In 1983, Kenneth Johnson put a sinister twist on the television miniseries format with “V,” a two-part science fiction drama. Containing alien visitors and references to Nazi Germany, “V” led to a 1984 sequel and a late, lamented television series.
In 2009, “V” returned to the airwaves in a reimagining of Kenneth Johnson’s original vision. In a world teetering on the brink of economic collapse, alien visitors arrive with promises to share their knowledge, including how to cure incurable diseases.
Like their 1980’s predecessors, though, these Visitors have their own agenda, which has slowly been revealed during the first season.
The new “V” had a bit of a bumpy ride during its first season on ABC, but it now seems anchored on firm ground. Morena Baccarin, who plays the leader known as Anna, also showed her first human emotions on the cliffhanger ending.
Joined by Jane Badler, the actress who played the Dr. Mengele-like Diana in the original “V,” Baccarin and her onscreen daughter Laura Vandervoort appeared together at the New York City Comic Con on Saturday, October 9.
Badler, who was bad to the bone in the original “V,” even has a recurring role on the new series, playing Diana, mother to Baccarin’s cold and calculating Anna. Evidently, Anna has been keeping her mother in seclusion in a holding cell that resembles the Visitor’s home world.
Laura Vandervoort: the heir apparent?
Laura Vandervoort says that fans should expect a different kind of Lisa, her character, during the second season of “V.” “At the end of season 1, she was young, she was torn, she was abused by her mother,” Vandervoort said.
“This season, she comes in very assured of who she is and what she wants. She’s able to stand up for what she wants and what she wants with Tyler,” she said, making reference to Lisa’s human boyfriend.
Vandervoort, who is preparing to work with Jane Balder, said that Lisa wasn’t aware that her grandmother was still alive. Vandervoort sees the potential for Diana to be an ally-or not. “Who knows? With grandma alive, maybe she will take over and I won’t have a chance,” she said.
For fans of the show, Vandervoort says the show has gone from amazing to “extraordinarily, extraordinarily amazing.” “The relationships are so messed up. People are meeting characters that they haven’t met before. People who you thought were on one side are on another. People who you thought were one species actually are another,” she said.
Vandervoort also promises a lot of new guest stars–and deaths. “Don’t get attached to anyone at this point,” Vandervoort said, with a hint of a smile. “Any of us can go at any time. And it’s happening right now.”
Morena Baccarin: current Queen of “V”
As Anna, the ever-smiling Visitor leader, Morena Baccarin always kept her composure-until the first season cliffhanger. It’s almost impossible to shake that image of Baccarin screaming at the sight of her soldier eggs lying dead in the hold of the ship.
Vowing vengeance, Anna unleashes a weapon that turns the skies a frightening red color. “You’ll find out in their first episode what that red sky really is, what it means to me,” Baccarin said.
Baccarin also said it was a blast to work with Jane Badler. “It’s fun to see Anna in a mother/daughter dynamic. It’s complicated-and she knows how to push my (Anna’s) buttons, like any mother.”
In the second season, Baccarin also said Anna will be working twice as hard to keep Fifth Column activities restrained. “We’ll be using a lot of people to manipulate them and get them destroyed,” she said.
Jane Badler: heart palpitations and a triumphant return
Playing one of the most memorable characters in the original “V,” Jane Badler said she went into palpitations when she heard that the series was returning to TV. “I had such an amazing reaction that I had to be on the show. It was bizarre. It was like I hadn’t finished what I started, in some weird way,” she said.
Badler said that fans helped make her return to “V” possible. “The first day I was on the set, I felt very emotional, because the years had passed and I could feel the passage of time, that my daughter was me. That she was young and the mother was me,” Badler said.
When asked if there are any similarities between the original Diana and the 2010 version, Badler said that they share extreme ambition and an extreme sense of power. “I think this Diana has much more calm, is much more dignified and has much more patience. She doesn’t fly off the handle.”
“Her stillness is definitely a part of her,” she said.
“V” returns to ABC in November.