The letter 'V' daubed in red paint on a black background
Created byKenneth Johnson
Based onV
by Kenneth Johnson
Developed byScott Peters
ComposerMarco Beltrami
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes22 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Production locationsVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseNovember 3, 2009 (2009-11-03) –
March 15, 2011 (2011-03-15)

V is an American science fiction drama television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009, to March 15, 2011.[1][2] A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new series chronicles the arrival on Earth of a technologically-advanced alien species which ostensibly comes in peace, but actually has sinister motives.[3] V stars Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin, and was executive produced by Scott Rosenbaum, Yves Simoneau, Scott Peters, Steve Pearlman, and Jace Hall.[4] The series was produced by The Scott Peters Company, HDFilms and Warner Bros. Television. On May 13, 2011, ABC cancelled it after two seasons.


Main article: List of V (2009 TV series) episodes

Giant spaceships appear over 29 major cities throughout the world, and Anna (Morena Baccarin), the beautiful and charismatic leader of the extraterrestrial "Visitors", declares that they come in peace. The Visitors claim to only need a small amount of Earth's resources, in exchange for which they will share their advanced technological and medical knowledge. As a small number of humans begin to doubt the sincerity of the seemingly benevolent Visitors, FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers that the aliens are actually reptilian humanoids wearing pseudo-human skin, who have spent decades infiltrating human governments, businesses, and religious institutions, and are now in the final stages of their plan to take over the Earth. Erica joins the resistance movement, which includes Ryan (Morris Chestnut), a Visitor sleeper agent who over time developed human emotions and now wants to save humanity. Their rebellion becomes a part of a larger "Fifth Column" movement of both humans and Visitors opposed to Anna's vague but seemingly menacing plans for Earth and humanity, but their efforts are challenged as the Visitors have won favor among the people of Earth by curing a variety of diseases and have recruited Earth's youth – including Erica's son Tyler (Logan Huffman) – to serve them unknowingly as spies.[2]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
112November 3, 2009 (2009-11-03)May 18, 2010 (2010-05-18)
210January 4, 2011 (2011-01-04)March 15, 2011 (2011-03-15)

Cast and characters

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Main cast

Seven cast members of V in a line with a city backdrop.
Original characters from left to right: Jack Landry, Valerie Stevens, Tyler Evans, Erica Evans, Anna, Chad Decker, and Ryan Nichols

Supporting cast


The series was announced in May 2009, to be executive produced by Scott Peters, Jace Hall, Steve Pearlman, and Jeffrey Bell.[10] Filming of the post-pilot episodes began on August 10, 2009.[11] Cast member Elizabeth Mitchell noted that the show would do service to the most iconic moments from the original franchise.[12]

Peters later confirmed that in addition to potentially using cast members from the 1983 miniseries, the new series would nod to the original in other ways.[11] He said that when asking people what they thought were the most memorable elements of V, the top responses included "the huge ships, the red uniforms, eating the hamster, and [the] alien baby," adding that "we are well aware of those moments and are looking to put our own little spin on them to tip our hat to the old audience."[11][13]

Entertainment Weekly put the original V on its 2008 list "The Sci-Fi 25: The Genre's Best Since 1982" and called Visitor leader Diana's devouring of a guinea pig "one of the best TV reveals ever."[14] Asked about the 1983 reveal of the Visitors' reptilian appearance beneath their human disguise, Peters noted "That was the other one, of course... We tried to put our own [spin on it]. We're... a little bit different than their execution of it. It wasn't so much latex mask as it is real flesh and blood."[11]

Reuters called the idea behind V "a powerhouse concept that combines conflict, suspense and imagination with some heavy-duty philosophical issues," noting that the update "preserves the original framework but shifts the atmosphere to accommodate contemporary concerns... the militaristic notes will be more subdued. Instead, there will be more of a post-9/11 emphasis on questions of trust and terror."[3]

Production on the show was temporarily suspended in August 2009, pending the resolution of a dispute filed with the Writers Guild of America by original creator Kenneth Johnson. Warner Bros. sought to remove Johnson's "created by" status by claiming that the new show was so fundamentally changed from Johnson's original premise that it constituted a standalone work and not a remake. The Writers Guild, however, disagreed, and when production resumed in September 2009, Johnson retained the credit.[15][16]

In September 2009, it was announced that four episodes of V would air in November 2009, and that the series would resume its 12-episode season in March 2010 after the 2010 Winter Olympics.[17] ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson said, "We always intended to break the show up into 'pods' to make it more of an event."[17] As production of the fourth episode of V wrapped, it was announced on November 3, 2009, that Scott Rosenbaum had been named executive producer and showrunner of the series, with Peters and Hall remaining as executive producers.[4] Production of the remaining eight episodes resumed in January 2010 with new episodes returning March 30, 2010.[18] On May 13, 2010, ABC renewed V for a second season.[19] The second season premiered January 4, 2011, but the original order of 13 episodes was reduced to 10.[20]

On May 13, 2011, ABC announced that V was canceled.[21]


Critical reception

The series premiere of V received "generally favorable reviews", scoring 67 out of 100 on Metacritic based on reviews from 23 critics.[22] E! Online stated "on a scale of 1 to 10, we give it an 11. V is the best pilot we've seen in, well, forever."[23] USA Today's Robert Bianco put V on his list of the top ten new shows, stating that the remake is well-made and "quickly establishes its own identity,"[24] and The Hollywood Reporter called the new series "clever enough for a cult following and accessible enough to reach a broad demo."[3] King Features' entertainment reporter Cindy Elavsky calls V "the best new show on television, by far. The special effects are feature-film quality; the writing is intelligent and time-relevant; and the acting is first-rate. The first five minutes alone will hook you for the entire season."[25] The New York Times wrote that "The ideas in V, about alien encounters and mass delusion and media manipulation, are enticing. It's too bad that they're floating around in a show that at this early stage, is so slapdash and formulaic in its storytelling."[26] The A.V. Club gave V's premiere a 'C' rating, calling it "rote and by-the-numbers."[27]

Metacritic gave the second-season premiere a score of 49/100 based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating mixed reviews.[28]


The re-imagined series has been interpreted by some reviewers as an allegory of the presidency of Barack Obama.[29][30][31] In his review of the show, Troy Patterson of Slate points out that bloggers and journalists had noticed parallels between the show's premise and the Obama administration, and writes that "if the show is to have the symbolic import that we expect from a science-fiction story, this is the only possible way to read V as a coherent text. The only problem with this analysis lies in its generous presupposition that the text is, in fact, coherent."[29] Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post noted in her review that the fact the series was debuting on the first anniversary of Obama's election "was not lost on some ... TV critics" and also remarked that the use of phrases present in the series (such as "hope", "change", and "Universal Health Care" being offered by the Visitors) made it seem as though "Lou Dobbs had taken over the network, as those things only became popular with the current administration."[30] Chicago Tribune reviewer Glenn Garvin called the show "controversial", saying the series was "a barbed commentary on Obamamania that will infuriate the president's supporters and delight his detractors."[31]

The show's cast and crew deny this interpretation. Actress Morena Baccarin acknowledges that she had modeled her character, Visitor leader Anna, after politicians but she and series executive producer Peters were surprised by the controversy. At a press conference at Summer TV Press Tour 2009, Peters said that the show was open to interpretation and that "people bring subjective thoughts to it... but there is no particular agenda."[30] Bell agreed, stating that it was simply "a show about spaceships."[29]

In retrospect, Baccarin said: "Originally what was intended with the show, the aliens—the visitors had been amongst us for hundreds of years and were the impetus and the catalyst for a lot of plagues and a lot of world wars, and had kind of instigated these things to kind of try to end humanity and to control humanity. I thought that was the direction that we were headed, and then we ended up having two or three different showrunners, and ABC didn't really know which direction they wanted to take the show. It became kind of a mess, but what first attracted me to the show was definitely this possibility that we could make parallels to the modern world."[32]


Graph of the U.S. viewing figures of the first season of V.

The pilot episode which aired on November 3, 2009, garnered 14.3 million viewers and scored a 5.2 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds, making it the highest debut of the 2009–10 season.[33] The first four episodes of the first season averaged 9.75 million viewers and a 3.4 rating among 18- to 49-year-olds, ranking 34th in the television season. The remainder of season 1 began airing in March 2010, and by the end of the second half of the season the average viewer count had dropped to 5.72 million viewers and a 2.3 18–49 rating, ranking 89th.[34]

The second season averaged 6.93 million viewers per episode and had an average 18–49 rating of 2.5,[35] ranking 75th for the 2010–11 season.[36]

In the UK, the show premiered on the premium channel Syfy. The original broadcast of the pilot was seen by 481,000 viewers and was the most watched show for the network for its entire first season.[37] The second season premiered to 401,000 viewers, again becoming #1 for the network.[37] In October 2010, when the show debuted on the free-to-air channel Channel One, it gained even higher ratings. The pilot episode garnered 541,000 viewers (and 338,000 for the repeat viewing two days later). The show remained the channel's number one show for several weeks, and was in the channel's top 3 for the entirety of its first season.[38]


V was nominated for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series at the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the pilot episode.[39] The show was also nominated for Favorite New TV Drama at the 36th People's Choice Awards[40] and for Best Television Presentation. Morena Baccarin was nominated for Best Supporting Actress on Television at the 36th Saturn Awards.[41] At the 37th Saturn Awards, the show received three nominations, for Best Network Series, Elizabeth Mitchell for Best Actress in Television, and Morena Baccarin for Best Supporting Actress in Television.[42] At the 8th Visual Effects Society Awards, the show received nominations in the categories of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series and Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial, winning in the Created Environment category for the Atrium and ship interiors.[43]

Cancellation response

Following ABC's cancellation of V in May 2011, the fan letter-writing campaign "Project Alice" began writing to Warner Bros. to renew the series on a different network.[44] The campaign initially sought to get the show renewed on TNT, while later efforts had also concentrated on the CW Network as well. Both networks are owned by Warner Bros. Television's parent company, Time Warner. Ultimately the campaign was unsuccessful.

DVD and Blu-ray releases

Season Release dates
Region 1 (U.S./Canada) Region 2 (UK/South Africa/Europe) Region 4 (Australia) Region 4 (New Zealand) Region 4 (Mexico)
1 November 2, 2010[45] November 8, 2010[46] November 10, 2010[47] November 17, 2010[48] December 9, 2010[49]
2 October 18, 2011[50] October 24, 2011[51] October 26, 2011[52]

Special features on the first season DVD and Blu-ray include a commentary track on "Fruition" by executive producers Scott Rosenbaum and Steve Pearlman, deleted scenes, and four behind-the-scenes featurettes – "The Actor's Journey from Human to V", "An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V", Breaking Story: The World of V", and "The Visual FX of V".

Special features on the second season DVD and Blu-ray include deleted and extended scenes, blooper reel, and two featurettes – "The Arc of Story: Mining the Human Evolution" and "A Visual Masterpiece for the Small Screen".


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