BBC’s “Survivors” – Psyched so far!

So, after all of @Ebouc's constant urgings on twitter, I decided that I had to give Survivors a shot.  I was wary because it seems like post-apocalyptic television (Hell, post-apocalyptic anything, for that matter) is often done pretty poorly.  I've just gotten used to lowering my expectations so I can at least enjoy the movie or show a little bit.  I was also a little wary because Survivors sounded slightly reminiscent of The Stand (the TV mini-series, not the book), and while I was drunk enough to forget much of The Stand, I do remember completely despising what I remembered.

Well, the kid's were in bed and we didn't have any episodes of Big Love or Lost to watch, so I managed to convince my wife to check out the first episode of Survivors.  We were both really impressed.  My wife likes it so much that last night I asked if she wanted to watch the most recent episode of Big Love or Survivors and she picked the latter.  She freaking loves Big Love, so I think that says a lot right there.

Anyway, the concept of the series is effectively Apocalypse by Plague (my favorite kind) and it follows the lives of the six (or so) main characters as they try to stay alive in an apocalypse-ravaged land and also try to connect with family members who might still be alive.  However, the plague has less than a 1% survival rate so finding any living family members seems pretty unlikely.

I think we are through episode four of the first series so far and my complaints are pretty minor (and they are vastly outweighed by my kudos).  My biggest two complaints are:

1) Music - the music is a little sappy.  It sounds like a full orchestra and sometimes that can be a little much.  I think it would have been better if they'd stripped it down a little bit and left a little more space.  But, that's minor.

2) Peter - I don't want to give anything away, but I can tell that the quest for the elusive Peter is going to get on my nerves.  He's going to be the equivalent of "getting off the island" in Gilligan's Island.  You know what I mean, right?  It's always "this close!".  Ugh.

But, don't let my bitching discourage you.   I'm just a grouchy old drunk guy.  You should definitely watch it now before they make an American version that completely sucks.

18 thoughts on “BBC’s “Survivors” – Psyched so far!”

  1. I loved the pilot and continued to enjoy the rest of the first season, but it started to get tedious. Instead of moving forward, it seemed as if each episode was just a rehash of the last one. Also, their gun squeamishness and intolerance to think of security started to get to me. I wonder if it’s a British thing, since they are so anti-gun? But in a world without laws, you need to protect yourself. Also, the warehouses are apparently magically forgotten/depleted fairly early on but no one seems to be moving to the farms. I think it’s missing a core historic perspective of society building.

  2. I hear ya, about the guns. During the pilot I told my wife “This makes me want to start hoarding weapons” and she asked me “Why?”. (Because things hadn’t gotten that bad in the show, yet). Now I think she understands why. All it takes is a couple of drunken jerks with more guns than you to really wreck everything.

    But, yeah, if it was me, I’m way out in the country, near a source of water, somewhere I can raise chickens and a cow or two. I guess I could just pack up the 5 chickens I currently have and drive them somewhere I can defend a little better. Oh yeah, I’m going to need buckets of guns and bows and whatnot. 😉

  3. Yeah like one person has a gun and everyone is like ahhhhhh gun. Huge difference from Jericho, where they not only all had guns, but eventually had a tank.

    Have you seen Victorian Farm? It’s fascinating because its secretly post-apoc. It’s all about how to run a farm with a few animals and no electricity/gas. Which is helpful because I need all my gas for flamethrowers. 🙂

  4. BTW, I noticed your tv section is light on the ground. You should let be a guest writer because i am a post-apoc tv expert! 🙂

    I actually like it better than movies because you have more time to really explore the instant chaos/evolution to society.

  5. I’ll have to check out Victorian Farm. I’d never heard of it before. I’d love some guest reviews, though! Send me some and I’d be glad to post them!

  6. While I’ve Sky+’d the series and will continue watching it, I had a couple of problems with Survivors – they seemed to run out of food and supplies (including water) waaay too quickly. If you think about all the bottled water, canned and sealed dry food in homes, factories, warehouses and supermarkets in the UK right this minute, if everything stopped tomorrow, I’m thinking it could support 1% of the population for a couple of years, rather than a couple of months.

    The gun thing? Definitely a writing decision based on glamourising gun culture in the UK. The BBC don’t want to be seen doing that where the news media are constantly reporting on gang violence in our suburbs and, while a bit irritating for the characters not to defend themselves against those who would happily kill them, I only shouted at the TV once or twice over it.

