I certainly wouldn’t call V (the miniseries) or its sequel V: The Final Battle obscure but before it was released on DVD I’m fairly sure V: The Series was at least partially an obscurity. That gives me the leeway I need to comment on the news that ABC has ordered a pilot for a new version of this intriguing alien invasion story. The Variety.com article doesn’t say whether this new version will be a miniseries or a weekly series but either way I’m not convinced it will work, especially if the “reworking” turns into more of a “reimagining” along the lines of SCI FI’s new version of Battlestar Galactica.
Variety.com reported back in October 2008 that ABC was considering a new take on the franchise from Scott Peters, who co-created USA Network’s The 4400:
“Whenever I mention “V” to anybody, they still have a lot of good memories about the original movie and series,” Peters said. “Everybody has that imagery of their uniforms, or the visitor eating a hamster. It’s a science fiction icon and too good to pass up.”
The original “V” served as an allegory for the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Peters said he won’t duplicate that concept, except that the new “V” will still focus on what happens when the masses have blind faith in their leaders.
In this case, the new “V” will center on Erica Evans, a Homeland Security agent with an aimless son who’s got problems. When the aliens arrive, her son gloms on to them — causing tension within the family. As in the original “V,” several storylines will unfold simultaneously.
The sentence “It’s a science fiction icon and too good to pass up” is what bothers me the most. If only the franchise was truly “too good” to pass up. Meaning the original miniseries was, well, original and a new version will never be as interesting or shocking or exciting or successful.
If ABC was interested in producing a reworked version of, say, The New People (one that isn’t Lost) that I might be accepting of, if only because it might mean the original show would finally be released on DVD. But V, V: The Final Battle and V: The Series are already available on DVD.
Unlike the original Battlestar Galactica, which was more than a little corny and didn’t receive glowing reviews, the original V miniseries was both a critical (for the most part) and successful hit back in 1983. No matter how well-written a new version is, no matter how impressive the special effects, it can never live up to NBC’s original two-parter. It won’t be for ABC what the new Battlestar Galactica was for SCI FI. So there’s really no upside.
With that in mind, if ABC does go ahead with a new version of V, I can’t say I won’t tune in, at least for the first episode.