The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Ben Austwick [Cathode Ray Mission 11.24.08] Tuvalu post apocalyptic review



Year: 2008
DVD Release date: January 26th, 2009
Directors: John Alexander / Andrew Gunn
Writers: Various
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

The remake of Terry Nation's cult 1970s science fiction drama “Survivors” arrived with little fanfare but was nevertheless a lavish production aired in a prime time slot on BBC1. The first episode sets up the rest of the series by following a devastating and rapid flu epidemic that wipes out ninety percent of the world population, from the perspective of ordinary people on the ground in the Northern English city of Manchester, and a collapsing government unable to cope in London.


Some of the early scenes are truly frightening as loved ones die, hospitals fill with bodies, services collapse and panic sets in. However the pace of the disease's onslaught changes dramatically part-way through to make sure everyone has died by daybreak, a sloppy bit of film making that removes a lot of the realism and turns Survivors from an effective futuristic horror drama into a fairly light fantasy one.

Survivors isn't about the cataclysm though, it's about the aftermath, and how the survivors of the epidemic cope in a dramatically changed world without any of the infrastructure they previously relied on. Some of the characters who come together in the newly depopulated world, in particular an escaped psychopathic prisoner, are fascinating. Less so is an obnoxious and badly-acted rich playboy Kuwaiti, who has been given some of the worst lines from a very patchy script.

There is a lot of promise in this opening episode, and an unexpected biological laboratory scene at its conclusion which hinted at a deliberately started epidemic was a great cliffhanger. A preview of the next show promises vigilante violence and a struggle for resources between groups of survivors, and could herald a return to the dark horror this first episode began with.. Despite some niggling flaws in the production so far, I am very much looking forward to seeing it.

Next Episode Airs: Tuesday November 25, 2008 9:00 pm

You might also like

avatar

Gatesy (10 years ago) Reply

I was soooo looking forward to this. Having watched all of the original 70s series, the remake was something of a disappointment. It tried to be like Doomsday or 28 Weeks Later and totally lacked the cold atmosphere of the original series. The second half of the first episode was pretty dire. The CG explosion at the gas station made me laugh out loud, so, so bad!! Hope it picks up next week! :)

avatar

Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

I'm a bigtime fan of Terry Nations series Survivors. I watched the first season of the 70's show.

Carolyn Seymour played Abby Grant and I was surprised to find a more homely woman casted in that role this time around. Abby is the central character and maybe they decided to reduce the character's draw via casting.

Survivors isn't really supposed to be about special effects. The first reviewer is looking the wrong direction. Terry Nation's show asks: how is society organized, built up, and functions.

This new series has brought in a long term nemesis to play off of, big government/secret organization. In the long run it will help give the show legs that the first series missed out on.

Hopefully with hindsight the series writers came avoid the pitfalls of the 1st series. I felt that it became a soap opera of sorts towards the end of the first year.

For the 1st reviewer: Danny Boyle is supposedly throwing around the idea of 28 months later, based in Russia.

avatar

rek (10 years ago) Reply

I thought the score and the blurring at the edge of the screen were really distracting. I was also a bit surprised and disappointed that Freyma's character died. (If that's not the case don't spoil it for me!)

I'll keep watching, but this was very tame.

avatar

Jhon (10 years ago) Reply

Awful. Abosolutley terrible. I've never seen a more cynical and lazy attempt at genre television. Its like the BBC thought "Oh that sci-fi lot will watch anything" and then put no effort in. Also, when are people going to realise that Freema Agyeman can't bloody act?

avatar

Lawrence (10 years ago) Reply

I hadn't seen the 70s version but I had heard from someone that it wasn't very good, so I had low expectations. I know fans of the original series will hate me for this(I hate it when people who've never heard or read the old hitchikers like the new film) But I though the characters (especially the convict) were excellent. I agree that the gas station explosion was poorly done and everyone dying so suddenly seems pretty unlikely, but I still can't wait to see where this goes.

avatar

Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

funcrusher - look here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ftbxh/Survivors_Episode_1/

avatar

Ben Austwick (10 years ago) Reply

I wasn't massively impressed either but I think we need to give it a chance. Survivors was never meant to be about the outbreak, it's about the aftermath, and that hasn't really started yet. It has a few episodes to go yet and could easily get into its stride (although the dodgy script has me a bit worried).

avatar

Gatesy (10 years ago) Reply

I think Anonymous missed my point about the CG. One of the reasons I laughed out loud was because it was so out of place. I didn't want to see special effects (I'm a big fan of the original series). But to then see an effect like that and for it to be done so badly just totally took me out of the drama i was watching.

avatar

Westy (10 years ago) Reply

Truly awful. Awful casting, awful script, wooden acting . . and that awful, loud dramatic music - the damn thing doesn't need a soundtrack!

You know, I think the problem is that the U.S. simply make better drama than us now. We're used to better scripting, better casting and better acting than the BBC can lay their hands on (probably too busy paying millions to 'Wossy' and making dodgy, but marketable, dinosaur programs).

The government should just accept that they can't keep pace, scrap the fee and just re-run the '70s and '80s shows that the masses like so much.

avatar

trogen (10 years ago) Reply

you know, the second episode was a LOT better!!!
I think they wanted to get the first episode over and done with so we can focus on the aftermath of the flu, which is what the story is really about.
I actually excited to see the next one now, GIVE IT A CHANCE PEOPLE!

avatar

Matthew (10 years ago) Reply

Please, please, please. What happened to plot, acting and ideas? I lasted less then 10 mins on the first episode before using the 'X' button. No, No, No. This will go down as the most irrelevant, behind the time nonsense I have the misfortune of coming in viral contact with since the written material of Philip Pullman.

avatar

Chris (10 years ago) Reply

Honestly, it's crap. I tried giving it a chance but there are just too many programs and films that have dealt with the subject better than this. It would need to come from the left field to truly work. Lower budget breeds creativity, the BBC should learn this and take risks.

avatar

macstu (10 years ago) Reply

WOW THE WORST TV SHOW IN HISTORY lets face it
the americans are just better at this kind of stuff than
the BBC. So lets hope it only lasts 6 episodes , that's all
the mediocrity i can stand.

avatar

MARK (10 years ago) Reply

IS THIS IT SIX EPISODES I WAS JUST GETTING IN TO IT. AND I FIND OUT THIS IS IT WILL THERE BE ANYMORE PLEASE LET ME KNOW

avatar

Christopher (9 years ago) Reply

All those of you who are compaining about the show, if you don't like it then I suggest you change the channel, or switch your TV off.

I thinks its a great show, and look forward to each episode, as its the highlight of my viewing week.

avatar

djlc (9 years ago) Reply

I love survivors too, i get really excited by it and always stuggle to sleep after it. Its just such a fun what if...
my girlfried laughs at me and says its really bad acting, but i find it totally compelling.

avatar

aimee (9 years ago) Reply

more more more please please please!!

avatar

MarkK (9 years ago) Reply

Really enjoyed it. Excellent viewing.

avatar

John Locke (3 years ago) Reply

You people ripped this up and you're probably all fans of the original. Maybe if you had some patience, the show would have evolved. The original series certainly evolved and became more interesting than looking for Peter. You keep saying, 'Americans just do this genre better'. I'm an American and an American fan of this genre. You have been far too critical of this series and you probably won't get a second chance.


Leave a comment