V (the mini-series, part
1, hour 1)
0:00-50:06 on Side 1 of the DVD
Written and Directed by Kenneth Johnson
spaceships arrive over every major city on Earth, bringing alien
visitors claiming peace and friendship and in need of help for
(This episode begins with Donovan and Tony covering the
guerilla war in El Salvador and ends with Ruth getting ambushed
and shot by a Visitor in her home.)
As explained on the introduction page of
V Episode Studies, I have
broken down both of the mini-series into 1-hour segments. This is
part 1, hour 1 of the original mini-series
V. I chose the title
"Arrival" for the obvious reason of it depicting the first
arrival of the Visitors to Earth. But, there is a bit more
behind the title. "Arrival" was also the title of the first
issue of the Marvel comic book series ROM (based on the cyborg
action figure by Parker Brothers) which ran from 1979-1986. I
saw the title on the comic book's cover (but didn't buy it) when
I was 12 years old on the spinner rack at the local 7-11. For
some reason "Arrival" struck me as a great title for the first
chapter of all sorts of sci-fi-ish adventures. I also have the
beginnings of a story I wrote years ago telling of the Porter
family's first days in the Land of the Lost (since that yarn was
never told in the 1990s Land of the Lost series) and it is titled
"Arrival". In fact, I have since also given that title
to the opening credits sequence of both the 1970's and 1990's
versions of Land of
the Lost in the respective studies of each series here
on PopApostle. I later learned it was also the title of
the first episode of the classic BBC TV series
Besides his role as Mike Donovan, actor Marc Singer is also
well-known for playing the Beastmaster in three Beastmaster films and several
episodes of the TV series.
Actor Robert England (Willie) is also the disfigured nightmare
man with the taloned glove, Freddy Krueger, in the Nightmare
on Elm Street films and TV series.
Clete Roberts plays a Los Angeles area newsman here...and was
one in real life. He was also well-known as a war correspondent
during WWII and the Korean War, even playing himself in several
episodes of the award-winning dramedy M*A*S*H.
Likewise, Howard K. Smith was also a long-time newsman for,
first CBS, then ABC news; on the V
front, Smith goes on to provide reports from the Freedom Network
at the beginning of many episodes of the
V ongoing series.
Each phase of V had a new
main music theme. For the original mini-series, music is
provided by Joe Harnell, possibly best known for his music from
the Incredible Hulk TV series on which he worked with
The story opens with a guerilla battle in the country of El
Salvador. At the time V
was filmed, El Salvador was in the middle of a civil war between
the right-wing government and several leftist militias. The war
ended with a truce and new constitution in 1992.
At 3:21 on the DVD, an old Hollywood trick is used. During the
guerilla battle in El Salvador, a damaged military attack
helicopter disappears below the horizon of the camera just
before an explosion indicates it has struck the ground and blown
up. Producers save a lot of money (and helicopters!) that way.
While fleeing from the guerrilla fighting in an old, stripped
down pickup with Tony, Mike, still filming the action, exclaims,
"I wish we had a Tyler mount!" A Tyler mount is a special
gyro-stabilized camera mount for helicopters (and occasionally
mounted to other vehicles). Considering they are caught in the
middle of a violent gun battle, Tony wisely remarks, "I wish we
had a tank!"
At 4:09 on the DVD, Mike appears to already be wet even
though they have not yet driven through the river!
Although the battle at the beginning of the episode is
presumably supposed to take place in a secluded area of the El
Salvadoran jungle, sharp eyes can pick out several instances of
buildings, water tanks and telephone poles on the hills in the
background, indicating the scene was most likely shot in
southern or central California.
After the teaser and opening credits, Act 1 begins with advanced
medical student and biochemist Juliet Parrish reaching into a cage to remove a
rat upon whom medical experiments have been conducted. This may
be an ironic allusion to the Visitor character of Diana, who
will be seen to have performed scientific experiments on humans.
