Written by / 8/20/2017 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

ORIGINAL 'V' MINISERIES WITH 'THE FINAL BATTLE' & TV SHOW

Reviews of V: THE ORIGINAL MINISERIES with THE FINAL BATTLE and the TV SERIES 1983-1985
V: THE ORIGINAL MINISERIES (1983): About every five years it's time to rediscover the brilliance of a miniseries that, for a number of reasons, has gotten a bad rap on being pure, unapologetic camp, but it's wise not to mistake camp for cult, and to realize that every original vehicle with cheesy followups did begin with something worthy of being followed-up in the first place...

In that, director and writer Kenneth Johnson combined WAR OF THE WORLDS combined with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL into this cult miniseries centering on a relatively small band of Americans in a suburban town and slightly beyond, all effected by the slowly progressive takeover of aliens who seem very friendly at first, promising that, if we allow chemical plants to share our resources to aid their dying planet, they will, in turn, share a few things: like the cure for cancer, for starters...
Part of the UFO montage of V: THE ORIGINAL SERIES
Turns out they're not so friendly, and despite, on the surface, resembling a stalwart, square-jawed Richard Herd; a beautiful, curvaceous Jane Badler; and a serious Andrew Prine: deep down they're really lizards who devour rats like we do hour de vours at a cocktail party... 

Only it's a secret. And Badler's buried lead leader is the sinister and sexy Diane, hypnotically seducing network newswoman turned alien propagandist Kristine Walsh, the ex of the main hero, Marc Singer, whose intrepid cameraman character, Mike Donovan, and his Asian sidekick Tony Wah (Evan Kim) begins the show as they're being chased by military helicopters in South America while covering the story of a revolutionary uprising... 
Cult Film Freak Interviewee Greta Blackburn with Frank Ashmore and last but not least Jane Badler
This South American revolution was the biggest kind of war going on in the 1980s, and in a creative twist, director Johnson first shows the impending UFO scaring off the impending helicopter  the news cycle has changed, forever. And as director, "Kenny" (as he calls himself on the excellent commentary track) Johnson uses various ways of telling the story in an interesting manner... For example, when the media first covers the alien press conference, half is shown through flashbacks explained by a couple who were there...

The best scenes occur during the first half when the UFOs, covering every landmark, worldwide, send down the aliens in human form and go from friendly to vicious in a long, progressive manner in which Singer takes the active role as investigative hero. There is a somewhat heavy-handed, or at least, much too obvious symbolism of the aliens to the Nazi takeover during the late 1930's, highlighted by an old Jewish man who acts as the mellow lecturing Roman Chorus throughout. 
As noted up top... This is a local plant that resides on Studebaker Blvd right before Westminister Blvd
Two families headline the suburban setting: In one, the patriarch is an archeologist and the other is related to the concentration camp survivor. Since all scientists are considered a threat, for fear of the alien's true identity being revealed, the family with teenage daughter Blair Tefkin is key... 

The actress/singer replaced the murdered Dominique Dunne as Robin Maxwell, smitten with a blond, handsome member of the alien guard... 
Michael Ironside joins in FINAL BATTLE w/ Marc Singer as both hang in a hideaway that would also serve the TV Series
Meanwhile, the other family has their own teen, David Packer (who Dunne had been rehearsing with... from the front door, he witnessed her boyfriend strangling her), who never had a purpose until being a "narc" soldier working for the aliens, a gig he takes seriously — drastically sharpened by his unrequited lust for Robin.

Sure, there are plenty of soap operatic elements including relationships that build as slowly as the alien transition, also including Singer with the leading lady, Faye Grant's scientific idealist, Juliet Parrish... 
Writing V for Victory against the Alien Propaganda
The gorgeous GREATEST AMERICAN HERO actress, and the wife who called out STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE Stephen Collins on child molesting, leads an underground resistance that includes a black thief using street savvy tactics for the cause, and a collective that makes the original V more character-driven than anything else...

Although there's plenty of intrigue and suspense, even more than action which, by the end, seems a bit contrived  as if needing that element for mainstream viewer expectation. More proof that STAR WARS changed the sci-fi genre forever. You simply can't have a space flick without a lot of lasers blasting, frantic running around, and then some. 

