When World War II allegory/alien invasion opus V debuted on NBC as a mini-series in May 1983, it captured the imagination of the United States, with an astounding 40% of the country tuning in. But while creator Kenneth Johnson pushed for the story to continue with a series of two-hour movies, NBC wanted a sequel mini-series, followed by a new, weekly series. So Johnson did what any creative type might: he balked and exited the show.
V moved on without him, but it was never the same. The creeping dread of the original was replaced with one-dimensional characters and recycled stock footage. By the end, complete scenes from earlier episodes were re-purposed — even footage of characters running. What started as smart science fiction, collapsed into a silly soap cartoon centered around what Jane Badler might eat that week. Spoiler: guinea pig lovers, beware
As you might expect, V couldn’t be bothered giving the remaining viewers one last satisfactory scene. In the finale, The Visitors agree to peace, but only if human-Visitor hybrid “Starchild” Elizabeth Maxwell returns with their leader to the Visitors’ planet. She agrees, breaking her boyfriend Kyle’s heart to the point he stows away in the Leader’s shuttle. As all of this alien 90210 drama plays out, Diana attempts to overthrow the leader — when foiled, the show makes it clear she’s planted a bomb on his ship.
And then … nothing. NBC just canceled the series, citing the expensive nature of the show, which cost a record breaking $1 million per show. A million for that? Imagine if they actually paid to film new scenes of characters running.