Julie calls the rat Algernon, the name of the mouse which is
experimented upon in the Daniel Keyes novel Flowers for
Has anyone compiled a list of all the cities that had Visitor
motherships hovering over them? During various newscasts, we
hear there are 50 ships hovering over cities around the world,
including reports of ships over Paris, Rome, Geneva, Buenos
Aires, Tokyo, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Houston, New York
City, New Orleans, Chicago, Cairo, London, Moscow (we hear
Howard K. Smith mention a ship above the Kremlin), Athens and,
of course, Los Angeles. And, since Donovan saw a mothership's
approach in El Salvador, we can presume there is at least one
over this small country, probably over the capital city of San
Salvador. (The novelization also mentions Rio De Janeiro and
Seattle; the novel East Coast
mentions Dallas, St. Louis, Leningrad, Pretoria,
Bonn, Peking, New Delhi and Jerusalem; the novel
mentions Mexico City; the novel
reveals there were motherships over
Seoul, South Korea and Hong Kong, China; and the novel
Second Generation reveals that there is a mothership over
As we are introduced to anthropologist Dr. Robert Maxwell, at
8:44 on the DVD, the Los Angeles mothership glides into the
picture with the newly uncovered skull of an extinct Pleistocene
hominid in the foreground, foreshadowing the danger to humanity
the ship represents.
We are not told where Dr. Maxwell and colleagues are when they
witness the mothership move in. Considering they are uncovering a
hominid skull from the Pleistocene, they would most likely be in
Africa, the Middle East, or Central Asia.
Is there a record of the exact size of a Visitor mothership? At
8:52 on the DVD, a female observer at Dr. Maxwell's dig site remarks, "It must be 3 miles across!"
Are they all the same size? (The novelization suggests that the
L.A. mothership is about 5 miles in diameter, as does the novel
As burglar Elias Taylor breaks into a home for the purpose of
stealing the valuables within, he seems concerned that all the
devices he takes be in working condition...he tests both a
Walkman-style cassette player and the television before taking
Many of the images of a mothership over foreign cities are
clearly matte paintings. Many of these paintings seem to depict
a fatter saucer shape than the ones seen in more detail
throughout the series. Kenneth Johnson explains the
discrepancies in the audio commentary; see "Notes
From the Audio Commentary by Kenneth Johnson" below.
At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, the Maxwells' middle
daughter, Polly, seems to be depicted as fairly tomboyish
throughout the series. She is dressed in jeans, over-shirt and
sneakers, makes several references to fighting and gets into a
school fight herself, possibly is interested in science through
the comment that she won the school science fair, and is even
seen delivering newspapers on her bicycle.
As the L.A. mothership moves into place over the city, we get a
fairly bad cutaway image of a residential neighborhood with palm
trees against the skyline. (The scene below, with a rear view of
our characters, is also the only one left in the series
featuring Dominique Dunne as Robin Maxwell, one of the few
scenes that had been shot before she was killed by her
ex-boyfriend in 1982.)
As the news reports of the gigantic saucers come in, Daniel
seems to take special note of the fact that there is one over
London to his family. Does London hold some special significance
to Daniel and/or his family?
At 12:04 on the DVD, the famous Felix the Cat logo of
Felix Chevrolet at 12th Street and Grand Avenue in L.A.
can be seen in the bottom right corner of the screen.
It's interesting to note that at 13:08 on the DVD, we see that
the mothership is so huge that wisps of Los Angeles' morning
cloud layer from the sea is left clinging to the underbelly of
What does Robin say at 13:21 on the DVD? She seems to be addressing
Daniel as she comments that "this could be the last day we ever
see," but it sounds like she says "Mike"! Listen:
Although we're never introduced to him, at 20:55 on the DVD we
see a man who would appear to be the current boyfriend of
Donovan's ex-wife, Marjorie. He can be spotted sitting on the couch next
to her as they and young Sean Donovan are watching the news
coverage of the Visitor landing at the United Nations
headquarters in New York. The
course, is an organization established to facilitate cooperation
and peace among the world's many countries.
The Visitors claim to be from the 4th planet of the star we call
At the U.N. landing, Supreme Commander John introduces himself
as an admiral of the small fleet visiting Earth. "Small fleet?"
Dr. Ben Taylor comments incredulously as he watches the
proceeding on TV. Fifty 3-mile wide starships would probably not be
considered small by most Earthlings! This could be considered a
conscious move on the part of John and the Visitors to subtly
imply that they have many more resources at their disposal than
has been seen...a subliminal threat, if you will.
John comments that unmanned probes have monitored Earth for
quite a while, to learn Earth languages, etc. How long was this
monitoring going on? (In the novelization, Donovan asks this of
John at the start of the mothership tour, and he replies only
"several of your solar years.")