"I left my spaceship... in San Fransisco... Where the lizards roam... With flowers in their..."
V: THE FINAL BATTLE (1984): In that, the real action is saved for a continuation that Kenneth Johnson had nothing to do with. Taking over for those we lost in the original are two characters played by a taut "b-actor" and a former Bob Dylan drummer...

Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler and Mickey Jones as Chris, his biker sidekick, are both former gritty mercenaries joined to the cause where the stakes are raised, and, while the suspenseful momentum-building aura is gone, there's enough happening to keep fans of the original, and anyone jumping on board, entertained.
The Romeo lizard who impregnates a human girl terminates TERMINATOR actor Dick Miller from FINAL BATTLE
"Though I supervised the writing of the 6-hour sequel, I left Warners over creative differences before it was produced," the original miniseries writer/director (and the man who brought The Incredible Hulk to television) Kenneth Johnson shared via email. "To this day I have never seen it, except for one minute by accident, in which I saw them make every wrong choice possible, so I knew I'd never survive watching the entire thing... And I never saw any of the Series at all."

Kenneth finishes with... "But my friends who were in it said it was pretty awful and certainly missed the essence of what I had been attempting to create."
Purple Spaceship Majesty hovering over the usually friendly suburbia
The first half begins with a bang, literally, and perhaps Johnson would have saved that for later. But what we get within minutes is a set-up for what's to come  a plot involving a telecast where the aliens will be revealed in true form (later used at the peak of John Carpenter's THEY LIVE)... 

In that, the intrigue and sporadic pockets of action override the characters. Wherein the original miniseries was character-driven, this is more a top-heavy espionage leading to something big through dialogue, mostly dealing with the survivors we already know, who don't do very much, really...
Leader Jane Badler showing her true colors in the partaking of her home planet's Rat Salad entree
Even leaders Faye Grant and Marc Singer are lost in their own leadership roles. While Singer does hold on a bit to his maverick persona, his bravado goes through the motions. All leading to a Part One finale so noticeably low budget, it's as if they had spent money on other things and couldn't afford the initial splurge... 

And in the soap opera department, Blair Tefkin deals with having a lizard growing inside her that will soon pop out, screaming... An embarrassingly awful image that tarnished the entire V series. And yet, like some bad songs are still catchy: this reptilian birth will remain forever in your memory banks (which you too will see further down)...
Another cool visual from the original movies
Before that, it's safely played and semi entertaining as Michael Ironside's Ham Tyler shows up to bring the action home. "In about five seconds, you're all gonna be cloud dancin'," Ham's partner, Chris (Mickey Jones), says. 

That about sums both characters up: Dime Novel Antiheroes, and they actually help the story evolve, especially one that keeps the gunplay ahead of any character arc or development: these guys are what's developed from the action itself as opposed to following along with it. The B-Movie combination of Singer and Ironside alone is worth the free price of admission from here on in...
In anything science-fiction over symbolism isn't such a terribly awful thing really
What works is the simplicity of the science-fiction aspect, morphing into a more STAR TREK stye vehicle in nature including a contraption that sucks human brains dry of knowledge and in that, the voluptuous Diana, as opposed to Andrew Prine and Richard Herd cameos, really shines as the lead heavy...

Basically, when skirmishes aren't being fought, they're being discussed, again taking away from the people. But that's the name of the game, literally, THE FINAL BATTLE. But FINAL isn't the case, as there was a one-season-wonder television series that quickly followed...
More Televisionish than ever is the V: TELEVISION SERIES here with Faye Grant looking at Lane Smith
V: THE WEEKLY TELEVISION SERIES (1984-1985): There are basically three different tiers to the V series, and all were trying very hard to keep the show thriving, and interesting, to an audience that just didn't catch on since the wonderment of the original miniseries had long worn off by the last (cliffhanging) episode. And it was all about saving money...

Which began an epic extension of THE FINAL BATTLE with our leading actors Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Michael Ironside, Mickey Jones, Blair Tefkin and her baby alien in human teenage form along with a young handsome guy with the usual feathered haircut, played surprisingly well by Jeff Yagher... who winds up the romantic lead with pretty "Star Child" Jennifer Cooke... all originally fighting the aliens in citywide landscape...
Rhonda Aldrich takes on the Visitors during the last leg of the TV Series when it went action-rural...
But the series veered from a collected team effort including scene stealers Ironside and Jones (both axed mid-season, which is explained further below the next screen capture), to a rural small town with much fewer leading characters: And along with this is a downsizing of action and overall events so it's not as thrilling; much cheaper to film; and no longer epitomizes, or even represents properly, the science-fiction category... 

