Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.
In 1983, a two part miniseries on TV (NBC) brought science fiction into the mainstream. V had all the human vs alien-goodness that I wanted, plus the drama and wardrobe of other 80s primetime shows. Basically, V was Dynasty with aliens. Shoulder pads and big hair, with laser guns and starships.
So the story starts off with 50 "Visitor" ships coming to Earth asking for help. They need some minerals and water to save their home planet. In exchange, the aliens will share their lifesaving technology with us. At first, it seems to be a good deal, but underneath the humanish exterior of the Visitors like vicious reptiles bent on taking over the world.
Then it becomes a good 'ol fashioned war between the Visitors and a band of civilians-turned-rebels. Marc Singer plays the male lead, and does a great job despite me thinking "Beastmaster" every time I see him. The female lead is a doctor who heads a growing resistance group against the aliens.
What's really interesting about V was its take on propoganda and the media. Earth is coaxed into thinking that the aliens mean us no harm. By manipulating the media and fueling it's pro-Visitor agenda, they infiltrate society very quickly. And before you know it, the aliens make their move. There are some strong parallels and symbolism between the events in this mini-series and the Holocaust.
But they didn't count on the tenacity of us humans. The mini-series ended on a cliffhanger. The Visitors pretty much rule the world, and the resistance hopes to fight back and regain the planet.
V: The Final Battle came out the following year. This three part mini-series picks up where the previous mini-series left off. An alien gets a human pregnant, the resistance continues to gain in strength, and the Visitors aim to unleash some doomsday weapon to clear the Earth of us pesky humans.
Using human ingenuity, the resistance creates some red dust that kills only the Visitors. Yippeeeee!!!
Oh wait, but there's more. From 1984-1985, the decided to make V into a weekly television series. I read that it cost over $1 million per episode to produce. I'm pretty sure that's still a record. The tv show sucked eggs. I remember seeing the same battle footage being replayed over and over again, which is laughable.
Too much of a good thing can sometimes just be plain bad.