a bit like a swastika) and the famous Twilight Episode "To Serve Man", which is all about aliens cultivating humans as cattle.
  • When the aliens come to Earth, they appear over many major cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, oddly enough. Much like the scenes in Independence Day, their appearances causes panic amongst civilians, while scientists nod gravely and watch on tv screens.

  • They wear elaborate human disguises to hide their reptilian nature. They also wore stylish eyeshades and sunglasses to conceal their peepers. In the first two miniseries, their voices were given a pitch shift treatment, making them speak in funky alien tones. This was dropped in the ongoing television series, however.

  • The Visitors are hailed as its new alien protectors, making them rock stars. At one point, little kids play with action figures based on the visitors and their ships. These were going to be produced as real toys that you could purchase, but they were only released in Spain and Europe.

  • However, once things start going badly, scientists find themselves persecuted or abducted, and resistance movements begin popping up all over the place, which continues to echo the Nazi theme.

  • Just like in Word War II, V stood for victory, and red Vs were spray painted everywhere as a sign of defiance.

  • One mothership in each Visitor fleet was equipped with a Doomsday device that was could wipe out an entire planet, and was meant to be used if defeat was imminent. The device was activated once in the series, but later defused.

  • There was a "Star Child" who was produced from the offspring of a human mating with an alien (just how did that work?) and he had magic powers like telekinesis. Would this be what Starman's kid would be like?

  • Johnson left the series during V: The Final Battle, and went to work on other shows. People blame this for the shift in tone during the last miniseries, and the tv show, which only lasted a single season.

  • The cancellation of the series came as a big surprise to the producers, and the series ends with a huge cliffhanger. Whoops.

  • DC Comics produced a V series in 1985 that ran for 18 issues. They tried unsuccessfully to get the rights to continue the storyline when the show was canceled.

  • A two volume Japanese manga version of the series was produced, and faded away quietly. Copies are hard to come by.
  • So now that you've been re-educated, what do you think? Can this series be brought back in the 2000s?