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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cult favorite 1983 TV miniseries (which later spawned a regular series) includes several battle scenes (with guns and other weapons), but the action isn't very intense, especially by today's standards. There's also some social drinking and a creepy alien/human relationship that clearly suggests -- but doesn't show -- inter-species sex. The aliens' rapid, insidious takeover of the planet’s government is clearly meant to suggest parallels to the rise of the Nazis in pre-war Germany.
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What's the story?
When a fleet of massive spaceships suddenly arrives, the people of Earth are terrified -- and then relieved when the aliens turn out to be friendly. The Visitors, as they're called, look much like humans and are happy to share their advanced technology. But it soon becomes clear that the Visitors have a much more sinister agenda in mind. In short order, they claim to have discovered a secret conspiracy and take the world's leaders aboard their ships for their own \"protection.\" By the time martial law is imposed, it’s too late: The aliens are in charge. Only a fiercely determined -- but severely overmatched -- resistance, is willing to stand up to them.
Is it any good?
The aliens’ plot bears an eerie similarity to the Nazi war machine in the World War II era, though the scapegoats here are scientists who might uncover the Visitors’ secret. While a handful of people fight back, most hope to avoid persecution and look the other way as their neighbors disappear -- and a few are eager to collaborate for the promise of rich rewards. This parallel isn't an accident; one character is a Holocaust survivor who quickly recognizes what’s happening and urges people to resist before history repeats itself.
V was a major TV event in 1983, when the miniseries originally debuted. It spawned a second miniseries and later a weekly series that followed the efforts of the plucky resistance fighters to drive the Visitors from Earth. The effects seem dated now, and the acting is so-so, but the main lesson dates back at least to the 1940s and still holds up today: If you don’t stand up for what’s right when others are being singled out, there will be nobody left to stand up for you when it’s your turn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different ways that aliens are portrayed in sci-fi movies and TV shows. What hopes and/or fears to the various depictions reflect? Do any seem more or less realistic to you?
How has TV violence changed in the years since this miniseries originally aired? How do you think it would be different if it was made today?
How do you think you'd react in a situation like this? Would you side with the resistance? Can you see why some people choose to collaborate with the aliens in exchange for personal gain?
Why do you think the series tries to explicitly compare the aliens' agenda with the Holocaust?
For kids who love sci-fi
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