Almost thirty years ago, a TV series came onto our screens that was - at the time, and cenrtainly for me - like no other. It was V, the story of aliens who arrive on Earth claiming peace but secretly want to steal our water and eat us humans for breakfast.
In the UK, it was shown as five episodes, one a day over the course of a working week. It's what would now be known as event TV, shown in the summer holidays. If I recall correctly (I could check on the internet, but why let facts spoil a good reminiscence?), the Olympic Games were on at the same time, but not as avidly watched due to the then Soviet Union not attending; this, it is claimed, is why V ended up with such good ratings.
For me, V was life-changing TV. It's probably to do with my age at the time, my eyes widening to the world, but V was the first TV series that had a hidden meaning, an allegory, to it. The invaders, rounding up the locals, getting youths to join their army, their logo on walls and flags, represented the Nazi's; the humans, the resistance. Not just my age, I think - V was never subtle, its heart on its sleeve for all to see.
After the first three episodes, the short series became V - The Final Battle. Something changed, there was more action and - with the birth of a human/alien child - a bit of religion and, somewhat unnecessarily, mysticism thrown in. It's a deux ex machina ending that lacks subtely, but despite this, V is a series I'll always remember fondly. I saw that last episode a while back when it was repeated and, while it's certainly dated and time has turned much of it into cliche, it's still very enjoyable. Scarily, I could remember almost every line, havng watched it on video several times after its initial broadcast.
A longer series followed, then a reboot a couple of years ago. While I've never watched the latter, the former - from what I can recall - was nowhere near as impressive as that original mini-series. All these years later, and the tag-line is still in my head: V no longer stands for Visitor - V is for Victory!