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Press Release Warner Archive Press Release: V: The Original Miniseries (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Apparently Ironside was to come back in the next episode (#20) which was never filmed (obviously). Faye Grant's character was also to have been killed off as Diana got control back. Then the series would have changed focus - again - and become more of a road show with a quest, with Donovan, Tyler, Kyle, Elizabeth and Willie looking from some object which was to be a key to defeating the visitors.

    It usually takes years for a series to get that far away from its original concept. V took months.
     
  2. Message #42 of 61 Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    The writers were probably not the best choices for that particular series, and the studio didn't quite know what they wanted from the show, either. They were getting tons of feedback from NBC complaining about the violence, which they tried to tone down, but I think also the show had a crummy time slot (Friday nights at 9:00 p.m., which was against #2 rated Dallas).

    Episode #3 "The Breakout" supposedly had so much violence that NBC refused to air it. Instead of re-editing it, the producers shelved it and reshot scenes from the next episode. This was a really weird decision, because it threw off the momentum of the early continuity. And if you watch it, yeah, there's some violence, but it's not more violent than "Miami Vice" or anything else that was popular in those days. Another early episode "Visitor's Choice" was also supposedly very violent, however this one was trimmed prior to airdate.

    I think NBC was overly-scrutinizing the show simply because it was the most expensive show airing in the 84-85 season. And that's really hard to believe because it looks so cheap. They already had the Mothership sets leftover from the mini-series to use and they loaded the weekly with old stock footage. There were very, very few new special effects done for that show. Where were they spending all this money? On stunts? The cast was pretty much filled with B celebrities; their combined fees couldn't have broken the bank.

    Because of the interference, I think they burned through the first season story bible way too quick. All the stuff in ep. 12 seems like it would have been a good season finale--if they'd had another 10 episodes to get to that point. The death of Nathan Bates seems unearned. There was a lot more story to tell, but they were rushing through things, I think. Rushing means continuity errors--Nathan had a jogger's pulse monitor that was supposed to release the Red Dust if he ever died. That was forgotten in all the chaos (between episodes 10-13). Jeff Yaeger stated in an interview that they shot a scene where Kyle removed the monitor from his dad's arm and put it on himself. That's a story point that could have been used for a little drama in future episodes, but no, it was all just swept away.

    From 13-19, it was known that the budget had been reduced, so they were forced to do some quick, stand alone episodes. Only one of them--the episode with the bikers--had a decent budget. But right away the writers were making dumb decisions. Episode 13 concerns a human woman holed up in a storefront, about to give birth, but the Visitors are outside trying to kill them all. Just three weeks later--you get the same exact plot. Except this time, it's a Visitor woman who's holed up, about to give birth. I mean, what the hell--they only had 7 episodes to film. Why reuse scripts?

    I do wish they would have filmed that last episode to end the series in a better place. But it may be just as well. Julie was slated to die (Faye Grant had had enough and begged for them to end her contract). I don't think the fans of the original mini (myself included) would have stood for her death. We all hated it when they'd kill off actors from the original mini, like Elias or Robert. I also don't think it would have been best to continue the series in season two as a "road trip" kind of thing. This wasn't "The Fugitive." The series worked best when it was grounded in a discernible base of operations (Club Creole) and it had a clear plot: Visitors vs. the Resistance set in Los Angeles. With them running around too much, as they did in those last 7 episodes, it lacked grounding and therefore, focus.

    I agree with you--they burned through all the stories too quickly and ran the series into the ground...in just 19 weeks!
     
  3. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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    Evidently they were actually already in production on episode #20 (which would’ve brought Michael Ironside back to the series), but they got shut down right in the middle of shooting in late February, 1985 (or early March) when the network suddenly cancelled the show.
     
  4. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    I would love to see that footage, just out of curiosity.

    Funny thing is if they simply deleted the line about Diana somehow leaving a bomb aboard the Leader's shuttle, the final episode would have worked just fine as a finale. Not a "good" episode by any means, but a definitive conclusion for the most part. Peace with the visitors leaving open only Kyle's fate as he goes off to be with Elizabeth. An open ending is better than an unresolved cliffhanger.
     
