about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The "V" Marathon

This is Steven Petrick posting:

Back in the 1980s I was in the Army. For much of my service, I was, by my own choice, cut off from the outside world. By that I principally mean I did not watch TV. I read a lot, including the newspaper, but hardly ever watched TV.

The upshot is that I never saw V: not the original two-part miniseries, not the subsequent three-part miniseries, and certainly not the nineteen-episode TV series.

In preparation for the premier of the new TV series, the Science Fiction Channel ran all of the previous V episodes. In past years, that would not have meant much (it comes down to, with commercial breaks, almost thirty hours) since I was not likely to have five VCRs with six-hour tapes, or four VCRs with eight-hour tapes, or three VCRs with ten-hour tapes. This is, however, the epoch of Tivo, so I recorded all 29.5 hours.

I spent much of the Thanksgiving weekend watching these (I have the last three hours remaining at this time).

I can comment that Independence Day probably drew from the opening of V, as the motherships arrived over Earth cities, but for the most part much of the series filled me with laughter.

Do not get me wrong. The special effects were cutting edge for their time, I am fairly certain. But so much was predicated on the "Resistance", and . . . well there were times I found myself wondering if the Iraqi branch of Al Qaida watched the series in formulating how they would fight our troops in Iraq. It was humorous as heck to watch the resistance doing "spray and pray" and "V" troops dropping left and right.

Oh, the "V" weapons were cute. They were roughly the equivalent of bolt-action rifles (given their rate of fire), with miraculously lousy target penetration. They could shoot a closed door to pieces, for example, but could not penetrate that door to kill someone on the other side. Thirty caliber slugs would tear through the door and continue on down the hallway to kill the fleeing resistance fighters. But worse, it meant that the heroes (once they got their Teflon-coated bullets) always had the edge in raw firepower.

Oh, yes. The resistance also had the "endless magazines". You know, the ones that only run out of bullets when the plot needs them too.

And of course the "V" troopers suffered from "Stormtrooper Syndrome", i.e., they could not hit the heroes to save their lives.

I can hope that the new series is better, but I had decided not to watch it until I finished watching the original.