Isn’t it great when you can feel excited about something? Maybe it’s a nice warm day, sitting outside with your friends. Maybe it’s a kickass movie that lives up to all your expectations. A cd that you can’t help but listen to on repeat.
For me, my new excitement comes in the form of an old television show that’s about to make it’s long awaited return.
Do you remember V? I bet you at least recall the name. Maybe you watched the original mini-series back in 1983, which dealt with the an alien species nicknamed Visitors arriving on Earth, claiming to come in peace but who wind up transforming themselves into extraterrestrial Nazis. Who ate mice. Perhaps you saw the subsequent sequel or shortlived ongoing series. V is one of the most cherished memories of my childhood. I read the novels, I bought the comic book series. For Halloween one year, I wore a vest and said that I was going as Mike Donovan, one of the leader’s of the resistance movement on the show. My mother and I would have endless disputes over who got to watch what since NBC, in its infinite wisdom, placed V: The Series up against Dallas at 9pm on Fridays (no wonder it didn’t last). I even dragged my father to the NBC studio tour back in 1985 with hopes of seeing where the tv show was shot (that was a nonstarter; by that point the show had been cancelled and the only thing remaining was a poster on a wall).
Of course, not everything we loved as a child holds up over time. While the original mini-series and its inferior yet still watchable sequel, V: The Final Battle, remain essential sci-fi viewing, V: The Series totally does not. I found that out the hard way.
Back in 1995, long before tv shows on DVD were even a thought in our minds, I placed an order with a Toronto shop dealing in movie and tv rarities to import V: The Series on VHS from the U.K. That deal cost me upwards of $400, an investment I thought would be well worth it. I was so wrong. While it started off strong, because of failing ratings by mid-season the show had its budget slashed and key cast members were either killed off or sent packing (Michael Ironside’s cool killer Ham Tyler should have had his own show, in my humble opinion). Special effects shots were used over and over and the show just looked cheap. Weak scripts didn’t help either. The cast, especially the uber-hot Jane Badler as the Visitor leader Diana, the fetching Faye Grant as Julie Parish, and Marc Singer as Mike Donovan did the best they could, but the show just doesn’t hold up at all.
Amazingly, and unlike many sci-fi programs that have come and gone, the strengths of the first two mini-series have managed to overshadow the lacklustre series. There have been various attempts to bring V back, including a late 80’s screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5, former writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, and current Thor scribe) that would have picked up where the series left off but was shelved for budgetary reasons.
In more recent years, V creator Kenneth Johnson has been trying to bring V back in a variety of forms. In 2008, Johnson’s screenplay for a sequel to the original mini-series, ignoring the events of V: The Final Battle and V: The Series, became the novel V: The Next Generation, which picks up 20 years after the Visitors arrived on Earth. Johnson also continues his attempts at bringing his vision of the series to the big screen.
However, succeeding where so many have failed before them are producer Jace Hall and writer Scott Peters, whose reimagining of V was greenlit this week by ABC for a midseason run. The show takes place in the here and now and will star Elizabeth Mitchell, who most of know as Juliette on Lost . Over the last few days various trailers and scenes have made their way online, which you can check out here, here, and here. If one can judge a show by its trailer, I’ve only got one word:
Simply from the watching these video previews, I’ve been thrown back to what I remembered V as as a kid. Except with way better special effects. And hey, I know that these are quick clips, clearly designed to build some hype for a new tv show, but consider me bought in. Morena Bacarin may not be Jane Badler (who could be) but her scene with Scott Wolf is fraking awesome. Speaking of which, when I heard the former star of Party of Five was being cast in what I’m guessing will be a combination of the Mike Donovan/Kristine Walsh character, I was sceptical. But if this short video can be any indication, I’m optimistic we’ll see Wolf follow in his former co-star Matthew Fox’s footsteps as a adult leading man.
Then again, the show could stink. Who’s to say? Certainly not me, but man, I just love feeling excited about something, especially because it’s so close to my heart.
The Visitors are our friends? I sure hope so. We’ll find out soon.