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  5. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    They should have adapted that last script for the comic book series. But I don't think the producers wanted it in print, because they were proposing a third mini-series to wrap things up, and they might have wanted a different direction.
     
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  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I hadn't heard that. The story that I heard (from an interview with one of the show's producers...it's been so long ago, I don't remember where I saw it) was that after production wrapped on the season, NBC had offered to give the producers money to solicit some story outlines for a proposed second season, but Blatt and Singer decided to take that money and write a complete script instead, which would show how they'd get out of the cliff-hanger, change direction and cut costs (by eliminating some cast, etc).

    I don't think he said any actual shooting had taken place, just that NBC had given him some development money to see if they could take the show in a direction that would interest the network in doing another season.
     
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  7. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The shut-down in the middle of producing an episode story I know happened with "Galactica 1980" but I'd never heard that story as applied to "V".
     
  8. Message #48 of 61 Jul 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
    Ethan Riley

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    I don't think they'd actually begun filming ep. 20. There was a series of books from Starlog magazine about V. I believe the writers were talking about that last episode; it was in preliminary stages and only an early draft had ever been turned in. I believe the cancellation notice came when they were filming #19 and they just finished it up and went on hiatus. You can tell some of that episode was done in haste. There's some minor plot errors such as when Willie declares he knows a secret passage into the next room (but they never utilize this).

    A TV Guide article at the time was hopeful. The article claimed that "V" was on a brief hiatus but they were going to film three more scripts to close out the season. This obviously didn't happen.

    The Starlog books also went on to say that the producers submitted proposals for two different minis to air in 1986. The first, more expensive one, would have taken the characters to the Visitors' home world and they'd film it out in Utah or another desert state to simulate an alien landscape. The cheaper alternative was to have it set on Earth and be about the Armistice. In this one, the war was over but some Visitors remained on Earth and were trying to assimilate into society (maybe a little like Kenneth Johnson's later "Alien Nation.")
     
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  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m not very well versed on “V” so this is more of an opinion question:

    I saw the remake or reboot or whatever that was on TV a few years ago. For fans of the original, was the new version something that went over well, or was it more like “please stop”?

    I honestly have no memory as to whether or not I enjoyed it, just that I watched it, and I’m curious to know how V fans felt about it.
     
  10. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    I think the remake started out okay, but really just got far too over the top with a lot of people making the stupidest decisions. There was a lot of bad blood with fans when they initially refused to give Ken Johnson a credit for the concept. However, that finally happened (lawsuit maybe? I forget). The series ultimately pissed me off by ending on a major cliffhanger. Why it annoyed me: the producers knew renewal was unlikely, but they had the feeling of "let's end on a cliffhanger, so they HAVE to renew us!" Like, when has that ever worked???
     
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  11. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    The New V was "Please Stop" and then some. The reasons of which would dive into Politics as the show was pretty Right Wing.
     
  12. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    One thing I liked about the remake: adding Jane Badler to the cast in the second season as Anna's mother.
    One thing that really annoyed me: referring to the aliens as "VEEs" (as in, the plural of the letter V). What was wrong with "Visitors"?
     
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  13. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    The New V...I watched. I kind of hated it. It just was sooooooooooo slow. It spent episode after episode going nowhere. The first season got split with a really long hiatus from November to about March. The viewer momentum was lost. The network (ABC) complained about the declining ratings. It got renewed for a second season by the skin of its teeth. You have to remember that this was when reality shows began to decline and the networks were desperate for anything to get viewers. The second season again, just kind of went nowhere. I remember getting very bored with it. It just didn't hold my interest like the original did.
     
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  14. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Did anyone get this from Amazon? I ordered it about a month ago and not only didn’t it show up yesterday but Amazon now says to expect it September 11-24. WTF?!?

    I guess Amazon is feuding with Warner again. I spent 40 minutes yesterday chatting with Amazon and 15 today on the phone with them. The online chats are useless. They clearly don’t know how the service works. Today, through a supervisor, I managed to get a $10 credit for my trouble. I was told they do not issue Prime credits anymore.

    Amazon’s service is abysmal. And contacting them for help is very difficult, which is no doubt by design.
     
