I am a big fan of the original mini-series, V, that aired in 1983. I was pretty young back then, so my recollection of the series is primarily through re-runs on Syfy years ago before the channel had a stupid name. The mini-series was gripping and original. The WWII analogies were strong and well written, and the character reactions of the story were very plausible. In addition, the main protagonist was a cameraman. Give it up for the geeks! The story ended with a victorious battle, but the war was very far from over. There were lots of open ended questions and cliff hangers.
The next year, a sequel mini-series was made, V: The Final Battle. It completely sucked1. They either ignored or quickly wrapped up the very dramatically laid loose ends from the previous year in very unsatisfactory ways. The story devolved from a WWII analogy into more of a religious analogy, with the hybrid human-visitor having magical Christ-like powers that neither parent possessed (seriously, wtf?). And they had Michael Ironside. (Has your favorite show jumped the shark? If Michael Ironside was just added to the cast then the answer is yes!) And to top it all off, the humans beat the visitors with the most lame War of the Worlds deus ex machina2 rip-off ending ever – complete with like fifteen minutes of stock footage cheering and rejoicing! After that, NBC started a series sequel to V. The visitors quickly developed an immunity to the poison dust, lost their warbled distorted voices (no explanation given), regained rule over the planet with little resistance, and the series continued to suck and disappoint like only a series that jumps the shark before it even begins can!
Anyway, so there's a new V series starting tomorrow. I'm very excited about it. The whole premise of V is very rich and exciting. It's unique in that the aliens don't just nuke cities a la Independence Day, but instead use politics, torture, mind control, and media manipulation to gain control of Earth. I think the WWII parallels also create a very eerie sense of "omg, dude, this could totally really actually happen" since in human history it did actually happen (sans aliens) in Germany.
The one thing that concerns me about the new V series is that the synopsis sounds more like the reimagined Battlestar Galactica than the old V. There is plenty of room for the writers to come up with great storylines, don't get me wrong, I just hope that it does the original honor with a lot of manipulation and very little nuking. Battlestar already thoroughly explored the human condition (IN SPACE) with regard to modern problems (terrorism, modern warfare, torture, etc.). I want a strong manipulative invasion story, where humans are pitted against humans and the visitors are pulling the strings. Here's hoping it doesn't suck! (Reviews are good so far, so I'm excited!)
1. The Final Battle was apparently made without much input from original "V" mythos creator, Kenneth Johnson. Mr. Johnson eventually published a book in 2008 which contained (I would presume) his preferred ending to the V story, ignoring the entire Final Battle and subsequent series storylines completely. I need to read this.
2. I should point out that War of the Worlds is not lame, despite the lameness of the similar ripped-off ending used in V: The Final Battle.