Review of "Survivors" From The TV MegaSite
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DVD TV Show Reviews

 Survivors: Complete Original Series 1975-1977  and Survivors: Complete Seasons One & Two

 

  Review by Suzanne 5/30/10

I had never heard of this show before, that I recall, which is surprising because I know a lot about scifi, even British scifi. The 70's version was very good from what I can tell, and it has many fans. It seems to have influenced tons of shows and movies that came after it, such as "The Stand", "Jericho", and even "Battlestar Galactica".  It also reminded me quite a bit of the TV movie "The Day After" and the film "Testament".  If you are used to watching 70's shows, then you will know that it will be a little slower, preachier, and more talky than the shows we have today.

The premise of the show is that a mutant flu virus kills of all but %10 of the earth's population.  We see various survivors of the plague and how they cope in the new world.  It's fascinating.  There are flaws in both versions. I find the more recent version in 2008 to be more realistic in most ways. It is grittier and shows things a lot dirtier and more negative than the 70's version ever did, plus it has more minorities and varied people.  Still, the 70's one was first and was written well, for the most part. It was created by Terry Nation, who wrote the book and worked on Doctor Who.  He left after the first year, so the show doesn't do as well in the next two seasons. They fix a lot of those problems in the updated version.

One of the things I like about the more recent version is that there are more colorful and interesting characters. In the original, we had the three leads that were good guys, heroes, and that is very clear from the beginning.  In the updated version, one of the main character is a murderer who was in prison when the flu broke out.  There are a couple of other people whose motives you're not sure about, too. It just seems more realistic to have various types of people and to not be sure what their agendas are or what their pasts are about. 

Carolyn Seymour, who has played in many TV shows and movies over the years, including Star Trek and Quantum Leap, is the lead in the original Survivor series, Abby Grant. She was great as a strong female who leads everyone, and at that time, that was very unusual to have on TV or anywhere else.  The actress who plays the new Abby, Julie Graham, is a very good actress, but she is very different from Seymour and much more emotional. I kind of liked how they were all very stiff-upper-lip in the original.

I do like all of the other actors better, especially Max Beesley (Tom Price), who reminds me of Russell Crowe; Phillip Rhys (Aalim), who reminds me a little of Stephen Rea; Zoe Tapper, who reminds me of Julianne Moore; and Paterson Joseph, who doesn't remind me of anyone but is darned good.

If you don't like shows that are kind of downbeat, you should avoid both versions! But otherwise they are great drama and great scifi.

Both DVD's have many good extras. I really enjoyed watching the "Making of" feature in the original Survivors disk because it told a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff and talked about the fan devotion to the show.  The similar feature on the modern disk did not add much; it was mostly a rehashing of the show. The 70's "Survivors" also had some photos, but otherwise did not have much in the way of features.  The 2008 version had a special about the show's FX and profiles of every character.

Unfortunately, the BBC is not allowing them to make a third season of the show.

You can enter our monthly giveaway to win a copy on either DVD!

Here's more info:

The BBC Series “Survivors” recently released on DVD and is available NOW.

Written by BAFTA Award-winner Adrian Hodges (Primeval) and premiering on BBC AMERICA February 13, Survivors is based on Terry Nation’s thrilling novel about a deadly virus that has swept across the world, destroying all but a random selection of desperate souls. Still alive when so many have died, these “lucky ones” must step into a new world where everything that was once safe and familiar is now strange and dangerous. In the ghost cities and empty fields, power, water and food supplies are scarce. Just to stay alive they will have to band together, utilize their talents and learn new skills as they rebuild civilization. But can they all be trusted?

Survivors: Complete Seasons One and Two features all 12 episodes, filmed in high definition, of the engrossing BBC AMERICA series along with extensive bonus materials including a making-of featurette, character profiles and an Easter Egg. Additionally, on the same date, the BBC will release the original 1970’s version, Survivors: The Complete Original Series. The 6-disc set will include all 38 original episodes along with the featurette “The Cult of Survivors,” photo galleries and a personal collection of Lucy Fleming’s photographs.

BBC America's Survivors Site


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Updated 5/30/10  

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