John comments that some of his Visitor colleagues are not as
skilled at Earth languages as others and he hopes humanity will
be patient with them, a small foreshadowing of the script to
Willie's difficulty with English later on.
As John explains that the Visitors' world is going through
environmental collapse and his civilization needs Earth's help
to manufacture certain chemicals and compounds in return for all
the fruits of Visitor knowledge, Kathleen whispers,
"Unbelievable!" and Donovan responds, "Yeah," in a tone that
suggests he is already finding the Visitor story difficult to
When John comments on the people of our world probably having a
burning desire to see the inside of the spacecrafts, Robert
Maxwell says, "An understatement," and his teen son Daniel turns to look at
him with a smile. This is a nice bit, quickly establishing
Daniel's desire already to get close to the Visitors.
Donovan's long-time soundman, Tony, seems to be a perpetual
wisecracker. He makes several quips during the El Salvador
sequence and when John invites the news crews to tour the
mothership, when Donovan says "Hot damn, here we go!" Tony
cracks, "I was afraid of this."
Earlier, when Donovan and Tony arrive at the U.N. and meet
Kristine Walsh there, Donovan commented, "I thought I recognized
your deck of cards." Yet, he seems surprised back at her
apartment when she admits she "stacked the deck we
drew from so we'd get the pool" (to be at the Visitor landing).
(In the novelization, author A.C. Crispin may have noticed the
same thing; Donovan's dialog at the U.N. has changed to "I
thought I recognized your card in the pile downstairs." I assume
this means that each reporter threw their business card in a
pile and the winners were chosen at "random"...of course, we
learn that Kristine stacked the deck somehow.)
When Kristine urges Donovan to play the tape of their ship tour
again, she says "Play it again, Sam." This is a reference to the phrase
which has become an idiom in the English vernacular and is
attributed as originating in the 1942 classic film Casablanca
though it is never said quite that way in the film.
|A Visitor symbol or character is on
the inner door of
the hangar deck on the mothership. It looks like an "H"
with a dot above the top poles. We later see a similar
symbol is on the exterior of the hanger doors as well,
this time looking more like a stylized X with a dot.
During the tour, Diana gives us some facts about the motherships
(assuming she is telling the truth). She comments that the
gravity drive takes up almost half of the space on the ships and
that they've had the technology for about 100 years. The drive
propels them at speeds approaching the speed of light (which
means it must have taken over 8 years for the fleet to reach
Earth from their star, Sirius). When asked how many crewmembers
are housed on each ship, Diana merely says, "It varies. Several
At 29:52 on the DVD, at the official start of Visitor
participation at the Richland chemical plant of Arthur Dupres, Robin's high school
band plays a (bad) rendition of John Williams' theme from the
As the Visitor procession disembarks from the transport ship
onto the plant grounds, Harmony comments to her friend that she
thinks "they look real snappy in those uniforms." This might be
an early indication of one reason why she finds Willie
Throughout the series there are instances when it can be seen
that what, at first glance, appear to be plain, red uniforms
worn by the Visitors actually have a pattern on them; there is a
sort of "square snowflake" design repeated over and over on
them. The instance below is from 32:06 on the DVD; notice Brian's
left shoulder. Was this design intentional or just the
production's costume department making use of an affordable
material with a subtle print they thought would not show on
A recurring theme throughout the scene of the Visitor workers
arriving at the plant is "how many of them are there?" This
begins to set the pace of the Visitors entrenching themselves in
At 36:03 on the DVD, Quinton is looking at graphed photographs
of Supreme Commander John's head. The notes on the
photographs indicate that he is interested in the cranial
measurements of the Visitors. Presumably, the measurements
indicate a less human countenance than is easily perceived by
the eye (especially since he is snatched by the Visitors from
his car in the parking lot immediately after this scene!).
There is some Visitor writing visible on the back of the
transport at 38:48 on the DVD.
At 42:04 on the DVD, Robert Maxwell finds the keys still in the
ignition of the missing Quinton's car. This could be considered
an indication of the Visitors' lack of experience with Earth
equipment since finding the keys there makes Quinton's
disappearance that much more suspicious.
