Thread: V: the series
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Old November 21 2009, 06:30 PM   #34
Location: Fifth Circle of Hell
Re: V: the series

Some general thoughts about the V series. I was and remain quite fond of it. I don't accept the "bad SFX" argument, though, because frankly there was no such thing as good SFX on American (or British) television until CGI got cheap enough to be used for TV. So in my opinion "good SFX" didn't arrive till only about 15 years ago. Even DS9's effects, in retrospect, don't hold up as well as we thought they might back in 1994.

V the series was hurt by the fact that, in 1984, the only US shows that did arc storytelling were soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty. Therefore that was the only model they had to go on, which is why we started to see "soap opera" elements (as if those are somehow a bad thing) emerging in V. By soap opera, in the SF context that would appear to mean plotlines involving personal relationships over SF concepts ... the type of stuff Roddenberry wanted to do with Trek. But I digress.

SF otherwise was expected to be delivered in bite-size stand-alone pieces that could be watched in any order -- which was a prime factor in Star Trek TOS being so successful in syndication (only since the 80s have broadcasters bothered to show that program in its original order). And that's why Doctor Who failed as a mainstream syndicated show (an attempt was made with Pertwee and Baker), but was accepted on PBS where serialized storytelling from the UK was commonplace.

What that all means from my perspective is the writers at the time couldn't keep the momentum going, and you could tell they were starting to "toss everything in but the kitchen sink", such as bringing in Duncan Regher's character and introducing a love triangle between him, Diana, and Lydia. We also started to see characters brought back from the dead like Martin.

The show also made a big mistake out of the gate by not having Michael Ironside's character Ham Tyler from the get-go. He was the best thing about the 2nd mini-series, and he was really missed when the weekly series began. By the time he came back, it was too late.

I never had a problem with the casting on V. Faye Grant and Marc Singer were great, as was the pre-Freddy Robert Englund. Jane Badler and June Chadwick remain two of the sexiest gals to ever grace 1980s TV, and Jennifer Cooke probably would have gone on to be a big star if she hadn't retired from acting a year later to run the Celestial Seasonings tea company (no joke).

From a long-term view, the show's reputation was also harmed by the ending of the first season (which I won't spoil), which hasn't held up well.

I agree I don't understand the hatred for the V series (or the second mini), unless you buy into the "it's old therefore it's bad" mentality that seems to be plaguing our society. There's plenty to criticize in V, to be sure, and it probably didn't deserve to last more than a season, but I find it no better, no worse than the average American-produced network science fiction of the day.

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