This week, we come to the conclusion of the ill-conceived weekly series of V. It could have been a lot better than it was, and even the reimagined series was stronger, but still not quite where it needed to be (though it is exponentially more enjoyable than this incarnation).
First up is War of Illusions. Written by John Simmons it debuted on 8 March, 1985. This one embraces the teen kid computer whiz trope. It seems Diana (Jane Badler) and Philip (Frank Ashmore) who isn’t all he appears to be as we learned last week, has created a new high tech computer known as the Battlesphere to help subjugate the Earth.
Henry Atkins (Josh Richman) may be the Resistance’s only hope to stop the Battlesphere, but he has a demand first. Rescue his father (Conrad Janis) from the Visitors.
It’s just a bad episode all over, as regular characters who have been there since the beginning are being phased out, and stories are becoming weaker, and more ludicrous. And not to mention that the reuse of visual effects has now extended to include scenes of dialogue.
It seemed that nothing mattered anymore when it came to this series, and honestly, some of the stuff look like they would be more at home in the television version of Buck Rogers.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… disappointing, considering where the mini-series started and the potential of the show. Instead it just turned increasingly banal and poorly managed.
The Secret Underground, the series penultimate episode, as the finale wasn’t filmed, was written by David Abramowitz and Donald R. Boyle, and it aired on 15 March, 1985.
A spy mission onto the mothership is the order of the day when the Resistance and the Fifth Column learn that the Visitor James (Judson Scott) has a disk with a complete list of the Fifth Column. When a Columnist is killed trying to escape with it, it’s up to Donovan (Marc Singer) and Julie (Faye Grant) to sneak aboard and steal it before their allies meet an untimely demise.
Diana, meanwhile schemes to have Lydia’s (June Chadwick) brother murdered during a Visitor celebration.
The a-story, sneaking aboard the mothership could have made for a tense episode, but honestly, Donovan has been sneaking aboard since the beginning so it’s not really that exciting.
Then of course there’s the Mission: Impossible face mask moments.
And here’s a question… what was NBC thinking when they okayed the series. They must have known that it would be expensive, and it’s sad that they didn’t stay faithful to the things that were hinted at and playing out in the miniseries.
The Return was written by David Braff and Colley Cibber. The final episode of the series. It aired on 22 March, 1985, and ends on a cliffhanger as it sets up things for the final (never filmed) episode, as well as things for the proposed second season.
Philip calls a halt to the war, as their is word of the Leader, himself, arriving on Earth to negotiate with the humans. A peace that will be cemented with a ceremonial non-lethal duel between Donovan and Philip.
And of course, the key to it all is Elizabeth (Jennifer Cooke) whose powers are iffy now at most, and incredibly convenient when they need to be.
Key members of the Resistance travel with Elizabeth to the mothership, and Diana sees a chance to seize control not only from the Leader, but also wipe out the Resistance and take control of Earth once and for all.
Elizabeth agrees to go with the Leader, even after James attempts to assassinate him, having been blackmailed by Diana. She boards his shuttle, which also has a little something aboard it from Diana, and Kyle (Jeff Yagher) sneaks aboard at the last moment.
And so it ends…
From such a great beginning it came to this. Sigh. Oh well. We’ll leave it behind now and turn to something else.
Next week, we dive into another classic late 80s series, the revitalized War of the Worlds.