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Ben Austwick [Cathode Ray Mission 02.24.10] Tuvalu United Kingdom post apocalyptic review scifi

Year: 2009
Directors: John Alexander / Andrew Gunn
Writers: Various
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Approaching the end of the season and running out of time to tie up its various strands, Survivors takes a turn for the better in episode six, a tightly-plotted instalment in which some of the series' familiar flaws only seem to have been included for consistency's sake.

Hurtling into a complex plot back at the government lab in a manner quite alien to those of us used to Survivors' usual aimless approach, episode six rushes out a story it could have done with unravelling slowly over previous episodes, but is all the more exciting for it. A little too much talky exposition is used to explain the vaccine the lab has developed (a convincing sounding cure that attacks the 'flu virus's basic, unchanging M2 protein rather than the more mutatable H and N proteins - though I couldn't tell you how plausible this actually is), all in the survival horror surrounds of an institution whose workforce has been killed off by the virus, a handful of static shots of empty corridors and laboratory rooms setting an eerie and effective atmosphere.

The vaccine is tested on Al, quite nerve-racking given Survivors' willingness to kill off a central character in the previous episode, setting up a tense bit of viewing (leaving aside a needless and cheesy dream sequence) as the family chase down the man responsible for the mysterious evacuation introduced in the previous episode, uncovering its secrets in the process. Again there is a bit too much spoken exposition used here, and although fast-paced and exciting a car chase, hostage handover and shoot out is hardly original storytelling, but it remains that this was a gripping way to end a compact and fast-moving episode.

It still couldn't help ending with everyone hugging each other though.

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donc48 (12 years ago) Reply

This one sounds better, but shoot outs car chases in a BBC production? (Are you sure you where looking at BBC Survivors?) As far as exciting car chases the one in Survivors can’t be as good as the car chase in Ronin (And a couple of pretty good shoot outs too). It sounds like things are getting better I haven’t seen ep 2 season 1 yet, I’m sure Comcast has it on Demand I just need to make time and see it. Anybody else on this (US) side of the pod keeping up with this pooch besides me, if you are I ‘d love to hear your thoughts.


zombiblogia (12 years ago) Reply

At last one episode above 5 of 10!
I know that the first one was amazing, but I'm enjoying a lot this tv series. One of my favorites all time!


Nick (12 years ago) Reply

I am one of the biggest defenders of this show and strongly disagreed with last week's review but this time around, I think you're being too kind. This episode reminded me of why I left a show like Lost so early on; people acting without any common sense simply so we can stretch it out rather than having the plot move organically toward a conclusion that respects the audience's intelligence. Either way, there will be another season, so don't dumb it down and make a legitimate cliffhanger. Here are my specific complaints (SPOILERS):
1. Abby simply walking around the trailer park knocking softly on windows rather than screaming out Peter's name. I mean, he's obviously there.
2. Leaving the two lab evildoers unguarded.
3. Tom's ridiculously drawn out gunfight and then he inexplicably ends up on the plane? Everyone's eyes were on the plane, they would have seen him. And if he could get on the plane, that means he could have taken out the guard that had Peter. So next season, instead of let's find Abby at the lab it will be let's find Tom at the...
4. Anya and Tom's "I love you, I can't love you" encounters every five minutes.
This is all off the top of my head and not well formulated but I just wanted to say that they took a huge step backward with their characters and structure.


Dyn Dwr (12 years ago) Reply

A very weak final episode. Alongside Nick's observation, I'd like to add an observation about the 'message' the show is giving. Nasty, mysterious, powerful men in suits vs sample of Brtain's population (in terms of gender, race, sexuality, occupation etc). This is a trite, people vs shadowy organization story line. How about more complexity, nuance and thought-provoking drama?


Fred (12 years ago) Reply

Watching the new Survivors has been like waiting for a seed to germinate. It has just broken the surface with this last episode.
The old one was so full of interesting morality textures and scenarios, this new one is like a children's version in comparison, although this last episode was more interesting. It even had Anya agreeing with Tom about weapons in the end! Perhaps in series 3 she'll become the Ripley from Aliens as her and Tom kick ass in China. Or... the script-writers will have to bow down to their employers' blinkered view of good writing, and we'll be left with more of the same mostly mediocre melodrama, where the setting is incidental to the plot.
Oh, and when Anya tells Najid to 'go inside!' after Tom showed him how to fire a gun, I was expecting Najid to retort 'F*@k off!', having started the road to manhood, but of course he just plods off into the next scene. Shame.
Overall, the best one yet, but I've a feeling the characters are so hemmed in by their scripts and it's such a shame to see the same self-conscious drivel oozing out of too much of this show.
And what do they eat? Why are there no animals in it (ok, chickens excepted)? Why wasn't Al killed when Tom shot the man on top of him? Why didn't Abby brief the others about Peter, in case they could prove to Peter that they knew her by mentioning some shared memory between mother and son? Tom could have saved a lot of bother in the woods eh?
I liked the 'baddies' being what are presently classed as 'goodies'. Science is a corporate branch nowadays, nothing more.
I think my main problem with this series is the lack of dealing with the moral ambiguity that emergencies can bring out in folk. Tom has been the best at it, although he's still a meathead & won't accept folk can be good. Anya wants peace & love but can't accept that violenece has a place. a match made in heaven! As the penny drops for both of them in this episode, I look forward to a third series of more mature moral maze being walked, as Nature prevails.

Well, looking at the news and info about Peak Oil & the global economy, it looks like Series 3 might be written by and starring YOU, with a cast of billions. Sh!t.


peak18 (12 years ago) Reply

this show as gone from great in season 1 to not good at all in season 2 have watch all ep's and just found that for a show called survivors there are just way to many. try the 1975 survivors it makes for better watching.

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