V The Original Miniseries on Syfy

I have not watched V: The Original Miniseries since I was about six years old when it originally aired. I remember the excitement of the story and my wanting to fight alongside Mike Donovan against The Visitors.

This morning, I am watching it on Syfy Network for the first time in over 27 years. It is far more interesting and layered than I had thought it was. This is not to say that it does not suffer from cliches and other problems.

V’s anti-scientism (lucrative research grants–ha) and fascism are the most interesting aspects of the story that I do not remember from my much earlier viewing of the series. As I learned from the Wikipedia entry for the show, the original form of V was not science fiction, but instead, a warning against the easy transition to fascism in modern society. Apparently, science fiction was seen as a way to capitalize on the popularity of Star Wars while engaging a public viewership that television executives considered not capable of engaging the subtleties of fascism in a more realistic (no aliens) narrative.

The first part just finished, and now I am watching part two. Donovan has just escaped from the mothership, and the resistance has re-captured him walking alone. Back to the show . . .

Live blogging before V: The Final Battle comes on, which I will miss since I have to teach this afternoon.

The Resistance makes their coordinated move. Talk of other cells earlier in the show.

Donovan back aboard the mothership. The Visitors want our water. How does V relate to Battle: Los Angeles? Humans put in stasis. Influence on The Matrix? Creating an army to fight The Visitor’s enemy. Human beings will serve as fodder for The Visitors, too. Fascism within the The Visitors’ society–their leader is a charismatic leader. Diana’s authorized medical experimentation.

“My grandfather fought with Zapata.”

“How about it, man? Are ya game?” “Hey, I’m proud to have you as a friend.” Yes, Visitors and humans can be friends.

Sancho fires back.

Attack on the mountain base camp of the Resistance.

Commercial break.

“C’mon Sancho, nail that sucker.”

“I will, but I need a little luck.” Donovan pulls out his LA Dodgers ball cap.

There is no room for diplomacy–reinforcements arrive with weapons at the basecamp–stored inside a garbage truck.

Slowmotion shot–shit gets real in the battle for the basecamp. Julie goes into action. “Do something please.” She stands alone with a handgun firing on Diana’s ship. Instead of being a doctor, she becomes a soldier.

Donovan pulls in behind Diana’s ship–damages the ship and Diana’s human face.

Robert Maxwell’s wife pays for Robert’s deal with the Visitors. He almost kills himself, thinking he has lost his wife and chlidren, but he puts his wife’s pistol down when he discovers his children have survived the camp raid that was his fault.

“We may have to sacrifice those thousands to save millions–millions!” –Julie

Donovan isn’t so sure about Julie’s metric of sacrifice.

Robin is going to be a teenage mom with a Vistor’s baby.

Donovan’s mother is a ‘survivor.’ She is a collaborator. “You can’t survive at the expense of other people.” –Donovan. He is obviously from an affluent family.

Maxwell goes back to the Bernstein’s, asking to use their house as a safe house. Leonardo’s last letter to his family–he and his experience in the Holocaust forms the moral center for the narrative. Mr. Bernstein has learned his lesson from his father, who died at the hands of The Visitors.

The Resistance begins sending a mathematical signal to outer space in the hopes of contacting the Visitor’s enemy. Large transmitters seem like an obvious target . . .

Up next: V: The Final Battle. I hope that I can see it soon.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.