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Survivors - Series 1 - (2008) [PDTV (XviD)]
Now here's a drama series to make grim winter nights go with a swing - a disturbing vision of a post-apocalyptic Britain whose population has been decimated by a killer flu-type plague. But fear not, because plucky Julie (Bonekickers) Graham is here to save us. She's Abby, a mum on a mission who, having survived the virus, takes to the deserted streets to find her son. Some viewers might remember Terry Nation's 1975 series of the same name and, though everyone involved in the production is at pains to point out it's not a remake or even a follow-up, there is no escaping the striking similarities. Still, Survivors 2008 stands up very well in its own right. This first 90-minute episode (part two is on Tuesday) is absorbing, painting a convincing portrait of a society in meltdown, and tension builds nicely. The characters inevitably have the whiff of stereotype, but the performances are good, on the whole, with Max Beesley in particular impressive as a murderous escaped prisoner who joins the survivors as they face a new world. And you'll probably have fun guessing who will get off with whom, if the revealing trailers haven't already given the game away.
Episode 2 -
The world has changed and the survivors have to "stand together or die" in the second part of Adrian Hodges's exciting thriller. For the group this means shopping at Netto (dear me, is there no Waitrose nearby?) or rather, loading up their stolen car with looted goods. But there are some nasty people around, and they have guns. The pace set by Sunday's opening episode is kept up very nicely, even if the dialogue clunks a bit ("This isn't a game! This is real!"), as the survivors have to look within themselves to decide whether they can keep the standards of a civilisation that has ceased. Unfortunately, their openheartedness means that they take in a new member, a very whiny and annoying woman.
Episode 3 -
The frantic pace set by the first two episodes has inevitably slowed as the survivors settle into a routine and start meeting others who have lived through the plague. Tonight, Greg and Tom (Paterson Joseph and Max Beesley) find a terrified dad (Neil Dudgeon), who goes to extremes to protect his children. There's a danger that this pattern could become episodic and even repetitive, though things are still bumping along quite nicely as we concentrate on the efforts of those who are left alive to set up a new world order. Building a civilisation out of chaos looks like it might be easy when Abby (Julie Graham) chances upon the last surviving member of the government, Samantha Willis (Nikki Amuka-Bird), who we saw in the first episode issuing soothing public statements. She and her fellows seem to have everything neatly worked out in their commandeered, purpose-built eco-community. But when raiders shatter the calm, Willis imposes an ad hoc, and brutal, judicial system.
Episode 4 -
The big problem with Survivors is that it's hard to care about any of the characters, maybe because they are underwritten and not fully fledged. Abby (Julie Graham) seems to be the fulcrum, but we still don't really know much about her and we're halfway through the series. We do know that she's looking for her son, because she's told us often enough, and tonight she gets a lead as to his whereabouts. On the way she meets a wounded aristocrat and gets mixed up with a group of Lord of the Flies-type teenage boys. The aristocrat takes her back to his cave for roasted courgettes (yes, really) and before you know it' they're frolicking in a lake and lying decorously entwined on a picnic blanket.
Episode 5 -
In many ways this, the penultimate episode, is the most interesting of the series so far, with the plague survivors forming a cohesive group at last. The tightening bonds come in handy when they're unwilling hosts to a smiley, anorak-wearing band led by the messianic John (a powerful performance from Kieran O'Brien). The visitors seem decent, but there's something odd about John, who claims God talks directly to him. The survivors are soon thrown off balance by his increasingly irrational behaviour and the birth of a baby, which forces a crisis of confidence in Anya (Zoe Tapper), the unwilling doctor. She has some good scenes with Tom (Max Beesley), as the pair explore their pasts and reach an understanding.
Episode 6 -
The post-apocalyptic drama series concludes with Abby and her friends on the run from Samantha, who has formed a dangerous alliance that threatens everyone's freedom. Sarah, meanwhile, is confronted by a face from the past, which leads her to betray her new friends. And when Naj goes missing, the family face the danger of the city in order to find him. Time is running out, and Dexter is only a step behind them all.
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