Sean Donovan delivers a bit of V
humor: Did you hear how many Visitors it takes to change a light
bulb? None, they like the lights out.
Sean's friend, Josh, has a toy Visitor squad vehicle with action
figures of the Supreme Commander and Diana. The figures do not
look much like their real-life counterparts though; the John
figure has brown hair instead of white and the Diana figure has
long hair hanging down her back, unlike the shoulder-length 'do
she sports in this mini-series.
At 48:37 on the DVD, Ruth reveals she obtained a tissue sample
of Visitor skin (actually syntho-skin, I suppose) from some
flakes that were left behind by Willie when he saved Caleb from
the liquid nitrogen leak in the cryogenic transfer section of
the Richland plant. But these samples are never mentioned again. Perhaps
they were taken away when the Visitors ambushed Ruth in her
home? (The novelization reveals that Ruth hid them and did not
tell anybody where before her death by Visitor laser gun.)
When the Visitor shoots Ruth with a laser pistol, it can
be seen that a pulse of light moves through the clear
tube in the middle of the pistol.
From the Audio Commentary by Kenneth Johnson
The opening scenes of El Salvador were shot at Indian Dunes in
southern California. This is the same location where the tragic
accident took place that killed actor Vic Morrow and two
children during the shooting of the Twilight Zone
movie in 1982.
At 2:18 on the DVD, Johnson points out that there is an aerial
shot during the action of two men jumping into a vehicle. This
was actually just another angle of the same shot in which Donovan and
Tony jump into the stripped down pickup a little later!
The first appearance of a mothership at 5:58 on the DVD is
accompanied by a slower tempo version of the first four staccato
notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The "ba-ba-ba-baaaa" (three
short notes followed a long) is the same rhythm as the Morse
code for the letter V (•••-).
No models of the mothership were made due to money and time
constraints. They only had 2 weeks of pre-production time. All
of the mothership appearances were done with matte paintings.
With so little time, several different artists were hired to do
the paintings of the motherships over major cities, which is why
the look of the ships varies (the fatter and thinner looks I
Several of the characters are named for Johnson's family. Julie
and Mike were named after his kids, as was little Katie Maxwell.
Kathleen and Robert Maxwell were named for Johnson's wife's
sister and brother-in-law and Robin and Polly after their
The scene of Elias burgling a home was shot at the same house
used as the Dupres home (Donovan's mother and step-father).
Dominique Dunne was to play the role of Robin Maxwell. Only a
few scenes were shot with her before she was killed by her
ex-boyfriend, a confrontation witnessed by David Packer who
plays Daniel (they were rehearsing their lines at her home at
the time). Dominique is best known as the older daughter in
. After this tragedy, the role of Robin went to
At the U.N. landing, the music heard as the Visitor shuttle
descends to the rooftop was inspired by "Mars, the Bringer
Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets
The Visitor life-size shuttles were constructed as detachable
sections so they could be reconfigured into different sized
The Visitor transports were designed with a hooded cobra look to
the front of them and a scaled look underneath to suggest the
reptilian nature of the aliens.
The prop master designed the Visitors' sunglasses with various
densities to the lenses so that the actor's eyes could be seen
at some times and not at others as needed by the scene.
The idea of having many disparate characters who gradually all
come together or have connections revealed was inspired by
Johnson's reading of Tolstoy's
War and Peace
When the press is being escorted into the transport to begin the
mothership tour, two of the press names mentioned are Jeri
Taylor and Sam Egan, both television producers and friends of
Johnson. Johnson comments that he tends to name characters after
people he likes and sometimes villains after people he doesn't! Hopefully we won't find a villain named Clayton in his
The interior shot of the mothership in which Diana is explaining
the gravity drive was shot in a
brewery in Van Nuys!
Johnson says he wrote the script in
After Willie has rescued Caleb from the leaking liquid nitrogen,
the effect of blistering on the alien's skin was done by
adhering pieces of grapes to his skin and coloring with make-up!
The John and Diana action figures owned by Josh were hand made
for the scene. Johnson still has them in his personal
Notes from the V: Behind the
Scenes documentary on the DVD
Actress Faye Grant mentions that Juliet Parrish
is a Republican.
