Sunday, 23 November 2008

Somewhat disappointed by Survivors

The Beeb's put a lot of effort in to promoting its new post-apocalyptic Sunday night drama Survivors, so it was with some anticipation that I settled down to watch it tonight.

The original series has a cult following, but I can't see this new version having the same sort of appeal. There were just too many holes in the script of this first episode.

The problems started early on. Apparently a major disease outbreak is only the responsibility of the junior minister of health. The government also allows the media to operate as normal, rather than taking direct control. And journalists are able to get to press conferences when everyone else is subject to gridlock. And that gridlock apparently doesn't affect London, where traffic is shown flowing normally over a bridge during a long shot.

There are power cuts, but they don't affect wealthy people living in penthouses. And even after they are affected, they can still get out of electrically operated garages. And apparently such people don't get food from shops, but can just rely on the champagne and caviar they happen to have in the fridge, which is still working after days without power.

The disease apparently also prompts Muslims to gather together and pray to Allah, but other religions don't bother with anything like that. The idea that a disease outbreak like this might be the subject of millennial religious panic among other religions or cults is not one that seems to have occurred to the writers.

And don't get me started on the roads. Even though earlier on we're told that the panic has caused gridlock and fuel shortages, apparently everyone got to their destination safely, so the roads are miraculously empty for the few survivors. That's despite the fact that we saw one conveniently dead person in her car, but she was the only one who didn't make it home. Also, how many motorways do you know which have a junction controlled by a stop sign rather than a slip road?

And there were all sorts of other problems. The virus has caused doors to be conveniently unlocked and car alarms to be disabled. It also allows people to be unhurt even when standing right by an explosion and to be able to jump straight into their car. Apparently you can also drive straight through plate glass windows without a scratch on the windscreen. Oh, and dead bodies don't actually seem to decompose.

This was a real disappointment, as Survivors could have been an excellent drama. The acting was pretty good, so it was a shame that the script was so woeful. I don't think I'll bother to switch over from the Champions League football for the next episode on Tuesday.


Norman Fraser said...

Yes, disappointing but I'll probably watch on Tuesday to see if it gets better.

Stephen B said...

Ha! Even having had a bottle of port at my side to help my critical faculties, I have to agree with your assessment.

I also found it full of rather silly stereotypes (in addition to the 'devout muslim' one you identified, I would add that the only way you can escape the plague as a white male is to be mad, criminal or simple) and so it was always going to be a bit of a cartoon romp.

The introduction of the theme of the worldwide conspiracy at the end though might be enough to dissuade me from tuning in again.

For me the most telling omission was the lack of any Lib Dem activist delivering Focus leaflets in the aftermath - I can't believe mere decimation of the population would rid us of this scourge!

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