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  15. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    That's what I've heard around the board, but if anyone knows, I'd love to know more about when this latest feud is supposed to have started. The last Warner title I ordered from Amazon was A Star is Born, and it arrived on its release date just fine in February.
     
  16. Message #56 of 61 Aug 28, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
    The Drifter

    The Drifter Supporting Actor

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    Good to know about the delay re: the Blu release of the V mini-series. I considered ordering it from Amazon, but now I'll wait. The listing on Amazon now says "usually ships within 1-4 weeks". I.e., it sounds like they're currently out of stock.
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Every WAC title I have ordered from Amazon gets delayed.

    I don't order them from Amazon anymore. I purchase from BestBuy or DeepDiscount.
     
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  18. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Somehow, my copy shipped and is supposed to arrive today.
     
  19. Message #59 of 61 Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
    Ethan Riley

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    I have it, watched it. So here is my two cents of thoughts:

    First of all, the aspect ratio that everyone's complaining about. It just doesn't look right. Especially in extreme close-ups; everyone's head is cut off. The framing is just really weird for a movie. Another thing is the blu-ray reveals all the flaws from composite special effects. There's some very harsh cut-outs when Visitor space ships are in frame. Also the grain is doubled in all those endless scenes during the first half hour when the neighbors are all watching tv. Those are obvious composite shots--the actors were all looking at tv's affixed with green screen coverage. All those scenes double the grain and when they shift to something else, the grain is much finer. That's just the way it is--no way to fix it but to go back to the OCNs and recompose the special effects digitally. So all I'm saying is that the blu-ray does reveal the limitations of 80s camera work.

    When I popped the disc in, I wasn't getting good black levels; everything looked a little brown and green. I had to jigger the black levels. Easy enough to do and I quickly was getting a picture satisfactory to what I remembered in terms of the colors of people's clothes and things. No digital noise, but there are weird black levels in those composite shots I mentioned. Basically, anything in the lower frame that was out-of-focus on purpose (furniture, etc) gets more grain, to the point of distraction. Then the in-focus human figures in back, who are in full focus look fine. Just weird looking from time to time, but this only happens in certain shots.

    As for the sound---WOW. Crystal clear and uncompressed. The soundtrack BOOMS the way it should. It sounds like a brand new movie, not a 36 year old tv show. The voices are usually very good, except for some instances where the on-set mics were probably not quite right. Mostly though, you are going to hear Joe Harnell's Wagner-inspired score like never before. I do have that limited ed. soundtrack cd...the blu sounds twice as good. I was hearing all kinds of instruments that did not pick up on the cd. Lots of lower drum rolls, some timpani in the overture. All of the noise in the battle scenes has been separated adequately. I heard directional explosions going off just where they should and none of it obscured the concurrent dialogue.

    So to summarize, those concerned about the aspect ratio won't be satisfied by this release. It probably won't bother those who never saw it in 4:3 but I did notice some weirdness. Fans of the musical score will be very very happy.
     
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  20. Message #60 of 61 Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    The Drifter

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    OK, thanks for the detailed review. I'm glad I didn't waste money on this V Blu-ray - it sounds terrible. I hate it when they screw with the aspect ratio like that. IIRC, I haven't seen this mini-series since the '80's/early '90's; I know I saw it on it's initial broadcast, and may have seen it on VHS later (never got the previous DVD release). But, I may not want to watch it again at all at this point - given that there are no modern home video releases that present this the way it was first seen on TV.

    Also, this review brings up a good point about something I've always felt: The fact that an HD presentation can enhance the limitations/issues/problems of older special effects & actually result in an HD picture looking worse than one with lesser PQ.

    What the aspect ration issue reminds me of is the first season of the iconic Kung Fu TV series from the early '70's (starring the late David Carradine) on regular DVD. I was really looking forward to this, but when I got it they did something similar re: messing with the original full screen (4:3) presentation & making it a pseudo-WS piece of #@#%. This ruined the presentation & cut off critical elements (people's heads, etc.) They corrected this for the 2nd & 3rd seasons of the series, but the damage had been done (and they never went back & corrected the 1st season). It would be great if all three seasons would hit Blu & they would correct the aspect ratio from the first season, but that hasn't happened yet (and may never happen).
     

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