V(2009), on ABC
This is a remake of the 1983 miniseries V (which was followed in 1984 by a second miniseries and a regular series that lasted one season). I vaguely remember watching at least the regular series when I was a kid, but I don't really remember much in the way of details. In anticipation of this 2009 remake, I bought and watched the original miniseries to refresh my memory. I intended to also get the other miniseries and series, but... I'm afraid I didn't get around to it. I expect I will someday. Meanwhile, it's not really important to have seen any of that before seeing this new series, because it's not like it's a continuation, or anything. Just a remake or reimagining, or whatever.
It starts with Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), an FBI counter-terrorism agent. She's divorced, and raising a rebellious son named Tyler. At the start of the pilot episode, we get to see all the major characters, but I'll get to them in a bit. They're all going about their lives, when suddenly everything starts shaking, as if there were an earthquake. However, it turns out it's actually a giant spaceship appearing over the city (New York). Or actually, there are such ships appearing over 29 major cities around the world. At first everyone is frightened, but soon a hologram appears in the sky, showing the face of the aliens' leader, Anna (Morena Baccarin). She speaks simultaneously in the native languages of each country she's addressing, to deliver a message of peace, and explaining why they're here. They need water and a certain mineral to survive, and in exchange, they'll provide us with new technology and cures for various diseases. (The aliens' mantra is "We are of peace. Always.") Anyway, the aliens call themselves "Visitors" (or V's, for short).
So, most people are happy and excited, though not everyone is so trusting. In the course of her investigation of a terrorist cell, Erica learns some shocking secrets about the V's, which leads her to start a resistance against the aliens, secretly. But she maintains her job with the FBI, which often means she has to give the appearance of working against the resistance (which, ironically, provides her with opportunities to actually work against the V's). Meanwhile, Tyler becomes somewhat obsessed with the V's, and takes a tour of a mothership, where he meets a tour guide named Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), who is recruiting people for the Peace Ambassador Program. Since Tyler is only 17, he can't join without a parent's signature, and later, he fakes his mom's signature. He soon develops a relationship with Lisa, which troubles Erica, who can't tell him what she knows about the V's. We eventually learn Lisa is Anna's daughter, but now I can't remember how early we actually learned that. Probably before any human characters did, though.
There's also an ambitious TV reporter named Chad Decker (Scott Wolf), who is selected by Anna to interview her, and over the course of the first season he does a lot of exclusive coverage of Anna and the V's. He's a bit conflicted about this, because she has told him he can't ask any questions which would paint the Visitors in a negative light... but his ambition gets the better of him, and he accepts the deal. We also meet a priest named Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch), who is unsure how to balance his belief in God with the sudden revelation of the existence of alien life. He's willing to trust them, but he fears people will develop devotion to them, because of all the apparent good they're doing for humanity. He learns the truth about the V's at the same time as Anna, and becomes the first person to join her resistance. Another important character is a businessman named Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut), who is planning to propose to his girlfriend, a psychologist named Valerie Stevens. But Ryan keeps getting calls from Georgie Sutton, an old friend with whom he no longer wishes to associate, and he doesn't want Valerie to learn about his past. We soon learn that he himself is a Visitor, and that there have secretly been V's on Earth long before the motherships arrived. However, Ryan had been part of a now mostly defunct terrorist group called the Fifth Column, who opposed the V's (and the open arrival of the V's has now caused the Fifth Column to renew their activities). Ryan soon joins Erica's group. I'm not sure exactly when her resistance started calling themselves "Fifth Column," but I think there will be cells around the world which all use that name, even if they have no association with each other. Oh, we also eventually learn that Joshua (Mark Hildreth), the chief medical officer on the New York mothership, is in the Fifth Column, and he ends up helping Erica's group. Lisa also eventually helps, though she isn't happy about lying to both her mother and Tyler. There's also a human mercenary named Kyle Hobbes, who had been framed by the V's for an act of terrorism, and he began working with Erica's group, though he and Erica didn't always agree on tactics. There are probably a number of other characters I should mention (like Marcus, Anna's second in command), but I'm just not sufficiently interested in them, I guess.
Anyway, Anna orders Lisa to get closer to Tyler, for a reason that's part of the V's hidden agenda, though we don't learn the truth about that til later. But Lisa starts to have feelings for Tyler. (V's aren't supposed to have emotions, though they don't want humans to know this.) And Valerie turns out to be pregnant with Ryan's baby, which makes her a target of the V's, so she has to go into hiding, right after learning that Ryan is a V, himself. Well, a number of other things happen throughout the first season. It ends with Erica destroying a ton of eggs that were about to hatch on Anna's mothership, which contained V soldiers, which would have destroyed the Fifth Column. This infuriated Anna, who... did something to turn the skies of Earth red. Also, Valerie was kidnapped by V's, her baby delivered, and she was killed by Anna, who then tried to turn Ryan back to her side (claiming they tried to save Valerie's life). Chad learns he was wrong to trust the V's, but doesn't let Anna know he knows. Jack preaches against the V's, but most of his congregation is unreceptive, and his boss doesn't want him in his church anymore. Marcus tries to force Hobbes to work for him, infiltrating the Fifth Column. Joshua tells Erica to kill him so the V's won't learn she's Fifth Column, but in the end, they revive him from his wounds. Oh, and it also turns out there's also a huge, cloaked armada of V ships that just arrived in Earth orbit...
So, there's lots of stuff set up for the second season. The whole red sky thing is explained by Anna as another of the good things she's done for humanity, though it turns out to actually be part of her hidden agenda, of course. Also, she gives Ryan's baby daughter a disease, and... I should mention that there's this thing called "Bliss," which the V queen can do for all her people, which basically makes them feel good and obedient to her. She uses this now to temporarily relieve the baby's suffering, to force Ryan to work for her against the Fifth Column. (The baby will eventually undergo rapid aging, so we see her at a couple of different ages throughout the season.) The little girl, named Amy, will become an important part of Anna's plans, and she eventually turns Amy against her father. Meanwhile, when Joshua recovers, he has no memory of being Fifth Column, for most of the season. We also learn that 15 years ago, Anna secretly imprisoned her mother, Diana (played by Jane Badler, who played a V named Diana in the original miniseries, though as I said, this series isn't really related to that, so this isn't the same Diana). She was the former queen, and all her people thought she was dead. But eventually Lisa learns she's still alive, and that she has different views on human emotion than Anna does. And Chad eventually starts working with the Fifth Column, so his ties to Anna come in handy. Meanwhile, the resistance continues to learn more about the Vs' true agenda, which I don't want to reveal, but it involves something done to a number of babies 18 years ago, including Tyler. Eventually a scientist named Sidney Miller also begins working with Erica's group, and he's helpful in figuring out more about Anna's plans. And there's a radical faction of the Fifth Column, which is led by a man named Eli Cohn, whose group does things differently from Erica's, but also they are a much larger group. However, he ends up putting Erica in change of his group, just before he dies... though she still has to prove herself to his lieutenants.
Well, it may seem like I've revealed a lot, but trust me, I've left far more out. Again, there are more characters I should mention, but I'm not doing so. Anyway, there are lots of plans Erica's group carries out against the Visitors, and lots of plans Anna has, and whatnot. Lots of changes for everyone along the way. I don't want to say how the season ends, except that it looks bad for humanity... However, Erica is brought into a secret cabal called Project Aries, a group of world leaders and military who know the V's are not what they seem, and have their own plans to oppose the aliens. Unfortunately, there wasn't a third season.