REVIEW: V – THE SERIES (1984)

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap)
Jennifer Cooke (Friday The 13th – Part VI)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Jeff Yagher (Mr and Mrs Smith)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)

Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Pamela Ludwig (Over The Edge)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2)
Nicky Katt (The Brave One)
Sybil Danning (Halloween)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Anthoyn De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
James Daughton (Spies Like Us)
Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Brett Cullen (Lost)

Marc Singer, Faye Grant, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)

I was really happy to hear that the struggles of Mike Donovan and the rest of the resistance were coming back as a series. the series follow up was always dismissed as crass exploitation of the franchise.liberationday2Highlights of the series were –

1. This series isn’t bad. It is not as good as the two mini-series but it is entertaing in its own right. I also think that this show was innovative in the field of TV Science Fiction. Prior to “V”, Science Fiction was very episodic. Star Trek, Space: 1999, Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers and to a certain extent, Battlestar Galactica all told self contained stories. The plot was resolved by the end of the hour. “V” The series was different in this respect. It had story arcs and continuing plot threads. Every episode ended in a cliff-hanger and it left you wanting more. In this aspect, it has a modern flavor.

Jane Badler in V (1984)

2. People could die on “V”. For most TV shows, you know that the heroes will make it in the end. Not on “V”. Over the 19 episodes, long-standing characters like Dr. Maxwell and Elias Taylor buy the farm surprisingly abruptly. This raised the stakes dramatically and kept the viewer involved in the narrative.Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, June Chadwick, Blair Tefkin, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)3. The cast was great. Marc Singer was perfectly cast as heroic Mike Donovan. Micheal Ironside ruled as perfect tough guy Ham. Jane Badler was very memorable as Uber-Bitch, Diana. June Chadwick was suitably catty as Diana’a rival Lydia. Duncan Rehgar was fantastic as Charles, the leader’s envoy. His fight with Donovan in “The Hero” is classic. He was a great villain and it is a great shock when he is killed after a mere 4 episodes.Jane Badler and Marc Singer in V (1984)4. There is a sense that this is merely a peek at a global war with the Visitors. For the first 12 episodes or so, The Freedom Network newscaster, Howard K. Smith ( A real journalist by the way) reads the headlines on the state of the war. We learn that the Visitors are sweeping through Spain and so forth. This makes us understand that The resistance in LA is only one story in this global conflict. It really gives the story a certain gravitas.

"V" Jane Badler 1984 NBC

5. The stories are often action adventure tales that are on par with anything that was on the air in the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, the sociological aspects that made the first mini series so memorable are ignored completely. The show, even though it is watered down, is entertaining in its own right.Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)As the series goes on, it is clear that there was less and less money bugeted for each episode. The first episode, “Liberation Day” has an outdoor crowd scene with hundreds of extras. By the last episode, we only have the main characters walking around on the standing sets. By the end, the production valules of the show looked rather thread bare. The producers decided to exploit the alien lizards by showing them without their Human masks. This was a mistake. The people who created the lizard makeups were not as artful as John Chambers. As a result the lizard appliances were very stiff and immoble. By showing the Lizards in their natural state too often, it undermined their credibility as a frightening threat. The full face lizards were about as scary and convincing as a halloween slip on mask. It became a bit silly. I hate cliffhangers that are unresolved. I can’t understand why they would create a cliffhanger for a show that was doing poorly in the ratings. It is really unfair to viewers who watched every episode.One can only wonder how it would of been resolved.

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REVIEW: V – THE FINAL BATTLE

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Peter Nelson (Die Hard 2)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
David Packer (Robocop)
Neva Patterson (An Affair To Remember)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)
Denise Galik (Two For The Money)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Andrew Prine (The Road West)
Viveka Davis (Timecode)
Jenny O’Hara (Mystic River)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 &2)
Mickey Jones (Sling Blade)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Diane Carey (Ugly Betty)

