Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Survivors, BBC One

Here's a quick review of last night's Survivors wot I wrote for Orange. I enjoyed it - especially in comparison with Day of the Triffids. It was a nice mix of pacey action stuff and sinister consipracy stuff, plus a bit of a deeper exploration of the characters.

Survivors has returned at a very appropriate time, just days after the country was brought to its knees by a terrible phenomenon that no-one could possibly have predicted or done anything about. It certainly felt a bit post-apocalyptic when I had to go to Penge Sainsbury's at the weekend.

Anyway, the second series picked up very much where the first had left off, with Abby Grant (Julie Graham) getting nabbed by some sinister science police types who thought she was the key to developing a vaccine against the plague that had devastated the country – well, Manchester, at least.

Meanwhile, Johnson off Peep Show (Paterson Joseph) had been shot during the confrontation, forcing doctor Anya (Zoe Tapper) to save his life through a bit of – convincingly grisly – improvised surgery in reception at the Midland Hotel. And yes, I know his character is called Greg Preston, but let's face it – we all just call him "Johnson" anyway.

The episode moved along at a fair old lick, as Anya had to lead an expedition to a nearby hospital to get hold of some medical supplies. However, when the building collapsed (with some nifty special effects), she and reformed playboy Al were suddenly trapped and in fatal peril.

Back at the Midland, Johnson was having some intriguing flashbacks about his life before the plague, including him getting a bit medieval on the bloke who was having an affair with his wife. We also saw another side of glamorous parasite Sarah, who seemed to make a fairly gruesome personal sacrifice to get the help needed to free Al and Anya.

While all this was going on, Abby was having a bit of a time of it at the creepy scientists' laboratory. The fibbing fibster of a head boffin revealed that they knew about the plague before it struck! And that Abby would have to be reinfected with the virus before her blood could produce an adequate vaccine! Boo!

All in all I really enjoyed the first episode of the new series. We saw a bit deeper into the characters, the plot moved on rapidly and the whole thing compared very favourably to the thematically similar Day of the Triffids two-parter that vegetated across our screens over Chrimbo.

It looks like series two is going to be a bit more action-packed than the first series, and the opener was very smartly done. Hopefully the future will be a bit brighter for post-plague Manchester than post-snowpocalypse Penge.

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