Lessons From “V” and its Parallels in History and Today

RJ Kelsay and Angie Kelsay

6/13/20235 min read

A Look At “V”

In the early 1980s writer and producer Kenneth Johnson pitched an idea for a mini-series to NBC studios. He wanted the series to be based around the book It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, a political satire novel released in 1935, which describes a fascist regime rising to power in America in an alternate timeline in which FDR did not become the democratic nominee for president. However, NBC executives decided that a fascist political party in America might not be popular so it was suggested to Johnson to have the fascists be aliens – which, as a sci-fi fan, he liked the idea of. Thus the concept of V the min-series was born. Warning – spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “V” the original mini-series.

The classic mini-series “V” was released in 1983 and aired on NBC. In “V”, three-mile wide space ships descend to Earth and hover over the major cities, terrifying the populace – at first. These alien visitors send out a message that they would like to meet, not that the Earth bound humans would have much of a choice as the aliens appeared to be much more advanced. Once the aliens emerged from their ships, they were human in appearance – granting a subtle reassurance to the humans, who now saw these aliens as being very similar to themselves and thus more relatable. They offer advancements and assistance in resolving Earth’s most pressing issues in exchange for a chemical that they need but cannot produce on their own world.

The Visitors Are Not What They Appear

The Visitors, as they are coined, seem benevolent – at first. They converted esteemed scientists to admit that they was a conspiracy to horde scientific and medical breakthroughs from the human population all in the name of getting government monies. To prove this conspiracy the Visitors planted evidence against scientists that had been mentioned as part of the conspiracy. They also employed a strategy of staging attacks on various power plants – also blaming these events on the conspiracy.

This is in an attempt to prevent themselves from being exposed. This leads to ostracizing of scientists (and their families), violence against them, arrests and even mysterious disappearances of entire towns. They become the founders of a youth organization, on the surface stating that it is to foster good will between our two species, all the while what they are actually doing is to indoctrinate the youth to use as their own private enforcers. They spread fear and propaganda, encouraging neighbor to turn on neighbor – even getting one man’s own mother to turn against him. It is discovered by news cameraman Mike Donovan (played by actor Marc Singer) who sneaks onboard the Visitors’ ship located in Los Angeles that while the Visitors appear human, they are not; they are actually lizard people. Their purpose on our world much more sinister than believed. They are after our water and intend to abduct and use our people for their own sustenance.

The Resistance

Eventually, people begin to form resistance cells to oppose the Visitors and attempt to open the eyes of those people who believe in the Visitors’ comforting lies as opposed to the terrifying truth that the Visitors (much more advanced then us) mean us great harm. There are also people within the Visitors themselves who assist with the human resistance movement – proving that, like humans, these aliens have both good and bad among their species. While success is achieved it is not overnight and the brave humans who oppose the Visitors suffer greatly and become Visitor Nuisance Number One for a while. Eventually, in the 1984 follow up to the original mini-series the Visitors are eventually defeated when a red dust is created that is deadly to the Visitors but harmless to humans and other creatures of planet Earth . The red dust spread across the planet, making it inhospitable to the Visitors (inoculating the Resistance’s allies first, of course).

Historical Parallels Run Rampant

It comes as no surprise that there are parallels to historical events in “V” – it is not only made quite obvious but even referenced by the characters themselves. The character Abraham Bernstein (played by Leonardo Cimino) was a Jewish survivor of the Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany. It is little wonder that Abraham was able to see the Visitors for what they truly were right a way. The strategies and tactics that the Visitors utilized in “V” bear striking and poignant similarities to those employed by the Nazis during their reign of terror over first Germany; followed by Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Yugoslavia and Greece.

Similarly to the Visitors, the Nazis used a strategy of manipulation that included propaganda, demonizing a targeted minority group (a “them” to unite their follows against) assassination of dissenters, fear and indoctrination of youth to control the masses.

Mirroring Current Events

The most troubling and scary thing about re-watching “V” now and researching the similarities to the Nazi movement is that it makes it much easier to see the disturbing trends in the last several years of American politics. Now I am not a Liberal or Conservative, nor a Democrat or Republican. I am a human being that looks at the things that are happening and getting terrified at what I see.

The current political atmosphere is absolutely comparable many ways. The Visitors persecution of the scientists in order to deflect from their own actions is the exact same tactic the Nazi used in their persecution of the Jewish people. Both especially resonate now as we seen the American far-right political movement use their own invented culture war tactics to deflect from the grievous harm that they are trying to cause to the majority of the American people. Accusing Teachers of “grooming” children because they teach historical facts or about their own constitutional rights. Causing young children just learning to read to have panic attacks because they brought their own book (a children’s book!) to school. At time when a love of reading should be fostered in our children – these despicable excuses for humans are causing our children to fear books.

My commentary is this, perhaps it’s no coincidence that the far-right come off with so many similarities to movie villains; perhaps these very villains are what they are striving to be. After all, they don’t attempt to hide the atrocities they have and are attempting to commit – maybe they think they don’t need to because maybe they think that everyone else is just as sadistic and evil as they are. I don’t know. What I do know is that we must rise and stop their tyranny. They are a threat to the lives and the minds of our children, a threat to people’s freedom of choice regarding their own bodies, a threat the lives and livelihoods of decent people. The constant boycotts of businesses because they dare to cater to everyone. It doesn’t say much about a country who will let their rich get away with paying no taxes and will let the majority of their people starve. Go read a history book – the French Revolution in particular.