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V: The Original TV Miniseries

4.3 out of 5 stars 380 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

V: The Original Miniseries (DVD)

Aliens pretending to be friendly come to Earth and are received openly. The aliens have masqueraded themselves to look just like humans. When it is discovered that the aliens' planet is dying and that they have come to rape the Earth of its natural resources, the war for Earth begins. An important key to the humans' success is distinguishing their own from the aliens.



In its day, V was a monumental event that for one generation remains a pop-culture touchstone. Close Encounters of the Third Kind may have reassured us that perhaps we have nothing to fear from alien visitors and E.T. introduced us to a benign extraterrestrial who only wanted to go home, but Kenneth Johnson's 1983 television miniseries knew better. Visitors who claim to come in peace are revealed to be nothing but human-looking reptilians on human conversion and conquest. As in the dark days of fascism, some collaborate with the enemy; others form the resistance.

At the time, the epic scale of this production was unprecedented. Those 50 motherships that hover over Earth's major cities anticipate Independence Day by more than a decade. The special effects and makeup are still awesome. Less so is the often-hackneyed dialogue. But thanks to their signature roles, the mostly no-star cast, most of whom would be reunited for a sequel and subsequent television series, have ensured themselves standing invitations to sci-fi conventions. Marc Singer is cameraman-turned-freedom-fighter Mike Donovan. Julie Parrish is a medical student-turned-rebel. Richard Herd is the aliens' supreme commander. Jane Bradler is Diana, the ravishing but ruthlessly ambitious alien science officer. Leonardo Cimino lends dignity to his heavy-handed allegorical role as a Holocaust survivor. Look for a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund as one of the aliens.

The DVD is presented for the first time in widescreen format. Supplemental features include an amiable and enlightening director's commentary and a brief "making of" segment. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Making Of featurette
  • Director's commentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Dolby, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 196 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (380 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B8UD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,415 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "V: The Original TV Miniseries" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
For anyone who is a fan of 'alien invasion' movies, sci-fi in general, or just good-old storytelling, the original 'V' mini-series is an absolute classic. The story begins with the arrival of 50 gigantic spacecraft over 50 major cities around the world; a civilization of human-like beings have come to ask for our aid in saving their dying planet. Over the film's 3+ hours, our 'visitors' go from friend to foe, and humanity faces the prospect of enslavement by a facist regime, not unlike in World War II, this time on a world-wide scale. V was (and still is) unique in its ability to weave together action and drama, along with some sci-fi elements, to create a 'morality tale' of sorts. I must admit, there were a couple of scenes that still leave me choked up. The mini-series debuted on NBC in the Spring of 1983 and was followed by an excellent sequel, 'The Final Battle,' a year later. Considering the date of release, it must be mentioned that the special effects are not up to current CGI standards - don't come here expecting 'Independence Day', but there are some scenes that are still impressive, even by current standards. This was done back in the day when you had to build all your effects from scratch and there were no computers to fall back on!
On to the DVD release of 'V'...I must say this right now: if you're like me and you've seen V a hundred times already, you're in for a shock when you get a look at this version. The colors are brilliant and everything is so sharply in focus...it makes my old VHS version seem like watching t.v. with plastic-wrap over the screen. It looks that good! The audio track has been completely remastered and the majority of the effects have been enhanced. Every laser blast, every explosion, the whoosh of a passing fighter...
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By A Customer on August 1, 2001
Format: DVD
Like many, I was a BIG fan of both the "V" mini-series as a kid. Though even as a kid I found the dumbed-down weekly series to be sub-par, which is ironic considering I was the target demographic NBC was looking for. In rewatching the mini-series' as an adult it's apparent that "V: The Final Battle," while good, was also inferior to Ken Johnson's original. It's a shame he wasn't allowed to guide the further installments, "V" would probably still be on the air today in some form.
I wanted to clear up some of the confusion I'm seeing in these postings. First of all there is no missing footage, the mini-series is not cut in half. This DVD is exactly what it is billed as, "V - The Original Mini-Series." The original "V" was two parts which ran over two nights in 1983. It didn't have an ending, it wasn't really suppose to in order to tell its allegorical tale. The second mini-series, "V : The Final Battle" was three parts and aired over a year later. Both mini-series' were syndicated to UHF stations in the late eighties. Those stations usually ran all five parts over a week, though heavily edited. That might be what's confusing some. Considering this DVD has sold about four times better than Warner Bros. was expecting, I'd say it's a sure bet "The Final Battle" will be released on DVD before too long.
As to the Gag Reel, sadly it's not on the disc. It was supposed to be but unfortunately, Warner Bros. was unable to clear it for release. Too many of the actors wanted to be paid an additional fee for its inclusion on the disc. ... just never updated the information. Hope that helps!
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Format: DVD
Kenneth Johnson's superb 1983 mini-series might have dated visually, but this is easily overshadowed by the power of his writing and direction. 'V' is perhaps as fine an example of an alien invasion/conspiracy theory you will ever see, never equalled by The X-Files or the risible Independence Day (please compare the opening arrival sequences of these two films - homage my ass, ID4 is simply an inferior rip-off).
Populated by dozens of characters - the film has in excess of 90 speaking parts - this story centres, initially, around a young medical student called Julie Parrish (Faye Grant). It is through her that other characters come together to ally against the invading 'Visitors'. These characters cross all colour, class and religious lines to unite against the fascist, genocidal alien regime. The analogies to McCarthyism (with the witch-hunts for the Conspiracy of Scientists) and Nazism (genocide) are drawn sharply and early on.
Despite the immense scale of the project, 'V' has its strongest moments when the visual effects are absent, when the aliens are not on screen. Of course, the excitement rests in the suspense and secrecy that pervade the Resistance's fight with the aliens, sequences embellished with visual and make-up FX, but the true heart of this film resides firmly within its characters. It is through their losses and their triumphs that Johnson shows us that, at some point in our lives, we won't get by without the help of others, without sticking together, everyone included. The key scene in the film, which Johnson also wrote, is when the Bernstein's fight over allowing the Maxwell's to take refuge in their home.
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