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Survivors:Complete Original Series (1975-1977)

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Survivors:Complete Original Series (1975-1977)

The original 1970's drama based on the thrilling novel by Terry Nation is now on DVD! Survivors takes place in the aftermath of a devastating virus. When an enigmatic unnamed scientist accidentally infects himself with a lethal engineered virus he unwittingly spreads it worldwide via air travel. Focusing on London, England we see the effects of the virus as millions succumb and civilization collapses accordingly. The story hones in on a handful of emotionally scarred survivors who come together and attempt the difficult and painful reconstruction of a new society no longer able to depend on supplied science and technology.


"Everything's all gone to pot," a character says at the beginning of this gripping 1975 BBC series. It's a characteristically understated British way of saying, "It's the end of the world as we know it." Created by Terry Nation, already installed in the cult sci-fi pantheon as the creator of Dr. Who's Daleks, Survivors plops viewers down in a postapocalyptic nightmare already in progress. We hear reports of evacuations, massive power outages, and frighteningly large body counts. A globally spread virus has taken its devastating toll, leaving survivors to carry on in this primitive new world. Series 1's key players are Abby (Carolyn Seymour), a widowed middle class housewife determine to find her son, a missing student; Greg (Ian McCulloch), a resourceful engineer; and the compassionate Jenny (Lucy Fleming). The first--and best--13 episodes chart how these three come together and the tentative first steps in beginning civilization anew. A series benchmark is the episode "Law and Order," in which their fledgling settlement debates the fate of one of their number who has been found guilty of murder. As the saga unfolds, we meet some who would like to exploit the situation to exert their own "central control." We meet another, Anne (Myra Frances), a "rich brat" determined "to make sure I get my full share of everything that's going." But Survivors, bleak as its scenario is, is not without an abiding faith in human nature. Nation left the production before series 2, as did Seymour, who reveals in a candid series retrospective included as a bonus feature that her grappling with substance abuse led to her departure. In the second and third series, Greg, Jenny, and company further learn to adapt "to this ghastly way of life." A gallery of disparate and desperate characters put the tenets of the settlement to the test, while our heroes venture out into what's left of the world, most memorably in the second series' two-parter "Lights of London." Survivors enjoys a sizable cult following. While not as popularly known in the United States as The Prisoner (which, like Survivors, has been given the remake treatment), it should survive and thrive on DVD. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

BBC documentary: The Cult of Survivors
Photo galleries

Product Details

  • Actors: Carolyn Seymour, Lucy Fleming, Ian McCulloch, Pennant Roberts
  • Writers: Terry Nation
  • Producers: Terence Dudley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Subtitled, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 1879 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0038MUZCK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,893 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Survivors:Complete Original Series (1975-1977)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. T. KINGSHOTT on April 2, 2010
Format: DVD
Terry Nation's drama series Survivors, broadcast by the BBC between 1975 to 1977, was one of the most popular series of all time.

Set in a post-apocalyptic, present day world ravaged by a devastating plague, Survivors explored how humanity would cope in a world stripped of modern technology and comforts.

The disease struck quickly and with devastating effect - a global plague that, in Britain, spares just a few thousand people. This is the chilling story of some of those who survive -- Jenny, Greg, Abby and others -- determined to construct a new community from the surrounding wasteland where the technology and skills of the old life have become obsolete.

Survivors is a thought-provoking and involving series that explores the aftermath of a man-made biological catastrophe that's even more plausible these days than it was back in the Seventies. Sound and broadcast quality of all the episodes is good and the accompanying booklet is especially informative and well-produced, with very useful background information and essays.

The first series mostly centres around three main characters. Abby Grant, a very middle class mother, who is played - with a cut glass accent which can take some getting used to - by Carolyn Seymour. Ian McCulloch plays Greg Preston, a Civil Engineer and someone who seems to find some sense of purpose in an otherwise unfulfilled life after the coming of the "death". Lucy Fleming's Jenny Richards is written very variably from occasionally being utterly wet to eventually becoming something of an action heroine towards the end of the show. Denis Lill as Charles Vaughn guest stars in a first series episode and goes on to steal the whole show in the last two series. Two rather annoying adopted children are also thrown into the mix for most of the run, and the main purpose of them seems to be to get everyone else into a great deal of unnecessary peril.

This is TV at it best,a not to be missed DVD.

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Format: DVD
I'm giving this item only three stars because while the show deserves 5 stars (I'll confess I've only seen the first season) this DVD release only deserves one! In the UK and Australia the three seasons of Survivors were put on 11 single sided DVD's. Someone at BBC Video had the bright idea that for the USA release the series would be put on only six. Five of the discs are double-sided, the last one has a single side. This wonderful series, created by Terry Nation the man who created the Daleks for Doctor Who and the series Blakes 7, deserves to be put on discs that are not so fragile and easily scratched. Maybe BBC Video just wanted to make a quick buck off the fans of the new Survivors which is getting a lot of promotion on BBC America. That show is good but not as good as the original. Anyways, Survivors is excellent and should not be missed but this DVD release is a big disappointment.
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Format: DVD
Rarely has a show hit the skids so quickly. The first season is quite good. Strongly influenced by John Wyndham, it's a quiet, thoughtful examination of the consequences of a plague several orders of magnitude worse than the bubonic plague, though there's plenty of action as well. The only thing missing are triffids. The writing is generally good, and the show moves along quickly, particularly in the early episodes. The thing I liked best was the mixture of survivor types, some good, some bad, and most in between. All have weaknesses. Everybody's pretty clueless about what to do next. In the second season, the show goes all introspective and loses its way. The survivors settle in a rustic community where they have little to do but figure out how to farm and take care of livestock. Since there's little contact with the outside world, several of the episodes deal with personality conflicts among the people living in the small community. Most of the episodes are instantly forgettable, with the exception of two London based episodes that were probably from left over first season scripts. The third season is a little more exciting as the main characters leave their little community and wander all over England dodging rabid dogs in order to make endless speeches about the need to restore civilization. There are a few memorable episodes, one of which deals with rabies and another a particularly virulent form of smallpox.

In its defense, the show never loses its smarts, but most of the excitement drains out of it. If you like post-apocalyptic scenarios, it's worth a watch at least through the first season. It is far superior to the recent remake, but it's not all that it's cracked up to be.
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Format: DVD
Remade a couple of years ago the first version is still the best

The plot line is simple a plague, called simply the Death, has killed off 4,999 people in every 5,000 The population of Great Britain has fallen from 60 million to 10,000. We learn later in the series that the population of Cairo is only 12. The first series follows two women (Jennie and Abbie) and one man (Gregg) who seek to start a new life and struggle for the basics of life, food, shelter and clothing. They cannot get these things from cities as they have become no go areas infested with rats, dogs and piles of dead bodies.

The first series' most distressing episode is however not about the struggle to find food and shelter, but how do you administer justice in a world without law. A group of survivors try a simple minded man for murder. If he is guilty what do they do with him? There are no prisons; they cannot exile him from the group as he cannot survive without them. Is their only choice to kill him? even in countries with the death penalty he would have not been executed because of his mental state. If they decide to kill him who will do it?

In the second series Abbie goes off in search of her son and Jennie and Gregg merge their settlement with another community led by Charles who becomes the shows main figure by series three.

The show does have a number of faults, everyone is a bit to clean and we are told early in the series that modern man has fewer skills than stone age man. Yet a lot of the survivors appear to have useful skills, Gregg is an engineer, Charles is an architect and other people who turn up are bee keepers, herbalists or have other skills.
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