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Ken Johnson's Re"V"lections, Part 3

In the third part of this conversation, Ken Johnson the aftermath of the decision to remake the original "V" rather than do a "V": The Second Generation.

V-STARTU Once agreeing with NBC to proceed with a remake of "V" rather than a sequel, the first thing Ken Johnson did was to relocate the setting from Los Angeles to San Francisco, which is where the majority of "V": The Second Generation takes place.
   "That immediately gave it a different visual look," says Johnson. "And I moved it up a generation from World War II so that the Jewish family who had the grandfather who lost a wife during the Holocaust now was a black family in the remake script, with a grandfather who lost his wife to Aprartheid. So this way I was doing something that I could hold my head up and feel good about.
   "By the time I had finished the remake script, NBC had lost a billion dollars of advertising revenue V_Second_Generation_Rev-400x600 because their network was so far in the tank," he elaborates, 'and they were concerned about doing a big pricey miniseries. And also there was going to be a lot of science fiction episodic shows coming on in the fall, so they were a little nervous about the whole thing. It should be said, though, that in the midst of this they did buy four hours of Hercules. That's fresh! So at that point we moved away from NBC."
   In his opinion, the new "V" would actually be more relevant today than the original was, because, as he explains it, "in the early '80s we were in a relative time of peace and prosperity; there was no major external wars going on that we had ventured ourselves in to. And in writing the sequel, The Second Generation, I was able to sort of make some comment on imperialism and the responsibilities one has as a hyper-power. When 'V' was originally written, don't forget there was still a Soviet Union and there were a number of super powers, but no hyper-power. Now after the fall of the Soviet Union there is indeed only a hyper-power which is the U.S. Which brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility which we have not always handled very well. So in the sequel, I was able to make some sub-textural commentaries about that, and sometimes it's even textural commentaries. There are lines in The Second Generation that are phrases we have heard some of the world's leaders speak."

Look for Part IV on Wednesday.

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