Notes from the V
mini-series novelization by A.C. Crispin
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing,
paperback edition, published May 1984)
Pages 1-72 cover the events of "Arrival"
The book adapts both the
mini-series and V:
The Final Battle
. The nice thing about Crispin's
novelization is that it was written after
mini-series aired, so she is able to meld the two series with
some nice touches and incorporate changes that were seen on
screen but were not in the working script (same-time adaptations
in multiple mediums are notorious for their story and character
differences due to the authors usually having to work from an
early script and without the benefit of having seen the final
Page 3 reveals that Tony's full name is Tony Wah Chong Leonetti.
On page 9, during the battle in El Salvador, as the chopper is
seemingly about to gun down Donovan (just before the mothership
shows up behind him), he decides to focus in with his camera on
the pilots who are about to kill him. Donovan recognizes the man
in the co-pilot's chair as Ham Tyler! The passage also
that he had heard rumors that the former CIA agent and current
member of U.S. black ops was operating in El Salvador.
Page 10 reveals Dr. Metz's first name is Rudolph.
The book replaces most of the scenes of television
newscaster Howard K. Smith with Dan Rather. This difference is
probably part of an attempt by Crispin to ground the story a
little more in reality; in the real world, Howard K. Smith had
retired from newscasting in 1979. Plus, it is easy in a book to
use a public figure like Rather; in a television production it
can be problematic to get real public figures to appear as
themselves, especially news reporters, who need to maintain
credibility (although later decades after the '80s seem to have
loosened the rules of reporter appearances in film and
Page 11 reveals Dr. Quinton's first name as Arch.
On Page 12, as Elias breaks into an apartment to burgle it, it
is explained that cheap electronics are not worth the effort to
take, which is why he turns on the Walkman to check the sound
quality and the TV to be sure it is a color tube. Here in the
novelization the TV turns out to be black-and-white and, thus,
not worth stealing; as filmed, the TV is color.
Page 14 features a scene not in the series. Donovan escapes El
Salvador with the injured Tony in a Learjet piloted by a man
named Joe Harnell. As mentioned previously in this study, Joe
Harnell is the music composer of V
Page 15 reveals that Daniel Bernstein is 18 years old. This
differs with Ruby's statement in the series that he is 17.
Daniel states that he has heard that the mothership over Los
Angeles is "a good five miles in diameter."
On pages 17-30, during Supreme Commander John's announcement on
the roof of the U.N. building, the narrative stays with Donovan
rather than cutting to our various cast members who are watching
it on television. But Crispin manages to touch on the same
themes that were voiced by the characters in the omitted scenes.
For example, Donovan's thoughts in the book echo the comments of
Denny and Julie as they watch it on television as seen in the
mini-series. In the mini-series, Denny says, "Talk about an
offer we can't refuse" and Julie responds, "I wonder what would
happen if we did?" Here in the novel, Donovan thinks, Talk
about offering us heaven on a silver platter--what would they do
if we told them to stick it in their non-pointed ears?
pointed ears reference is to the fact that the Visitors look so
human, but may also be a reference to the well-known
pointed-eared alien Mr. Spock on Star Trek
On page 24, Donovan wonders about the Visitors' aversion to
bright light because he thought he'd heard that Sirius was a
really bright star. He speculates that perhaps their planet has
a heavy cloud cover. Sirius is, in fact, quite luminous.
Page 32 reveals that Robin is 17.
On page 35, several characters are wondering what is the
chemical compound the Visitors need so badly and what will it be
used for? Robert Maxwell has heard that the compound will be
made mostly from garbage and other wastes. Arthur Dupres'
Richland plant will both manufacture the compound and
desalinate sea water (obviously part of the Visitors' secret
plan to steal the Earth's water).
Page 36 reveals that Polly Maxwell is 12 years old. She tells
the same joke that Sean Donovan tells his father about how many
Visitors to change a light bulb.
Page 39 reveals that almost all of the chemical plants located
on seacoasts in the world have been contacted to participate in
the Visitors' plan. Obviously this is to precipitate their
secret plan to steal the Earth's water.
Page 42 introduces us to Tony Leonetti's wife, Fran. In the
mini-series, we get no indication that Tony is married and he
does not appear to wear a wedding ring.
On page 44, Steven says the Visitors' world is somewhat larger
than Earth. If it is larger, it would have stronger gravity and
may explain the aliens' superior strength. Page 52 confirms via
Willie's thoughts that Earth has lighter gravity.