Jane Badler, Marc Singer, and Faye Grant in V (1984)Kenneth Johnson’s miniseries V was a huge May Sweeps success for NBC back in ’83. His story of alien invaders was a smartly veiled allegory for the unspeakable tyranny of the Nazi regime and the corrupting influence of power. But when the network clamoured for a longer sequel on a tighter budget and timetable, well, Johnson opted out and, sadly, it shows. V: The Final Battle (1984, 267 minutes) revels in constantly ripping off the lizards’ phony human faces and showing them tossing live critters down their gullets, while dramatically upping the gunplay, explosions and, in turn, the body count. Sure there’s some lip service paid to the not-so-niceness of fascism, the moral dilemma of abortion and especially relevant today, the sobering horrors of biological warfare.Jane Badler, Richard Herd, Peter Nelson, and Andrew Prine in V: The Final Battle (1984)When last we saw Julie and Donovan (Faye Grant and Marc Singer) they’d led their rag-tag resisters through a successful Visitor scale tanning, thus providing some measure of hope for an end to E.T. tyranny. Well, not so fast. There’s nearly five more hours to fill. This produces three cliffhanger’d together episodes of our plucky human heros cooking up and executing schemes to rain on the reptilian parade. First up, they decide to expose the alien conspiracy by yanking off Supreme Commander John’s doughy mug mid-press conference (Richard Herd). Later, they attack a pumping station that’s sucking the Earth’s oceans aboard the Visitor mothership. Then, as the title implies, there’s the final battle involving red talcum powder.Marc Singer and Frank Ashmore in V: The Final Battle (1984)New comer Michael Ironside stomps into the resistance group with the subtlety of a drunken Clydesdale and takes to telling everyone what clueless yahoos they are. And he’s RIGHT most of the time! As Ham Tyler, his checkered, mercenary past and gaggle of TNT-happy goons provide Julie’s neuvo-guerillas some much needed education in carnage creation.Jane Badler, Sarah Douglas, and Andrew Prine in V: The Final Battle (1984)There’s also the inevitable return of Robert Englund as Willie, everyone’s favorite cuddly value-sized iguana, who still can’t quite grasp the English language. Lizard Queen Diana (Jane Badler) now spends much of her time honing her bitchery by making humans wear unflattering white tights whilst subjecting them to her riotously absurd Brainwash-O-Tron. But the biggest jaw dropper of the miniseries is Robin (Blair Tefkin) offered herself up in the original as a one-woman welcoming party and got herself knocked up with a space-alien baby. When Ms. Horny Toad sprouts ghastly scales around her neck, it’s a pretty goldang strong indication the delivery ain’t gonna be anywhere near a Hallmark moment!

REVIEW: THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES

MAIN CAST
Christina Ricci (The Addams Family)
Clea DuVall (The Faculty)
Cole Hauser (2 Fast 2 Furiuous)
GUEST / RECURRING CAST
John Heard (Prison Break)
Andrew Howard (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Olivia Llewellyn (Penny Dreadful)
Jeff Wincott (S.W.A.T.)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Ralston (Bitten)
Bradley Stryker (Izombie)
Jessy Schram (Veronica Mars)
Jonathan Banks (Highlander: The Series)
Rhys Coiro (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones)

What happens after Lizzie Borden takes an ax to her father and stepmother? Lifetime follows up its popular television movie from 2014 about the notorious accused murderess with an eight-episode miniseries sequel that becomes a guilty pleasure


Lizzie (Christina Ricci) has been cleared of all wrongdoing in those earlier killings, though the townspeople of Fall River, Mass. suspect that she’s gotten away with murder. Lizzie delights in her new infamy, taking all the shade-throwing stares in stride and scaring the local children as opportunity permits. Trouble comes quickly, however, when her father’s former business partner, William Almy (John Heard), makes claims on the Borden estate.  Suddenly, Lizzie and her sister, Emma (Clea DuVall), find themselves threatened with bankruptcy, which doesn’t please their deadbeat half brother, William (Andrew Howard), who has appeared out of the blue looking for a handout. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also the matter of the dogged Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser), who has come to town with the express aim of proving Lizzie’s criminality. Even Better Call Saul’s Jonathan Banks shows up as a scarily temperamental gangster who does his best to intimidate Lizzie. What’s a girl to do in the face of all this threatening machismo but strengthen her resolve and sharpen ye ole hatchet? It’s not long into the first episode before Lizzie’s back to her murderous ways, bleeding men out with the well-placed stab of a hairpin or getting them drunk enough that they can more easily be pushed from high places with nooses around their necks.


The Lizzie Borden Chronicles best talent comes exclusively from Ricci and DuVall, who have a delectable rapport not too far removed from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford at their hag-horror peak in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Ricci’s porcelain-doll features make her seem even more alluringly alien now than she did as a child actress. There’s a winking self-consciousness to her portrayal of Lizzie that works to the character’s advantage; she’s like an out-of-time avenging angel, a feminist icon (before there were words to describe it) lashing out at patriarchy the only way she knows how. By contrast, DuVall is all plain-faced earnestness and the loving voice of reason that complements Lizzie’s lunacy, at least for now. It’s often tough to play the straight man to a more flashy companion, but DuVall does it exceptionally well.


The sisters’ relationship intrigues because it constantly seems on the point of implosion, and does come to a head by the end of the miniseries.