V: The Final Battle (Blu-ray Review)

For science fiction television buffs, one of the biggest events of all time was the 1983 NBC broadcast of the mini-series simply titled V. The show was high on production values, suspense, ideals and metaphors. It has gone on to see cult acclaim and a strong fandom resulting in a follow up mini-series, a full television season, books, comic books, video games, a rebooted series in 2009 and plenty more. Back in October, the Warner Archive Collection released the original 2-part mini-series on Blu-ray for the first time. Now, on April 14, they are following up and bringing the 3-part sequel mini-series V: The Final Battle to Blu-ray to complete the original story’s output. Starring the likes of genre familiars like Marc Singer, Michael Ironside, Robert Englund and Sarah Douglas, V continues to reflect, age well and impress even by today’s higher standards. Back when TV movies and mini-series meant something and had more backing behind it, V was one of the very best. Now you can own the action-packed conclusion, V: The Final Battle on Blu-ray.


Is there life out there? Finally, we know. Because they are here. Alien spacecraft with humanlike passengers have come to Earth. They say they come in peace for food and water. The water they find in our reservoirs. The food they find walking about everywhere on two legs. That saga that began with V now culminates in a struggle to save the world in V: The Final Battle. Sci-fi film stalwarts Marc Singer, Robert Englund and Michael Ironside head a large cast in this tense adventure that leaps from the stunning revelation of reptilian beings concealed by human masks to the birth of the first human/alien child to the harrowing countdown to nuclear doomsday. The future begins or ends here.

I wasn’t able to review the original mini-series V back in October when it was released, but still scooped up the Blu-ray. Upon revisiting that mini-series for the first time in probably ten plus years, I was honestly shocked at how well it held up and felt very relevant to our modern atmosphere. That mini-series is a science fiction triumph in the medium of television and one of the best offerings you could possibly find. It features some great character work, wonderful philosophies/metaphors and societal observation to couple with outstanding special effects, make-up and set work. V truly is as good as anything being offered in theaters at that time, bare minimum at script and technical level. And that confidence and masterwork continues on in V: The Final Battle. If not, even more backing was had for this as they knew the first was a hit and they were planning a television series to follow.

V: The Final Battle is perfectly in sync with its predecessor, but it has a slightly different agenda. Whereas the first one was focused on a bit more mystery, snooping around, uncovering secrets and suspenseful exchanges, The Final Battle trades a lot of that in for more action, shouting matches and shocking situations. And I totally understand, as the cat is out of the bag after the first one. Luckily, the action is pretty damn exciting and at times brutal. This thing has terrific production values and has the ability to come through. The directors also seem to have enough talent to document and stage these sequences so they feel unique and have their own flavor each time. There are A LOT of shootouts in the these three parts and it could have felt very monotonous, and luckily it doesn’t.

Pretty much the whole cast remains intact to return for the sequel series. Marc Singer remains the hero and Faye Grant gets bumped to an even more prominent role that before. The diabolical Diana remains and seems to be the ultimate baddy. Some genre vets are welcomed in to up the ante of this and challenge our heroes. Michael Ironside comes in to play the yin to Singer’s yang. Its nice to see the B-movie vets spar off on one another. On the Visitor side of things, Sarah Douglas is introduced to provide that same kind of competition with Diana aboard the mothership. It could so easily just be human versus aliens again, but these little inner circle antagonists add some dimensions and find some growth, character development and new conflicts to strengthen fold.

Once again, I need to point out how impressed I am with the visual effects on both V mini-series. This was a production that just went all out and nailed it. The set designs and alien interiors are quite amazing. The corridors traveled, spacey stuff and more just looks fully realized and is actually better than most of the big movies in theaters at the time too (That weren’t named Star Wars). The model effects, ships and blasters all look very fluid. One thing I especially loved was the trippy mind-screwing sequences they do with Juliet in the film. Yes, there’s an obvious puppet in there, but its good enough to overlook that. Rewatching this just reminded me how big of an event and how important network television movies and mini-series used to be. They used to mean something and people really gave a crap because everybody would be talking about it Monday morning at work or school.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Layers: BD-50 (Disc 1), BD-25 (Disc 2)

Clarity/Detail: Fans will be happy to note that V: The Final Battle retains its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 for its Blu-ray debut. Much contention was made about the original series’ decision to re-contextualize the framing to a modern viewer/streaming service friend 1.85:1 edit. The ‘ol square inside the rectangle here showcases a pretty impressive looking restoration and upgrade over the the high definition format. Textures, details, sheen and more can be noted on surfaces as well as the clothing worn by the characters in the film. It has some good color saturation as well as good consistent and well done black levels. This is probably about the best its going to look (Or be given attention to look on physical media) and its easily satisfying nonetheless.

Depth: The series really does feature some impressive depth of field in the frames. There is a nice sense of scale to many of these factory interiors, underground bases, ship interiors and more with good push back and space surrounding characters and objects. The exchange scene through a cave in Part 2 is especially impressive in a more three dimensional sense. Movements are smooth and natural with a confident feel to the camera pans and crane shots.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep and wallow close as they can to more natural levels in the picture. Information is kept quite well, with no unintentional loss of information. Textures, hair follicles, clothing wrinkles and more items full of dark surfaces keep for good visuals. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  V carries a bit more natural palette for its color angle, but the red on the suits sticks out quite well. Most colors are very bold. Many of the disco-inspired lights and color filters give a nice strong impression without having any sense of bleed issues. Blue blaster fire glows and hangs on very nicely defined.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of each part and across all three installments in the series. Facial features and texture showcases a lot of great information in close ups and most medium shots. The alien skin and make-up effects hold up pretty strong to the high definition scrutiny as well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: V: The Final Battle retains what I assume is the original mono track from its broadcast. Its a pretty well mixed affair with some interested depth to it. The track is more effects driven where the blasters, explosions and vehicles all tend to take precedent, finding some nice lower end sounds rumbling in along the way. The score can jump in front as well. Only the vocals never really take center stage but aren’t lacking severely or anything. This is a pretty impactful and engaging audio track for a 1984 television movie, and its good enough to compliment the video experience.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are pretty clear and discernible with a bit of that analog-television sourcing sound to them. Its a hair low in the mix, but never problematic.


V: The Final Battle is a 2-disc set. Parts 1 & 2 are found on Disc 1, Part 3 on Disc 2.

Disc 1

These are a pair of commercials/promos for the following episode, labeled by which episode it was attached to.

Next On V: The Final Battle – Part 1 (HD, :32)

Next On V: The Final Battle – Part 2 (HD, :33)


V: The Final Battle is a nice wrap up of the original series, vying for a little less mystery and lot more action to bring the story to its conclusion. One can easily see why this property has continued to draw in new blood for 37 years. Warner Archive Collection’s Blu-ray release finds a pretty terrific image to go with a more than acceptable audio track for the full on experience. Extras are super light, but getting this to Blu-ray is pretty much your bonus. With both audio and video clearly upgrades over the DVD edition from years back, its an easy pick up for fans.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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