Page 48 reveals that besides the standard photographs seen in
Dr. Quinton's file on John in the mini-series, there are also
some infra-red ones that reveal unusual heat patterns from the
The book goes into more detail on the party thrown by Eleanor
Dupres (Donovan's mother) for the Visitors (discussed by the
Maxwells at 34:07 on the DVD). It reveals that Donovan was
present at the party but had to leave early to do a special
interview with Diana. In his haste to leave, he forgot his still
camera at his mother and step-father's house. A couple weeks
later, after Donovan has become a fugitive from the Visitors (in
the next episode, "Visitors,
Victims and Victory"
), in a scene not in the mini-series, he sneaks
into the house to get the camera back and is seen by his
step-father, Arthur. Donovan makes good his getaway but expects
a shout and pursuit that never comes, further evidence that,
unlike Eleanor, Arthur is not happy with the Visitor influence
on Earth affairs.
Page 51 reveals that before his assignment was changed from
Saudi Arabia to Los Angeles at the last minute, Willie's name
was to be Ahmed. Would he also have worn syntho-skin with more
Arab facial features, hair, and skin tone? It also states that
John had ordered all crew members to talk and think in their
assigned Earth languages. Willie had learned to think in
Arabic and part of his problem with speaking English was
training himself to think in it as well, not to mention now
having to think in English.
The gray boxes the Visitors are seen carrying at the chemical
plant are called c-units (cryo-units).
On page 53, when Willie first meets Harmony, he identifies her
as female by the rounded protuberances under her dress. This
indicates that Visitor females do not have breasts, which makes
sense, at least from an Earth reptile-mammal perspective.
Pages 55-56 feature a scene not in the series. Juliet and her
colleagues at the medical laboratory are frustrated that the
Visitors have, for the second time, canceled a seminar for
scientists aboard the motherships. The aliens have also
requisitioned more lab animals (unknown to the humans, obviously
not for research so much as for food).
Page 64 reveals that Ruth's last name is Barnes.
Page 65 reveals that Ruby's last name is Engels.
Page 66 reveals that the shuttle that flies overhead while
Abraham and Ruby are walking down the street (at 45:15 on the
DVD) is the same shuttle that Martin is ferrying Donovan on to
meet his son (at 45:59 on the DVD). In the DVD audio commentary,
Kenneth Johnson points out that the shot of the shuttle is a
zoom in on that same effect shot during Abraham and Ruby's walk!
Page 68 reveals that the convertible sports car Donovan drives
to meet his son at Marjorie's house (and later scenes) is not
his own, but is a rental and also suggests that he is planning
to take Sean camping for the weekend.
On page 68, Sean's friend Josh is stated to be 13 years old and
his last name is Brooks.
In the series, when Donovan drives up to Marjorie's house and
sees Sean in his L.A. Dodgers cap, he asks, "Well, who are you
today, huh? Fernando Valenzuela or Steve Sax?" In the novel,
Steve Garvey substitutes for Steve Sachs. Why the change? Yes,
Steve Garvey is more well known, but Steve Sax is no slouch
either. All three were Dodgers players in the early 1980s.
Page 71 adds some dialog as Julie drops Ruth off at her
apartment in the evening. In the episode, it sounds as if Ruth
has not had a chance to look at the Visitor skin flakes she
retrieved from Caleb's clothing. In the novel, she comments she
started to look at them before other urgent work interrupted
her. She says the samples did not appear to have cells, they
were a smooth material. After Julie leaves, Ruth wishes she had
remembered to tell her where the samples were hidden.
Notes from the novel V: East
by Howard Weinstein and A.C. Crispin
The events of V: East Coast
Crisis take place concurrently with the two mini-series
V: The Final Battle and
details the goings-on in the area around New York City.
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing,
paperback edition, published September 1984)
Pages 1-74 take place concurrently with the events of "Arrival"
Page 1 describes the Visitor fleet first entering our solar
system and passing the "ghostly and gray...small planet...[that]
rode the loneliest reaches of its solar system." This must be
Pluto. But in 2006, the ninth planet from
the sun, Pluto, was demoted to dwarf planet status as, among
other arguments, other similarly-sized objects have been
found along with Pluto in the Kuiper belt since Pluto's
original classification as a planet in 1930. Coming from
outside the system and with the scanning capabilities of the
Visitors, they would have realized this before we did, if
they had existed in the real world.
