The Shag Reviews: “V – The Second Generation” – The Unique Geek
So I bought and read “V – The Second Generation”. This novel is by Kenneth Johnson, the writer and director of the original “V” mini-series.
On the whole, I enjoyed the book. I think it’s fair to say the story had some interesting ideas and was therefore enjoyable, but the novel itself wasn’t necessarily written well. This is Kenneth Johnson’s second book and you can tell his past experience doesn’t lie in prose. It’s not horrible, but it’s obvious enough that you realize just how much polish goes into most other writer’s novels.
The most surprising thing about this book is that it’s a sequel to the original “V” mini-series, and therefore completely disregards what happened in “V – The Final Battle”, “V – The TV Series”, and most importantly “V – The Comic Book”. Apparently Kenneth Johnson wasn’t associated with “The Final Battle” and had other ideas on how the story should progress.
Interestingly enough, there are certain plot elements from “The Final Battle” the new book seems to go out of its way NOT to contradict. For example, there is no mention of whatever happened with Robin’s pregnancy (resulting in the Starchild in “The Final Battle”). Here is a link to an interview with Kenneth Johnson about the new book. He also outlines his hopes of doing a “V – The Second Generation” mini-series or motion picture.
Without really spoiling anything, the book takes place twenty years following the events of the original mini-series. Earth is still under Visitor domination, and the Resistance is fighting a losing battle. The usuals are there, Mike Donovan, Juliet Parrish, Robert Maxwell, Willy & Harmony, and Diana. There are also lots of new characters, but some of them just come off as younger analogs to the original characters. There is a new young rebellious guy who you can’t help but be reminded of Mike; an idealistic young female leader with shades of Juliet; and the street-talking tough kid who reminds you of Elias, and so on. Interestingly enough, there are also lots of half-breeds; children of a human and a visitor. No special mystical powers here, just half-human half-visitor children. And lastly, remember that message that Julie sent into space at the end of the original miniseries … we finally see who answers the call.
Again, overall I enjoyed some of the ideas, but the writing itself was weak. Would I recommend it? I guess to a fan of the original “V” series I would. The cover reads, “The highly anticipated sequel to the thrilling miniseries V”. I think I would re-write that, “The somewhat anticipated sequel to the thrilling miniseries V… no, not the one with the Red Dust… the other one.”
Interestingly enough, apparently back in 1989 Warner Brothers commissioned J. Michael Straczynski (who would later go on to create Babylon 5, and write a particularly long run of the Amazing Spider-Man comic) to write a pilot screenplay for a proposed new series, tentatively titled “V: The Next Chapter”, that would have continued the V storyline. Picking up five years after the end of the NBC series, it would have followed the efforts of a new Resistance movement on a conquered Earth to make contact with the “Outsiders”, the faction of the Visitors’ own people who oppose their Leader, who had finally responded to a summons put out at the end of the original miniseries. The only character from the older V to appear in this script was Ham Tyler. After numerous drafts, the script, entitled “The Rebirth”, was finally abandoned when the studio decided it would be too cost-prohibitive to produce. You can find the first three acts of that script here.
Anyone else read the book? Anyone else have fond memories of V? I’m currently re-watching the mini-series right now. I’m hoping to make it all the way through the TV series. After reading this book, some sick twisted part of me wants to go back and re-purchase all the old V tie-in novels and read them again (Ravenface and I used to devour these back in mid-80s).