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Survivors: Complete Seasons One & Two
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Survivors (2008): Complete Seasons One and Two (DVD)
A modern remake of the thrilling 1970’s drama! Set in the present day, Survivors takes place in the aftermath of a devastating virus which wipes out most of the world’s population. What would we do? How would any of us cope in a brave new world where all traditional 21st Century comforts – electricity, clean running water, advanced technology – have disappeared? These are the questions faced by the bewildered but resilient group of survivors at the center of the drama.]]>
A plague of global proportions. Anarchy in the streets. The collapse of government and the rule of law--perhaps even the end of civilization itself!--followed by the rise of tyranny and vigilantism. There's heavy stuff happening in Survivors, a British sci-fi drama offered here with all 12 episodes from its first two (and so far only) seasons on five discs. Although it shares a title, original writer (Terry Nation), and several character names with a mid-'70s series, this is apparently not a remake. But the basic idea, detailed in the 90-minute pilot episode, is the same: Present-day Britain has fallen prey to a particularly nasty influenza virus. Within days, it's clear that the disease won't be easily contained; within a couple of weeks, at least 90 percent of the population has died from it, not merely in England but across the planet. As the world as they know it quickly falls apart--no electricity, no communications, no mass transit, no readily available medical care--and those who survived due to immunity start to sort themselves out, the show narrows its focus on one disparate and distinctly multicultural group: Abby (Julie Graham), the de facto leader, who's determined to find the son she's convinced is still alive; Tom (Max Beesley), who was doing time for robbery and murder when the virus struck; Anya (Zoe Tapper), an attractive young doctor; Greg (Peterson Joseph), a would-be loner whose life had already been falling apart; Al (Phillip Rhys), a rich, lazy ne'er do well; and Najid, a devout, 11-year-old Muslim.
The remaining episodes follow this core bunch as they cope with their strange new world--a world in which, as Tom puts it, "we make our own law now." These are people we come to know and, for the most part, care about--especially Abby (one of the very few who contracted and then somehow recovered from the virus) and Tom (whose violent ways make him both an invaluable protector and the object of much mistrust). Other major and minor characters come and go, including various bands of outlaws, thieves, and such, led by religious zealots, power-hungry criminals, greedy entrepreneur types planning to cash in once things return to normal, and so on; there are a few good guys along the way, too. The bigger picture is addressed as well, as a surviving minister (Nikki Amuka-Bird) attempts to put the government back together (using increasingly drastic and outrageous methods) and a sinister band of scientists conduct Mengele-like experiments in their search for a vaccine. It's not all brilliant--some of the hour-long episodes move very slowly (by and large, season 2 is faster paced and more exciting than the first), and there are some mawkish, overly melodramatic scenes. But the central themes (Are people basically good, or evil? How would we cope in a world without civilization?) and characters are enough to make for very compelling viewing. --Sam Graham
A New World
The Making of Survivors
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SURVIVORS is a remake of a 1970's series based on a novel by Terry Nation (the creator of Doctor Who). The series is remarkable in its atmosphere. The horror of mass death, the realization that only 10% of the population is left, the loss of power, transportation, medical care, communication, law, government are all well done and very believable. You really feel for these characters and are completely drawn in. How do you go on when everyone you know has died? How do you continue to survive, when there are no groceries, no clean water, no medicine? And no way to bury the millions of dead bodies...
But what is really interesting about SURVIVORS, what really makes it tick, are the characters who are given a second chance at life. SURVIVORS focuses on a small group of very diverse people who are now thrown together in an almost familial unit: Abby (Julie Graham), the matriarch who is determined to find the son she's convinced is still alive; Tom (Max Beesley), the convict who was doing time murder when the virus struck; Anya (Zoe Tapper), the pretty young doctor; Greg (Peterson Joseph), the untrusting loner whose life had already been falling apart; Al (Phillip Rhys), a rich, lazy playboy who can't do anything for himself; and Najid, a devout, 11-year-old Muslim. How has the global tragedy changed them? Can the convict reform? Will the doctor ever practice medicine again, or has she seen too much horror? Will the playboy suddenly grow up? Watching these people, their interactions with each other, and their reactions to both the plague and how to go on is what keeps the audience coming back each espisode. Can they remake themselves? Can they overcome all obstacles and keep on living?
My only criticism of SURVIVORS is that the story lines get a bit repetitive after awhile. The "family" doesn't seem to learn from their mistakes from week to week. Hey, it is h-e-double-tooth-picks out there; to really survive these folks need to learn a little faster.
Over all, though, SURVIVORS is worth watching. There are a number of continuing story arcs, and luckily, several of them are tied up nicely by the end of season 2. Since the series has, unfortunately, been cancelled, I am very glad that a few things, at least, had been resolved. RECOMMENDED.
So I think that the BBC in essence cheated the consumer. It's like buying a novel only to find out that the last three chapters are missing.
They had a great product and they ruined it---incomprehensible. When you think that a season is only 6 episodes anyway. they should have not left it incomplete. A two hour finale would have been great just to give it a sense of completion.
I also think it is unfair for them to now show the series on BBC America knowing that it is essentially going nowhere--it's been already canceled and it's incomplete. All those viewers will watch the final episode of season two all for nothing, as they will get no answers.
If I had known all this before hand I would not have bought the DVD's.
We can always hope that they will complete the story somehow.
The characters are believable, and the interaction interesting. Good writing and plot. There's action to fulfill the needs of the guys in my house and I'm fascinated by the concept of how society would behave in the event of such an apocalyptic disease. Apparently it's a re-imagining of a series from the 1970's.
Two seasons have been filmed (as this DVD set shows) and I really hope they carry on into a third season - We'll watch!