Any of you reading who were alive and aware of pop culture in 1983 would remember the unexpected phenomenon of “V”, the miniseries aired on NBC during the May Sweeps of that year. It was probably a blessing to a miniseries wanting to keep secrets that an internet didn’t exist back then without fear of that secret being leaked to every continent on the earth within hours and days before the actual broadcast. With that advantage, what started out as a misleading ad campaign showing an alien race visiting Earth in peace and harmony brought a surprise not unlike what audiences experienced in theatres with the movie “Psycho” in 1960. When we kids saw the abrupt scene in “V” of the supposedly benevolent aliens suddenly devouring giant rats and revealing a reptile-like appearance under that human skin, the serious network miniseries as we knew it was turned on its ear.
Had the first miniseries of “V” been shown instead as a straight-ahead story of Nazi Germany invading Europe as originally intended, the ratings would have obviously been much different. At the time, the brilliant idea to take the Third Reich allegory and spin it as a Sci-Fi battle didn’t get a condemned stare from network brass as it would today. Ironically, the invasion of Germany story would probably be more apt to get the green light for a miniseries today since the historical miniseries has had a renaissance–at least on HBO and other cable networks. In 1983, though, a Sci-Fi renaissance was happening and made sense to conjoin it with the network miniseries format.
And the ratings the first miniseries of “V” received are the kind any network exec would dock half of his or her pay to get now. All of that is likely still fresh in the memory over 25 years later as ABC decides to revitalize the franchise once having a follow-up sequel miniseries in 1984 and a brief, one-season series the following fall that was considered by some a mistake in destroying the mystique of the story. Perhaps by the mid-80’s, the allegorical vision of a foreign race infiltrating our country didn’t register as it might have today. Although in 2009 and beyond, we might take “V’s” plot a lot more literally.
In the 80’s, the prospect of aliens visiting us and taking over the governmental reigns looked more distant in the realm of reality. The distinguishing between Sci-Fi and real life hadn’t quite blurred yet as it has in more recent decades. Now, other than the most outlandish themes in the genre, some of our older Sci-Fi tales could almost fill in for what’s already happening or could theoretically happen. Falling controversially somewhere in the middle, the idea of advanced beings watching over us in their flying craft and eventually interacting with the world’s populace has evolved just as much, particularly in compelling evidence and deductive reasoning of what’s really happening.
You can thank the age of videotape for that and the increase in UFO sightings for evolving the idea since “V” disappeared from television. The only mistake might be taking “V” extremely literally and imagining the outdated idea that a physical alien race is traveling light years away from a distant planet just to interact with us clandestinely.
Since the days of “V”, talk of a spiritual connection (benevolently and malevolently) to UFO’s and aliens has been more of a growing philosophy based on available evidence in the last 25 years. But that type of philosophy has only been in vogue for those who follow the UFO phenomenon closely and think deeply about it on at least a semi-regular basis. A lot of people do just that who never list themselves as being a scientist or any other so-called expert. From the spiritual side of things, it’s the Nephilim that gets talked about the most in relation to UFO’s and what aliens may really be. In Christian biblical times, it was the fallen angels who had children with human beings–hence bringing on the more or less hybrid Nephilim that ultimately ended up looking similar to a modern equivalent of a giant WWF wrestler.
A lot of legends say that they’ll return to Terra Firma (or already have) as a deceitful intention of creating peace, then maliciously take over the world and present human beings with another test of faith. During their supposed return, the methods of how we envision alien spacecraft would be their mode of travel based on what millions around the world have been seeing in the skies for centuries. Of course, you also have fringe groups who believe that if it’s the Nephilim, they’d place themselves in hybrid bodies again, albeit reptilians in human disguise a la in the vein of “V.”
While that fringe theory has been written off as nothing but quackery, it still fits in with the theme of what “V” could be really taken for next season. Since the new producers of the series won’t regard the previous “V” series as canon, we’ll be getting a whole new approach to how we react to seeing giant craft hovering over the Earth and humanoids descending to say they need our help in the name of peace. Considering many on Earth think the possibility of that happening is soon upon us, “V” has a chance to work now on a different level without having to use the allegory of the Third Reich to make it compelling.
That more literal way of taking it won’t be blocked by any other allusion to a human army infiltrating our shores. Even with the idea that China or North Korea could invade us, we’re well into a new era of sending missiles back and forth in war rather than invasions. You can’t place Al Qaeda in the way either due to their diffuse nature.
We might finally have, for the first time ever, a TV show that takes on the reality of the profound happening within our lifetimes. However, it could have been anything else other than branding it with the old “V” name that probably should have been left alone and stand as a piece of pop culture we viewed differently in the early to mid 80’s. Yet as all stories within this genre use, it all starts with the simple concept of flying craft hovering over us and ensuing a panic and wonder in the hearts and minds of Earth’s population. A contrivance like that could be taken a little too literally and brought down to the world of unintentional camp.
In that scenario, we may have a lesson learned that trying to depict a possible profound reality in fiction can’t be done and only applicable to being experienced through reality itself…