What is V?

On the surface, V is an action-packed science fiction miniseries, complete with aliens, spaceships, and blaster guns. Not everyone sees the deeper message behind the lizards.

Kenneth Johnson, writer/creator of V, was deeply affected by reading Sinclair Lewis’ book It Can’t Happen Here, a chilling story of a fascist group that comes into full power in the United States, and was inspired to write a feature-screenplay called Storm Warnings that he brought to the NBC television network’s Brandon Tartikoff. Tartikoff encouraged him to rewrite the screenplay into a television series using the Soviets or the Chinese as the antagonists, as was common in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Kenny didn’t like the idea of using a real-life international rival, so Tartikoff suggested casting aliens instead as a global foe. Initially, Kenny was not on board with that idea, but the concept grew on him and Storm Warnings developed into V: The Original Miniseries, which aired on May 1, 1983.

After the success of the original miniseries, a second miniseries, V: The Final Battle (aired May 6, 1984), and a weekly television show () were produced and aired by NBC (although Kenny was not involved with them). An 18-issue V comic books series by DC Comics ran from February 1985 – July 1986 based on the television series. A novelization of the original miniseries by A.C. Crispin was released in 1984, followed by a series of books first published by Pinnacle Paperbacks (New English Library in the UK) and later Tor Books. In 2007, Kenny wrote his own follow-up book, V: The Next Generation, which was released on February 5, 2008. A revival of V aired on ABC in 2009 that lasted for two seasons.

The allegory of V remains relevant to this day.