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Series: Amerika

Miniseries produced in 1987 describing life after the United States is conquered by the Soviet Union (with the aid of a compliant and effective United Nations). Starred, among others, Kris Kristofferson as a former Senator turned jailed dissident and Robert Urich as the president of a new puppet republic centered around Omaha, called Heartland.

Rumours that the mini-series would be a political firebomb created massive hype, including official protests by the United Nations and the USSR. The series was budgeted for $40 million, more than most feature films. However, the rather dense political drama and deliberate pacing (the series was more than 14 hours long and was shown daily for a week) meant the series lost a multitude of viewers with each episode. While not a complete failure, Amerika was one of the last of the heavily promoted "epic" miniseries of the American broadcast networks.

Cold War pop-culture history website CONELRAD states that it "extended the Cold War by roughly twelve hours".


Tropes:

  • Aesop: The Soviet takeover is much easier than they expected because Americans were unwilling to fight for their freedom.
    "You had political freedom, but you lost your passion ... How could we not win?"
  • Canada, Eh?: Filmed predominantly (perhaps ironically) in Canada for tax purposes. The courtroom Milford's first hearing is held is in the Canadian style, and the Heartland political convention is held in Hamilton's Copps Coliseum.
  • Day of the Jackboot
  • Downer Ending
  • Dystopia: The series opens with Devin Milford being released from a prison camp and traveling through once-prosperous farmland run down by ten years of collectivisation...and then he travels through Indiana, which is in even worse condition due to Soviet asset-stripping.
  • Divided States of America: The Soviet Union plans to do this to the United States in order to prevent a resurgent America from posing a military or ideological threat. The general plotline follows the creation of "Heartland," a Soviet client state that secedes from America. Even party stalwarts, however, seem to have trouble with the concept.
  • Invaded States of America: Subverted; the United States gives up without a fight and few think that resistance is worthwhile.
  • Iron Curtain: Pushed all the way to the Pacific coast.
  • Lzherusskie: Most of the Russian military. One or two of them have names that were even completely made up.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The generals in charge of the Soviet occupation have far more sympathy for the US and American values than they can officially show.
  • Mnogo Nukes: Averted, though in early script drafts nuclear weapons were apparently used to disable the US power grid and communications systems through massive electromagnetic pulse.
    • The Politburo considers destroying several American cities "to encourage the others", but the local Soviet administration convinces them to go with the Divided States of America plan.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The US Congress is wiped out in a "terrorist attack" in a prelude to the breaking-up of the country. Samanov is Driven to Suicide at the sight.
  • One World Order: The UN is now a Soviet puppet organisation, and the Commies are implied to control the entire world, or at least the parts that are useful to them.
  • Red Scare
  • La Résistance: Several characters, but not always working towards the same goals against the Soviets.
  • Sinister Surveillance: After Devin is picked up by his father at the station, a member of the Secret Police notes down the occurrence in his notebook.
  • State Sec: The United Nations Special Service Unit carries out periodic "training exercises" — involving tanks, Black Helicopters, Gas Mask Mooks and Stuff Blowing Up — designed to intimidate the local population.
  • Take That: At least, the concept for the miniseries was inspired by this train of thought. A 1983 column by Ben Stein (yes, that Ben Stein) suggested that since The Day After depicted the horrible what-if scenario of a nuclear attack on America, a movie should be made depicting the also horrible what-if scenario of America being conquered by the U.S.S.R., the threat that had led to the Cold War arms race in the first place.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Takes place in 1997.

Pride and PrejudiceMini SeriesThe Andromeda Strain

alternative title(s): Amerika
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