Survivors DVD review
As series two of Survivors finishes its run on BBC One, Auntie allows you to relive the show on DVD. Rob takes a look…
I have, over the past six or so weeks, reviewed Survivors for this site, enjoying the show for the most part. And, apart from the occasional continuity gaffe, I found the new updated take on Terry Nation’s classic show to be compelling, entertaining and, at times, very dark. So, to have the opportunity to see the show on DVD and to catch up on both the good and bad was very apt.
For those who have not watched season two, it was pretty good. After last season’s cliff-hanger that saw Abby taken away by masked paramilitary people and Greg being shot at point blank range, we catch up with the ‘Family’ splintered and the writers trying to mimic Lost by having character flashbacks.
While effective for this episode, at least this format doesn’t last long and becomes a series of search and rescue missions with each character being in some sort of peril and the others required to rescue them.
From Abby’s internment in the sinister Whittaker’s lab, Al and Anya being trapped under a building, and Greg and Tom being made to work in a slaver mine, at times the set-up seemed very formulaic. However, the much darker tone and general feeling of bleakness and a need to evolve and adapt to a new world order keeps things ticking along quite nicely.
With short episodic length stories linked into a series-wide arc, the balance is there to keep you entertained and with each character getting their time to shine (and equally to look stupid, I suppose) there is enough driving the series forward.
However, it is not just the stories that make a TV show. The characters, too, make for an integral part of a show as do the adversities and protagonists they face. The dysfunctional Family unit, while at times incredibly dumb, offers a great mix and provide a good spectrum of characters and outlooks. Al, the happy-go-lucky guy, Abby the mother, Greg the brains, Tom the survivalist and Anya the healer each have their own outlook and priority in the new world.
This mix helps and hinders the group no end, from its initial mission to help the shot Greg, Tom being abducted by Samantha, the handling of the very nasty Billy (Roger Lloyd Pack distancing himself as much as he can from Trigger, to great effect) and the slavers episode, the writers really play on the characters they have. There really is some very well written stuff going on.
That’s not to say that everything is perfect. There are at times some seriously misfiring character decisions were made, some plot-holes you can drive a bus through, situations that are baffling (the woman in the office block and the guy at the airport) and a serious lack of common sense. But generally this season’s darker, more serious tone and general speed of pace at winding up plot threads means that Adrian Hodges’ take on this 70s classic is coming into its own and providing the Beeb with a good solid hit that is just the right mix of drama and sci-fi.
While the show excels in many places, with a decent budget, a cinematic style and care and attention lavished on it, it’s such a shame that the same cannot be said for the disc and extras which provide you with only a bare bones, extras-free two disc collection.
There is nothing of note at all on the discs, which is a shame as the show had, at the end of its televised run, a good online presence and interactive element to it. This, along with any other extra feature apart from the obligatory scene selection, is missing.
Still, at least the sound mix is quite good and the scene selection menu has a nice retro feel to it, but, really, no features in this day and age, which is something we have all come to expect on a disc, is a massive oversight on the part of the BBC.
Survivors Series 2 is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.