Remaking “V”: Mining the Sci-Fi Back Catalog

After the success of four seasons of Battlestar Galactica (BSG), it is hardly surprising that TV producers might go looking for other old cult TV programs to remake and rework.

V, a show that ran for 19 episodes back in 1984-85, is now being given the update treatment. The plot revolved around the visitation to Earth of seemingly friendly, well-intentioned aliens called The Visitors. But things were not as they appeared….

The brilliance of BSG was in the way in which it integrated contemporary U.S. and global politics — racism, terrorism, torture, colonialism, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and gender — into its narratives. It also avoided the Manichean worldview of good and evil that characterised the original 1978 series.

In many ways, V offers the scriptwriters similar opportunities to BSG. Invasion stories, especially when the invaders are indistinguishable from the inhabitants, have a proven track record, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers onwards. Let’s hope that V can carry this off a little better than the short lived Jericho, which had a great premise but quickly ran out of puff.