So V wound up looking and feeling like mundane television fare: reminiscent of the original PLANET OF THE APES theatrical saga as well as television's 1970's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, the longer the show went on, the less money was spent, and it showed — ultimately, the price was paid. Although, Jane Badler's villainous Diana remains tried, true and dependably, entertainingly nefarious (especially while sparring with second-in-command SPINAL TAP actress June Chadwick as Lydia) no matter how cheap things get on the ground.
Michael Ironside and Marc Singer continued as the starring action-led team from The Final Battle
WHEN THE 'V' WEEKLY SERIES JUMPED THE SHARK: Ham Tyler, on his own, was in fact the best character on the weekly network series while also backing up and providing lead actor Marc Singer's character more purpose and, before that, made V: THE FINAL BATTLE worthwhile despite the infamous lizard baby...

But Ham and his wookie-sized partner Chris (Mickey Jones, who is basically rewritten-in to take Tyler away) were mercenaries, and mercenaries are built for big action sequences: which costs money. The way this show veered from sabotaging aliens with literally explosive heists and citywide capers, it turned from an epic science-fiction action show into a rural small town limited-adventure along the lines of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (liken to low budget sci-fi movies going the post-nuclear wasteland route instead of a pricey utopian future)…
In the Lucas-style enemy uniform trick, Jeff Yagher's Kyle Bates tricks a lizard in V The Series
While twenty-something soap opera-looking Jeff Yagher was an otherwise good character (an attempt at a dirt-bike-heroic GREAT ESCAPE Steve McQueen, but with feathered hair), he was also the network's romantic lead. Meanwhile, along with Ironside, Marc Singer and Faye Grant, the main stars of both movies leading up, took a backseat to Yagher and young ingenue Jennifer Cooke...

Even the never-resolved series' cliffhanger has Yager as the would-be savior, not Singer, as he's attempting to rescue Cooke from the mothership (that Diana rigged with explosives). If the series followed more along the lines of the movies, it'd be Singer trying to save Grant.

Diana makes a deal with "expensive" corporate villain Lane Smith on the show's second episode
The series went through other major changes before Ham left (along with Blair Tefkin, the Star Child's mother): For example, the sudden death of another original cast member, Michael Wright, as the black former-thief turned resilient trickster, Elias, who wound up running the city-centered restaurant that wouldn't be needed later on; and especially Lane Smith as the chief corporate villain (Yager's dad), who resided in a fancy futuristic building that probably cost the network even more money, which might've been another reason for the rural move...

But who knows… Ironside may have wanted to ditch the series. He was always working in those days. And while this is one fan's opinion, it's very often the case that, when a show dramatically changes gears during the last four or five episodes, it's because there was little to no future ahead...

Always the show's villainous proverbial bride and never a bridesmaid in Jane Badham's awesomely-armed Diana
A shame since the series initially had value: from the opening credit geek-porn image of formidable alien ships poised behind the moon to the continuance of creative, multi-tier plot-lines...

