V: The Next Generation
from CFQ Spotlite
Fall 2004 Issue #1
With Kenneth Johnson back at the helm of
NBC is getting ready for the Visitors to
Back in the era of the original V, creator Kenneth Johnson engaged in his own “final battle” with the NBC network and Warner Bros.
Studios when both came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t produce the follow-up to the mega-rated original mini-series
as quickly or as cheaply as they wanted him to. “And they were right,” muses Johnson, whose credits include The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk and
the TV version of Alien Nation. “So I walked away from a major deal.”
Which, of course didn’t stop production
on the six-hour V: The Final Battle, or the subsequent weekly series that limped
through 19 episodes. Johnson moved on to other things while his creation – a sci-fi allegory of the Holocaust - was bastardized by others. Over the years, rumors of revival with him at the helm made the rounds occasionally,
but he pretty much dismissed those as “too much water under that bridge.”
Now, however, there’s been a change of heart, with NBC giving a script order for V:
The Second Generation, which will essentially ignore the events of The Final Battle and the weekly series. Instead, it will jump forward 20 years in time (literally the length of
time since the airing of the original V mini).
As Johnson explains it, his scenario for
the follow-up will deal with Resistance leaders Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) and Julie Parish (Faye Grant) who are trying to
spark a revolution in a generation that has known nothing but Visitor rule since
the moment they were born, so there is a certain apathy when it comes to the notion of revolution. Says Johnson, “NBC
wants to move it away from the notion of Europe under occupation to something that has a
little more modern feel. But that’s tricky. I don’t want the heroes of the piece to be considered terrorists,
but that’s the parallel. If the Visitors are the hyperpower, what does that make the Resistance?
One key plot element for the new version
comes from the final moment of the original four-hour miniseries. In that story, the Resistance discovers that the Visitors
have one deadly enemy, leading the humans to jump to the conclusion that, “If it’s their enemies, then that makes
them our friends.” A signal is sent into deep space and it would seem that in V:
The Second Generation there is finally an answer.
“That’s sort of where the story
goes,” Johnson says, “but part of what I’m dealing with on the network level is, ‘Does anybody really
care about those old actors?’ It’s amazing. It’s like, ‘Let’s do the Brady Bunch reunion movie, but not get the Brady Bunch.”