l missed V in its real life iteration, when, apparently, millions of Americans sat transfixed before their television screens watching the science fiction miniseries. However, over the years, sci-fi loving friends have pestered me to watch V, saying writer and director Kenneth Johnson's epic, which debuted in 1983, is a must see. I finally gave in this week, two decades after the series aired. Instead of searching for the unopened DVD that is around here somewhere, I screened the video version. What is my verdict on V? Mixed, but mainly favorable.
The storyline is a precursor for the '90s blockbuster, Independence Day. Large, saucer-shaped dreadnoughts appear above major cities worldwide. Human munitions, as deadly as they are, seem puny when compared to the technical achievements of the aliens. Like the extraterrestrials in ID, these are reptilian. But, they mask their real, threatening identity, claiming to have come in peace. Most people, in keeping with their tendency to be happy to have authority figures tell them what to think, say and do, quickly succumb to the not at all subtle manipulations of their friends from Sirius. The aliens are particularly successful in turning members of the scientific community into bete noires among the citizenry through a campaign of disinformation and disappearances. However, a few Americans begin to notice oddities in the visitors and inquire into their origins and plans.
Foremost among the questioners are a television reporter and a medical student. After sneaking aboard the mothership, Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) discovers the aliens are iguana-like reptiles who snack on live rodents and intend to exploit Earth for their own purposes. Meanwhile, Julie Parrish (Faye Grant), a biochemist doing her residency at a Los Angeles hospital, finds herself ostracized along with other scientists and medical professionals who might expose the visitors if not discredited. Rather than wait to be arrested and brainwashed or murdered, she goes underground and sets out to solve the mystery of who the aliens are and what they want. The two eventually meet, and along with other heroic humans, form the core of the resistance movement. They commandeer weapons from the enemy, carry out guerilla raids and penetrate the security of the alien cadre.