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Click here to access V: THE COMPLETE SERIES video clips

Created by Kenneth Johnson, the original V miniseries was certainly one of the best shows of its kind. Highly entertaining and intelligently crafted, V offered audiences an allegory on the rise of Nazi Germany, which Johnson dressed up as a science fiction story about the arrival of aliens on Earth. Know as "The Visitors" the newly arrived aliens appear human and seem completely benevolent. However, beneath a human façade, The Visitors turn out to be a reptilian species bent on draining the Earth of its water and using its people as food. A ratings hit, the original miniseries warranted a sequel, although Johnson’s participation was minimal as he walked away from the project after "creative differences." While not as good as the original V miniseries, V: THE FINAL BATTLE was entertaining and it paved the way for a short-lived television series that tried to milk the concept.

Unfortunately, the television series itself lacked the sense of direction that Johnson brought to the first miniseries, plus the television show’s production team added too much soap opera (and occasional silliness) to the sci-fi premise, which sent the ratings crashing to Earth and brought about the series inevitable cancellation. Of course, being a science fiction geek, I tuned in to every episode as it aired and hoped that things would improve. Twenty years down the line, I found revisiting the show on DVD to be quite a bit of fun- thanks to the television show’s occasionally campy aspects. V: THE COMPLETE SERIES ($40) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features the following nineteen episodes: Liberation Day, Dreadnaught, Breakout, The Deception, The Sanction, Visitor's Choice, The Overlord, The Dissident, Reflections In Terror, The Conversion, The Hero, The Betrayal, The Rescue, The Champion, The Wildcats, The Littlest Dragon, War Of Illusions, The Secret Underground and The Return. Featuring many of the same actors that appeared in both the V and V: THE FINAL BATTLE miniseries, the cast of the television show included Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Michael Ironside, Robert Englund, Blair Tefkin, June Chadwick, Jennifer Cooke and Lane Smith.

Warner Home Video has made V: THE COMPLETE SERIES available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. For the most part the episodes look pretty good on DVD, although with the number of special effects shots in the show, this isn’t the best looking twenty-year-old television series on disc. Sequences without photographic effects, certainly hold up better than those that have been processed, but at no time does the show look outstanding. Also, the film elements from which the episodes have been transferred do show signs of age in the form of dust, blemishes and mild scratches. Grain is noticeable much of the time, but it isn’t excessive. Image sharpness and detail are fine for a television caliber production, as is color reproduction. Saturation is decent and flesh tones seem realistic enough. Blacks appear accurate, whites are stable and contrast is respectable. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem.

All the episodes that comprise V: THE COMPLETE SERIES feature acceptable Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Sound quality is dated and remains very much at the level of television production. Dialogue is usually understandable, but sound effects and music come across very thinly- everything just sounds ideally suited for twenty year old television speakers. Fortunately, most of the background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode/scene selection and set up features. No extra materials have been included with the nineteen episodes.

While not in the same league as the original miniseries Kenneth Johnson, V: THE COMPLETE SERIES provides a nostalgic charm for anyone that watched the show when it first aired. Although with the intervening years, I think fans may find a bit more camp entertainment value than there was originally. As for the DVD set, fans should have little to complain about, as the episodes look better than expected (but not great), and the sound decent enough.



V - The Complete Series (1984)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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