V was an American science fiction television
series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009 to
March 15, 2011. A remake of the 1983
miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new series
chronicles the arrival on Earth of a technologically advanced
alien species which ostensibly comes in peace, but actually has
sinister motives. V stars Morena
Baccarin, Lourdes Benedicto, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch,
Logan Huffman, Charles Mesure, Elizabeth Mitchell, Laura
Vandervoort, and Scott Wolf, and was executive produced by Scott
Rosenbaum, Yves Simoneau, Scott Peters, Steve Pearlman, and Jace
Hall. The series was produced by The Scott Peters Company,
HDFilms and Warner Bros. Television.
Giant spaceships appear over 29 major cities throughout the
world, and Anna ( Morena
Baccarin ), the beautiful and charismatic leader of the
extraterrestrial "Visitors", declares that they come
in peace. The Visitors claim to only need a small amount of
Earth's resources, in exchange for which they will share their
advanced technological and medical knowledge. As a small number
of humans begin to doubt the sincerity of the seemingly
benevolent Visitors, FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans
(Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers that the aliens are actually reptilian
humanoids wearing pseudo-human skin, have spent decades
infiltrating human governments, businesses, and religious
institutions, and are now in the final stages of their plan to
take over the Earth. Erica joins the resistance movement, which
includes Ryan (Morris Chestnut), a Visitor sleeper agent who
over time developed human emotions and now wants to save
humanity. Their rebellion is further challenged as the Visitors
have won favor among the people of Earth by curing a variety of
diseases, and have recruited Earth's youth—including Erica's
son Tyler (Logan Huffman)—to serve them unknowingly as spies.
The series was announced in May 2009, to be executive produced
by Scott Peters, Jace Hall, Steve Pearlman, and Jeffrey Bell.
Filming of the post-pilot episodes began on August 10, 2009.
Cast member Elizabeth Mitchell noted that the show would do
service to the most iconic moments from the original franchise.
Peters later confirmed that in
addition to potentially using cast members from the 1983
miniseries, the new series would nod to the original in other
ways. He said that when asking people what they thought were the
most memorable elements of V, the top responses included
"the huge ships, the red uniforms, eating the hamster, and
[the] alien baby," adding that "we are well aware of
those moments and are looking to put our own little spin on them
to tip our hat to the old audience."
Entertainment Weekly put
the original V on its 2008 list "The Sci-Fi 25: The
Genre's Best Since 1982" and called Visitor leader Diana's
devouring of a guinea pig "one of the best TV reveals
ever." Asked about the 1983 reveal of the Visitors'
reptilian appearance beneath their human disguise, Peters noted
"That was the other one, of course... We tried to put our
own [spin on it]. We're... a little bit different than their
execution of it. It wasn't so much latex mask as it is real
flesh and blood."
The Hollywood Reporter
called the idea behind V "a powerhouse concept that
combines conflict, suspense and imagination with some heavy-duty
philosophical issues," noting that the update
"preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere
to accommodate contemporary concerns... the militaristic notes
will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-9/11
emphasis on questions of trust and terror."
Production on the show was
temporarily suspended in August 2009, pending the resolution of
a dispute filed with the Writers Guild of America by original
creator Kenneth Johnson. Warner Bros. sought to remove Johnson's
"created by" status by claiming that the new show was
so fundamentally changed from Johnson's original premise that it
constituted a standalone work and not a remake. The Writers
Guild, however, disagreed, and when production resumed in
September 2009, Johnson retained the credit.
In September 2009, it was
announced that four episodes of V would air in November
2009, and that the series would resume its 12-episode season in
March 2010 after the 2010 Winter Olympics. ABC entertainment
president Steve McPherson said, "We always intended to
break the show up into 'pods' to make it more of an event."
As production of the fourth episode of V wrapped, it was
announced on November 3, 2009, that Scott Rosenbaum had been
named executive producer and showrunner of the series, with
Peters and Hall remaining as executive producers. Production of
the remaining eight episodes resumed in January 2010 with new
episodes returning March 30, 2010. On May 13, 2010, ABC renewed V
for a second season. The second season premiered January 4,
2011, but the original order of 13 episodes was reduced to 10.
On May 13, 2011, ABC announced
that V was canceled.
V was nominated for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a
Series at the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the pilot
episode. The show was also nominated for Favorite New TV Drama at
the 36th People's Choice Awards
and for Best Television Presentation. Morena Baccarin was
nominated for Best Supporting Actress on Television at the 36th
Saturn Awards. At the 37th Saturn Awards, the show received three
nominations, for Best Network Series, Elizabeth Mitchell for Best
Actress in Television, and Morena Baccarin for Best Supporting
Actress in Television.
Interpretation ?? To close to home ???
re-imagined series has been interpreted by some reviewers as an allegory
of the presidency of Barack Obama. In his review of the show, Troy
Patterson of Slate points out that bloggers and journalists had
noticed parallels between the show's premise and the Obama
administration, and writes that "if the show is to have the
symbolic import that we expect from a science-fiction story, this is the
only possible way to read V as a coherent text. The only problem
with this analysis lies in its generous presupposition that the text is,
in fact, coherent." Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post
noted in her review that the fact the series was debuting on the first
anniversary of Obama's election "was not lost on some ... TV
critics" and also remarked that the use of phrases present in the
series (such as "hope", "change", and
"Universal Health Care" being offered by the Visitors) made it
seem as though "Lou Dobbs had taken over the network, as those
things only became popular with the current administration." Chicago
Tribune reviewer Glenn Garvin called the show
"controversial", saying the series was "a barbed
commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the president's supporters
and delight his detractors.".
The show's cast and crew deny the charges of bias. Actress Morena
Baccarin acknowledges that she had modeled her character, Visitor leader
Anna, after politicians but she and series executive producer Peters
were surprised by the controversy. At a press conference at Summer TV
Press Tour 2009, Peters said that the show was open to interpretation
and that "people bring subjective thoughts to it... but there is no
particular agenda." Bell agreed, stating that it was simply "a
show about spaceships."
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