Sunday, March 29, 2015

BBC's "Survivors" Turns 40 in April 2015!

Back in 2008, I watched a show on BBC America called "Survivors." It was a post-apocalyptic science fiction program that told about a small group of people who survived a fatal form of the flu. There were no zombies or walking plants. There was no nuclear fall-out to contend with. There weren't even any demons or talking apes to contend with. This was just a group of people struggling to deal with a disease that managed to kill off roughly 99% of humanity -- and pretty much every comfort of modern society in the process. Oh, and there was a shadowy corporate group that menaced everyone in their search for a cure to treat the disease that they created. That show lasted two seasons and eventually ended -- with a cliffhanger, no less(!!) -- in early 2010.

Sometimes since then, I learned that this wasn't the first Survivors television program. The BBC teamed with Terry Nation and Terence Dudly back in the mid-70s and created three seasons of the program. Most of the characters and plots from the 2008 series originated with their earlier program. I purchased a DVD collection of all three seasons and gradually watched all 38 episodes and generally enjoyed this earlier version of the program much more than the more recent version.

I recently realized that the original Survivors program would be celebrating its 40th anniversary next month. I toyed with developing a panel about Survivors' 40th anniversary at a Brit-themed convention this summer, but scuttled this plan after my son asked if the convention was about old TV shows that nobody knew anything about. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that D' had a point about Survivors -- not the convention -- so I decided to forget about the panel and come up with a weekly blog series about Survivors.

Starting next weekend, I will do reviews of each episode of the first season of Survivors. I plan to introduce the characters and review the storylines, sprinkled with a bit of commentary. I will likely take a bit of a break between seasons, but hopefully I will complete reviews of all 38 episodes by the end of 2015.

The point of today's blog post is to introduce the concept and to commit myself to this project. But I also want to introduce the concept behind the series.

Survivors begins much like Stephen King's The Stand, though the players are different. Plus there's no supernatural "good versus evil" in this television program. The TV show never really explores the origins of the plague within the storylines, though the opening sequence reveals how the plague began.

It appears that Survivors' deadly plague has its origins in China. A government scientist is working on a reddish chemical in a flask. And then he drops the flask, causing it to shatter on the ground. We then see the scientist taking off on an international flight. Shortly after that, the scientist collapses in the airport.

Of course, he's managed to infect everyone around him, who have infected everyone around them, who in turn have infected everyone around them! And that is how the Death managed to spread through the world of Survivors.

We will review episode one of Survivors ("The Fourth Horseman") next weekend.


William Mcmillan said...

should look into BBC's THE STONE TAPES & DAY OF THE TRIFFID'S Jon more of the same, there are loads in fact. probably come back & chat some more need to feed my kids

Jon said...

I'll have to look into "The Stone Tapes," but I love the "Day of the Triffids!" The 80s program, not the more recent show. It's much closer to the books as opposed to the movie. Good stuff! :)