Survivors - Series Two, Episode One
Back in the glorious summer of 2010, I took advantage of a ridiculously underpriced boxset to review the first series of the 2008 reboot of Survivors, based on a story by Terry Nation that's best known for its far more popular adaption from the 70s. The new reboot did a lot of things rather differently, adding new characters and swapping a few ethnicities round to reflect Noughties Britain. While the second series had been planned for a while, the 2009 Swine Flu scare made the BBC reconsider broadcasting it, and while critical reaction was better the ratings for the second series suffered so much that the BBC threw in the towel.
|Greg's life is on the line - and so are Anya and Al's when |
they try to help.
Stuck in Manchester after having to look for runaway Najid, the gang find themselves nursing a Greg whose been shot by Dexter. Stuck for medical supplies, Anja, Al and Tom head off to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, which is then collapsed by city-dwellers trying to eradicate what is essentially a disease hotspot. They all try to help, leaving Greg in the lurch, and Sarah has to sell her body for a jack. Meanwhile, Abby has been taken to the Evil Scientists' Lair, where she is told by David Whittaker (Nicholas Gleaves) that she's the only one to fight off the virus who wasn't immune and thus needs to be tested on to prevent the virus from mutating further and killing everyone. Anya and Al are rescued, and Greg recovers, but Tom is forced to leave the group when Greg denounces him as a murderer.
One of the more surprising parts of the episode for me were the frequent flashbacks to life pre-virus for Greg, which felt very Lost-like. While they were certainly welcome, they did feel a bit belated and in the scheme of things it would have been wiser to have seen these back in the first series, when our characters were setting up. Meanwhile, Sarah, a character whom the writers seemed to spend the entire first series trying to get us to hate, gets some rather unpleasant character development when she is raped in order to further the story. I don't know whether they were trying to be girtty or were taking her character to what they felt was a logical extreme, but it felt a tad unnecessary regardless. Worst of all was the fact that the guy playing the rapist is now on all those co-op ads. Eugh.
|Abby's looking a bit worse for wear in the Scientists' compound.|
So, all in all, an improved start for Survivors. It feels very much like it's making up for lost time, and the result is an hour of compelling drama that both explores the post-apocalyptic world in a much more in-depth way but also advances a lot of our characterisations. I'm not sure that the flashbacks were well-placed and I really think that it's a little too late to be starting with that now, but I was glad for the character development they provided and it's certainly a trend that this series is going to continue.