But no matter how cheap/limited things got, our gorgeous evil queen, Diana, remained a strong and significant presence. In other words, while the big city heroes became small town road racers, Diana (and her nemesis, Lydia) still resided in a big fancy space ship above: The last aspect about V: THE SERIES that still resembled its core genre of Science-Fiction.
SCORE FOR V: ORIGINAL MINISERIES: ****  THE FINAL BATTLE: ***1/2   TELEVISION SHOW: ***
Young Lovers for a TV audience is Starchild hottie Jennifer Cooke with Jeff Yagher as the James Dean wannabe
Looking as if Joan Cusack joined the band KISS, Jude Chadwick as Lydia fights a very known enemy....
The Series has moments of Planet of the Apes irony like this Lizard wearing a Man not Alligator Shirt
Before Robert Englund became a horror villain he was comic relief on V: THE SERIES
For the TV series, Jane Badler's Diana has June Chadwick on an endless tightrope
Michael Ironside's mercenary Ham Tyler battles old war-mate Marc Singer at the locale of Camp Pendleton
Before the infamous Lizard Baby was the human baby with forked tongue in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
And here's The Lizard Baby itself born screeching  in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Mysterious-UFO-Gathering-In-The-Skies Shot from The Original Miniseries of Kenneth Johnson's V
Mysterious-UFO-Gathering-In-The-Skies Shot from The Original Miniseries of Kenneth Johnson's V
Mysterious-UFO-Gathering-In-The-Skies Shot from The Original Miniseries of Kenneth Johnson's V (about 7 minutes away in LB, California)
Former escaped Jew Michael Cimino reliving a nightmare in V by Kenneth Johnson
Mysterious-UFO-Gathering-In-The-Skies Shot from The Original Miniseries of Kenneth Johnson's V
Penelope Windust paints a spacey portrait in V The Original Miniseries as Kathleen Maxwell viewed by underdog hero Rafael Campos
The first shot of the UFO as Marc Singer chased an enemy copter and ran into this
Blair Tefkin gets bored and escapes and after she's captured... sex and a lizard baby... pop culture fate of V...
The first V on DVD signed by veteran actor Richard Herd and the TV DVD set signed by Jeff Yagher
 Blair Tefkin and Viveka Davis in V
Viveka Davis, Marin May and Penelope Windust as The Maxwell family in V
Faye Grant in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Jenny Neumann as good alien Barbara in V: THE ORIGINAL MINISERIES w/ Marc Singer
Sexy V alien blonde Jenny Neumann in MISTRESS OF THE APES
And again Jenny Neumann as Barbara with Marc Singer in V
Viveka Davis, Penelope Windust and Marin May in V
Neva Patterson as Marc Singer's bitch mom on V and here from V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Another UFO hovering shot this one from V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Since we're so in love with Denise Galik as Maggie here's one of several from V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Denise Galik as Maggie in V: THE FINAL BATTLE with David Packer
Jane Badham & Jenny Sullivan w/ their lesbian undertone sustained into V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Spinal Tap's Yoko Ono in British actress June Chadwick in V: THE SERIES
One of the final battles From V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Denise Galik as Maggie in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Faye Grant doing her Princess Leia with gun in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Jane Badham as Diana fires Jenny Sullivan as Kristine Walsh in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Frank Ashmore and the gorgeous Greta Blackburn in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Denise Galik with Sandy Simpson and Mickey Jones in the back
Denise Galik and tough bearded Mickey Jones and Chris Farber and Sandy Simpson
Denise Galik and Mickey Jones all three of these photos from V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Cute girls are cute girls even during V: THE FINAL BATTLE w/ Faye Grant as Julie Parish
Sarah Douglas, Richard Herd (signer of the DVD) and Andrew Prine in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Denise Galik as Maggie in V: THE FINAL BATTLE
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

GENE TIERNEY & DANA ANDREWS IN OTTO PREMINGER'S 'LAURA'

Nothing like a spoiler built into a poster for LAURA Year: 1944 Dana Andrews as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson has fallen in love with a ghost...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "Been to L.A. and I've been to Mexico. And I've been laid." Charles Bronson to Al Lettieri, Mr. Majestyk

Blog Archive

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR
"I certainly admire people who do things."

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

MOVIES 1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)HOT CARS 5)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD 10)SHARKS' TREASURE 11)AIR PATROL 12)CURSE OF THE DEMON 13)HARDCORE 14)EASY LIVING 15)WICHITA 16)SWEENEY TWO 17)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 18)WHITE HEAT 19)FALLEN ANGEL 20)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 21)SMOKESCREEN 22)AL CAPONE 23)THE SERGEANT 24)THE DEFECTOR 25)CANYON RIVER 26)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 27)THE BEST OF EVERYTHING 28)THE HEARSE 29)MADISON AVENUE 30)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)ORSON WELLES 5)JACK NICHOLSON 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)STEVE COCHRAN DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)MAURY DEXTER 7)JOHN GUILLERMIN 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)FAYE DUNAWAY 3)SUE LYON 4)GENE TIERNEY 5)MERRY ANDERS GREATEST FILMS 1)THE GODFATHER PART II 2)LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 3)THE GODFATHER 4)CHINATOWN 5)GOODFELLAS

SCIENCE-FICTION STUFF

Popular This Month

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE
Open the door to DANA ANDREWS Cinema

DANA ANDREWS FACEBOOK

BLOGS OF INTEREST

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

SOARING TO THE EIGHTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES
Wisdom. Inspiration. Wrestling Instruction.

All Time Popular

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

TALES AND REFLECTIONS
"Really cool and a lot of class." Yaphet Kotto

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE