Leaping lizards: NBC is reviving “V,” the landmark 1980s sci-fi mini about an alien invasion of Earth.
Peacock has made a script commitment to Warner Bros. TV for a three-hour telepic dubbed “V: The Second Generation,” with original mini creator Kenneth Johnson set to write, direct and exec produce. Johnson is talking to original stars Marc Singer, Robert Englund, Jane Badler and Faye Grant about reprising their roles, though no official casting conversations will take place until the project is greenlit by NBC longform topper Jeff Gaspin.
Original mini, which aired the first two nights of May 1983, featured a group of aliens — the Visitors — who seem friendly at first but turn out to be slimy, lizard-like creatures bent on taking over our planet. “V” scored monster ratings — its conclusion snagged a 40 share of all viewers — giving the then-struggling NBC a major Nielsen boost.
20 years later
“The Second Generation” will be set 20 years after the original, with the Visitors now in control of much of the Earth, according to Johnson.
“The alien force is deeply entrenched, has turned many Earth people into followers and is sweeping them toward a dangerous new conquest,” he said. “The Resistance seems to be fighting a losing battle when suddenly Earth gains a powerful and mysterious new ally.”
Scribe, who also developed and exec produced Fox’s cult classic “Alien Nation” skein, said the new “V” will give him the chance to fulfill a long-held “passion to dig even deeper into the characters and circumstances.” Johnson worked briefly on the script to the sequel to “V,” the six-hour 1984 mini “V: The Final Battle,” but wasn’t involved in the final production of the mini or the subsequent short-lived NBC series spinoff.
Gaspin said he’s been talking to co-exec producer Rob Lee for “quite a while” about bringing back “V.”
“We went through quite a few treatments before we went to script,” he said. “The way the original served as a metaphor for what was happening in the 1940s, the new version feels like it could be a metaphor for the new millennium.”
And while the pic is envisioned as a stand-alone project, “It still retains the feel of a franchise,” Gaspin said. Translation: If the ratings for the new “V” go through the roof, more sequels are a possibility.
“There’s a passionate fan base, but we want to try to bring new people to ‘V,’ ” Gaspin said.
Warner Bros. exec Gregg Maday is supervising the project for the studio. If greenlit, project wouldn’t be ready until fall 2004 at the earliest.