    My major issue with Survivors is the constant need for the BBC to write whiney, traumatised middle-aged women obsessed with their children and failing marriages into the leading role. (As a whiney middle-aged woman I’m allowed to have this prejudice). What’s wrong with having a hot young thing as the one who drives the narrative forward and keeps the group together? While Julie Graham (Abby) is a good deal less annoying than Amanda Burton, Amanda Tapping, Liza Tarbuck or (god forbid) Caroline Quentin, and I support roles for women of a certain age (Rebecca Front, Sinead Cusack, Harriet Walter and Lindsay Duncan seem to manage just fine), the entire point of a ‘science-fiction’ programme is to escape from reality. There’s nothing more real than your mum bossing everyone around I’m here to tell you.

    Give me Rhona Mitra, Lori Petty or Milla Jovovich to kick some zombie butt and rally the troops. Or if we’re going older, Sigourney Weaver or Linda Hamilton – with or without a flamethrower 😉

    You may be interested to know that this series is based on a book by Terry Nation (who also created Blake’s 7, another post-apoc-ish 80s TV series, so bad it’s good), which was based on another series of Survivors made in the 70s. (It’s all on Wikipedia, there might be spoilers). Apparently the original series was somewhat of a cult hit, in a similar vein to Blake’s 7 and (the original) Dr Who. But while this series of Survivors is pretty good, I don’t see that happening.

    You may have opened a can of worms with that request for guest reviews 😉

  7. I watched the most recent remake. I think it’s only a year or two old and it might still be airing? I dunno, I just started Season 1. I’ve heard the original one from the 70s is pretty bitchin’ also.

  8. Hi Guys,

    I am a Brit and have a few comments about a few aspect of the show!

    I can understand your views on guns/weapons etc. but in the UK guns are just not that readily available. If you managed to get hold of one (and of course the ammo), it would be of extreme rarity as guns are just not that easily found in the UK. I am an archer and I would certainly put my bow as essential if I was in a post apocalyptic Britain, at least until I could lay my hands on a gun and some ammo!

    Also by the second series things are getting more desperate and gun use seems to become a bit more common.

    On the subject of “Peter”, without dropping too many spoilers – that one is resolved (one way or the other) at the end of season 2!

  9. Thanks for the comments. Man, people must dig this show, overall, though. I mean, I think this is the most comments in the shortest amount of time in the history of this blog.

  10. Hey Drunken Goon came across your blog today and I agree with your review about Survivors. I noticed you haven’t seen the original from Terry Nation well i’ve got good news for ya and others reading your blog. I’ve been putting episodes up on youtube over the last couple of months. Here’s the link to my youtube channel i’m currently half way through series 2…enjoy…
    .-= wilcoy´s last blog ..‘Survivors’ Epi 6 Pt.6/6 ‘The Witch’ Series 2 =-.

  11. Well Drunken Goon, I have just seen 1st ep of Season 2 after watching Season 1 complete and you have to admit I know my stuff, yeah? This puts Jericho to shame. It’s good.
    Couple of things, I really agree with the Gun issue everyone has. They have people shooting at them and some of them refuse to touch a gun still? crazy talk. People gravitate to mother figures, so it makes sense they look to Abby to make sense of it all.
    The other thing, the search for Peter, yeah it’s distracting but were my mom still with us and I was a young one, I know she would not rest until she was sure I was gone. If you think on your mother, hopefully you know she is same.
    And Miss Blue, Abby is the center figure for that reason. As a middle aged mom yourself, I get that you find it too normal, but it’s good writing that has these folks holding on to normal.

  12. We just finished the last episode of Season 2 the other night. We are still pretty addicted. It really is a great show and I don’t think they’d be able to make it in America and keep it as good. For example, in America, Abby would be a played by a super model or skinny super-hot actress.

  13. Well, if they did do a US version, I disagree with the notion that Abby would be some sex pot. If you watch Sons of Anarchy, OMG Katey Segal is amazing, and it’s the same idea of a Mother figure being the base of a warriors clan. She is badass and soft at times too. It’s perfect for Survivors. Just let a cable channel have it, please. Not network TV. Sons, In plain site, breaking bad and justified are all great.

  14. Bad news, this show has been cancelled in the UK, so series 2 is all we get!

    It resolved some of the stories, but left a huge cliffhanger as well!

  15. Damm it was canceled. I hate it when they do cliffhangers and the show is canned. Anybody remember the television series “Alien Nation” (1989-1990) on Fox? Not a great show, but not horrible. Cliffhanger and then cancellation. They resolved it with a television movie a few years later, but still.

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