Even 40 years later, V is still getting under people’s skin. The writer, producer, and director Kenneth Johnson has never stopped getting fan mail about the miniseries he created back in 1983, which rattled America with its depiction of cold-blooded authoritarians conquering the world. The invaders in red jumpsuits, dark glasses, and ball caps were actually beings from another planet, but Johnson intended the sci-fi drama to be more than mere escapism. To him, it was a warning.
When he gets new letters from viewers, Johnson opens them hoping they got the message, which seems as obvious to him now as it did back then. “I got to thinking, God, how would everyday people feel if suddenly there was a sea change in our life that turned it all around, if suddenly some hyper power rolled over us, just like the Nazis rolled into Europe?” he says.
One of the most emotional subplots of V involved an elderly Holocaust survivor named Abraham Bernstein (played by the late Leonardo Cimino), who realizes what the Visitors are up to when scientists and reporters start disappearing. He offers to shelter an anthropologist and his family, but his grandson, Daniel (played by David Packer), is a troubled kid who idolizes the Visitors, dresses in their uniform, and collaborates as a member of the “Visitor youth” program.