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Ben Austwick [Cathode Ray Mission 12.26.08] 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: 8 out of 10

In an action-packed final episode of "Survivors" Samantha's ad-hoc government begins to flex its muscles with the dubious help of armed thug Dexter from episode two, driving the gang from their country base and onto the dangerous streets of Manchester. Meanwhile, the desperate search for a virus vaccine at the government bio lab brings the series to a proper cliffhanger ending.

With a story like this, who cares about the hammy soap opera acting, clumsy editing and cheesy dialogue? Genre film has always had a fraught relationship with artful writing and the craft of acting, but as long as the ideas and entertainment are present these things matter not a jot. In previous episodes "Survivors" has been guilty of failing to deliver either, but that isn't true of the series finale which rips along at a cracking place, ladling on plenty of violence and some great set pieces.

In one wonderful scene we see an urban Fagin character decant cooking oil into a makeshift generator, which in turn powers the massive Nintendo Wii tournament he uses to keep his child slaves entertained. This takes place in a brilliantly realised abandoned Manchester, a city that has seen a lot of new wealth and construction in recent years, making its desolation all the more interesting. Apart from the occasional CGI fire its emptiness is just that, the modern skyline and silent streets ever so slightly dislocated from normality.

Add some shotgun shoot-outs, a helicopter manhunt and even a bit of gore (bearing in mind this is the BBC), and we have the "Survivors" we always hoped for. The cliffhanger ending has me on the edge of my seat waiting for series two - and as a sign of how far this programme has come, if you'd told me that a couple of weeks ago I'd have laughed in your face.

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Hot Fuzz (11 years ago) Reply

Thought the finale was pretty great even though the search for Naj ate up a bit too much screen time. That Tom's not much of a shot is he?


rek (11 years ago) Reply

This was a huge improvement over the pilot episode and is obviously what they were saving their budget for. It covered a lot of ground too, bringing back Samantha's eco-fascist settlement and tying in with the grocery store thug, Naj's resumed search for family (and what's his face's loyalty to the kid he nearly ran over), Tom's nature finally showing itself to the main players, and the pharma plot.


bad dog (11 years ago) Reply

Loved the first series, was excited about the remake. Watching the first episode now and I'm disappointed by the ridiculous lack of realism. Half of the UK is sick and apparently everybody who gets it dies but somehow they're keeping this secret. There's no bell curve with this disease; everybody gets it, everybody dies, within a week or each other, it would appear. Nobody wears an N95 mask to prevent infection. No public places are closed. The country is grinding to a halt but cafes are open, dance clubs, etc. It wouldn't have been hard to do a little basic research and try to present at least a somewhat realistic view of a pandemic. I forgave this with the first series because in the 1970s we really didn't know a lot about pandemics and infection control in large populations, but today we know better. Not a deal breaker, but it's annoying and killing my willing suspension of disbelief, making me not care what happens.


MACSTU (11 years ago) Reply

Please just cancel this badly acted farce.


Kyle (11 years ago) Reply

Despite the upgraded production values I found the original series far more interesting. In that version the characters were a lot more thoughtful about their situation and tended to make better decisions. For example, when Abby encountered Wormley and saw what he was up to she simply left the area. This Abby stayed close to Willis' commune despite seeing that they were likely to be trouble. Not to mention running off into a city with no prior plan to protect their supplies or themselves from scavengers who were now well past the point of desperation.

This remake seemed to be more centered on action and conflict while the original was more concerned with how modern people would cope with the task of rebuilding civilization virtually from scratch. While I did find this remake moderately entertaining it is not up to the standard set by the original.


gelababe (11 years ago) Reply

I'm gripped. Its a fantastic show. Love it, love it,love it! Can't wait to see what happens next. Bring on the next series and soon.


Gemma (11 years ago) Reply

i loved this and so did my mum we watched every single episode i hope they are doing a next seris xxxxxxx


Ben Austwick (11 years ago) Reply

Well we're all divided on this one! I'm looking forward to series two and hope some of the problems are ironed out in the meantime. Gemma - my family like it too, it seems to have quite broad appeal. Maybe the Quiet Earth crowd aren't the audience the beeb was aiming at?


STUART (11 years ago) Reply

There is no series 2 they cancelled this TRASH thank


Wilcoy (11 years ago) Reply

Does anyone know if the BBC will produce dvd copies for American audiences?


Dear Stuart (11 years ago) Reply

Survivors gets second series on BBC


stuart (11 years ago) Reply

The guardian is the worst newspaper in the UK, its BBC
not some unwashed news hound that you should be
listening to and as the series got only 4.6 mll viewers
and was beaten by "HELP I'm a celeb get me out of here
i don't think its got a chance in help and so do most
other staff members .


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

This all started well, but by the time it came to the last episode--what a pile of poop!! No real ending no tied up story lines. What a waste of time.


Another Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

I have to say I agree with Anonymous above. I enjoyed the majority of it but the last episode ruined the whole story line. There was no closure, nor was there any sort of idea that we could effectively close the story line ourselves. Very disappointing. Can I claim back 6 or so hours of my life please?


Dr Crippen (10 years ago) Reply

Sorry!! It's a load of crap!! It's the typical BBC, Politically correct crap. It doesn't deserve a second series. It didn't even deserve the first series. Why doesn't one of the Digital channels show the BBC how it was done and reshow the original series. It's a lot better than a remake.

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