BBC’s SURVIVORS Season 1 and 2 DVD Review

     May 24, 2010

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I left my cell phone at home the other day by accident. It took only twenty minutes before I started to panic and feel completely disconnected from the world around me.  We, as a society, have become entirely dependent on technology to help us continue to survive.  We have forgotten the basics that got us to where we are now.

Survivors, a remake of the popular 70s post-apocalyptic British television series, shows us what might happen if we were forced back to square one: A world without electricity, food production, or water.  As the title suggests, the show follows a group of people who have managed to survive a worldwide influenza pandemic that has wiped out most of humanity.   My review of the first two seasons (and, due to its recent cancellation, the entire series) of BBC’s Survivors on DVD after the jump:

While watching Survivors, I’ve come to learn that I am completely spoiled by American television and the Hollywood-sized budgets that support it.  There is a clear difference in production value between a show like Survivors and shows like Lost and 24. That being said, the concept of a society struggling to come to grips after an apocalypse, although common, is always intriguing. However, the pilot episode of the series seemed to move slower than it needed to, causing my interest (and patience) to wane.  I gave it a chance though due to the fact that I understand how difficult introductory episodes can be. There is usually just so much to introduce in such a short period of time.  In the case of Survivors, the introductions that are made in the pilot episode alone include a worldwide viral pandemic, the multiple lead characters it affects, and how those characters all end up coming together as a family of sorts.


The characters include your typical film and television clichés: First off, there’s Abby Grant (Julie Graham), a mother in search of her missing son and the only character who actually came down with the virus and lived to tell.  Then there’s Al Sadiq (Phillip Rhys), a pampered trust fund playboy who finds difficulty in adjusting to the less than lavish lifestyle prompted by the virus.  Al eventually finds some responsibility in caring for Najid Hanif (Chahak Patel), a recently orphaned, Muslim boy.  Tom Price (Max Beesley, or as I like to call him – the British Peter Sarsgaard) is a convict who was imprisoned for murder, but finds himself able to use the “new world” to cloak his past.  Anya Raczynski (Zoe Tapper), a doctor who finds her faith shaken after her endless encounters with patients dying from the virus.  Greg Preston (Paterson Joseph), who takes on a fatherly role in this new family with his confidence and preparation for survival.  And finally, a few episodes in, we get Sarah Bowyer (Robyn Addison) because no viral pandemic story would be complete without a hot girl marching around in her underwear.


The first season focused on character development, learning about who these people were, and what these people have become in the post-apocalypse. The main characters spend their time exploring the new world and encountering others who have banded together in a similar manner.  Some have become anarchists. Some are attempting to build a government or profit from the goods they’ve managed to obtain. Others remain secluded from the outside world in fear of catching the virus.  The second season, under the assumption that most people already know the characters, finds the story leaning more toward the origins of the virus. As I previously mentioned, the first couple episodes were tough to get through.  It took me quite a few episodes before I was given enough to develop some sort of interest in any of these characters. The on screen chemistry between the actors was lacking, but seemed to pick up, which, consequently, worked to the advantage of the storyline.  Once I finally did develop a bit of interest, the show became a simple form of entertainment…nothing more or less.  It was ultimately nothing spectacular, yet my interest was aroused just enough to check out the following episode.

If you’re one of those people who decides not to start watching a new show because you’ve invested too much of your time in too many television programs already, you’ll no longer be able to make that excuse. Both Lost and 24 are coming to an end. Now that they are, you’ll find yourself with some time to kill, so you can potentially spare twelve hours to check out the entire series of Survivors. Other than those twelve hours of episodes, there really isn’t much more to play around with in the DVD set…unless you’re truly a fan of the typical “Making of” and special FX featurettes. So, check out Survivors. Or don’t. I did and clearly it’s left me indifferent.


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