On page 3, command crew member Jennifer
comments that their strategy for Earth is based almost entirely
on long-range surveillance and monitoring of informational and
Page 10 reveals that the mayor of New York City is Daniel
O'Connor (his big mouth reminds me of our real-life current
Vice-President, Joe Biden!). In the real world the mayor of New
York City at the time of the mini-series was Ed Koch.
Page 15 reveals that the President of the United States is
William Brent Morrow. In the real world at the time of
, Ronald Reagan was the
On page 29, Isaac Asimov, writer and science authority, is
interviewed by newscaster Denise Daltrey about the arrival of
the motherships. This is similar to Julie's remark in the
mini-series that Dan Rather had science-fiction writers Ray
Bradbury and Arthur C. Clark on TV to provide commentary as
Pages 33 and 35 provide some background on the Swedish U.N.
Secretary-General, Olav Lindstrom, who is seen only briefly in
the mini-series but is the first human to meet the Visitors. The
book reveals that he has apparently been a diplomat and person
of note for some time, having met the likes of Hitler (Chancellor
of Germany 1934-1945), Stalin (leader of the Soviet
Union from the mid-1920s through 1952),
Mao (leader of China from 1949-1976), Einstein (renowned
theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity
in physics), and Albert Schweitzer (Nobel Prize
winning philosopher and medical doctor). In the real world, Javier
Pérez de Cuéllar of Peru was the U.N. Secretary-General at the time
of the mini-series.
Page 35 has an interesting description of the Visitor
language's alphabetic characters:
"Jennifer sat at her console, busily keying in her
native language. To a human familiar with ancient Hebrew
or Sanskrit the characters might have appeared faintly
recognizable, but to anyone else they would have been
totally indecipherable." From the images below,
it can be seen that the three alphabets do have some
similarities, but how could an unfamiliar, alien
alphabet from another world have characters that are
"faintly recognizable"? Could the authors be planting a
hint that either 1) the Visitor language originally
evolved on Earth or 2) the Visitors had visited Earth
previously in the distant past and influenced human
language (this seems to fly in the face of Diana's
statement that they have had the gravity drive for only
about 100 years)?
|Visitor alphabet (from
One of the major characters in the book, Lauren Stewart, an
assistant to Secretary-General Lindstrom, accompanies him to the
roof of the U.N. building for the historic first meeting with
the Visitors on page 39, but separates from him before the
televised view of Lindstrom we see in the mini-series.
On page 46, Roger, the commander of the New York mothership, is
offered food at a party thrown by the mayor. Roger declines,
saying that their scientists have not yet completed their
analysis of Earth's flora and fauna for Visitor edibility. Of
course, we know the main reason he doesn't partake is that the
reptilian Visitors do not eat cooked food.
Page 51 reveals that the Archbishop of New York is Edward
Cardinal Palazzo. In the real world, John Joseph Cardinal
O'Connor was the archbishop at the time of the mini-series.
On page 51, Jennifer says to Cardinal Palazzo that religion has
mostly faded into an item of historical interest with little
impact on modern life for the Visitors. She also comments that
she had expected more upheaval and fear from human religious
groups upon the Visitors' arrival. Cardinal Palazzo defends
religion (mostly the Western variety) by pointing out that the
that God created the heavens, the Earth, and the stars and that
that makes the Visitors part of what He created. Palazzo
continues, "...that's why the Church has no trouble accepting
and welcoming you (...) to us, you're just newly discovered
children of God." This acceptance in the context of
may be due to the
Visitors' human looks (unknown at this time, artificial); since
says God created man in His own image, the Visitors
are vaguely acceptable as God's creation. But if the Visitors'
true form had been known, would they have been accepted? It has
been argued by many that religion, particularly Western forms,
would have trouble accepting the existence of extraterrestrial
beings, particularly if they did not look human. For one, if God
created man in His own image, why would he create other
intelligent beings not in His own image? Does that make them
inferior to us? And since the Bible tells that man was saved
from original sin by the sacrifice of God's son, Jesus, what
about the aliens? Were they free from ever committing original
sin and therefore more perfect than man (human)? A lot of
religious questions will come up if we ever encounter
intelligent life from another world.