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Ben Austwick [Cathode Ray Mission 01.27.10] Tuvalu post apocalyptic review

Year: 2009
Directors: John Alexander / Andrew Gunn
Writers: Various
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 6 out of 10

Fast paced, coherent and focused, episode two of the second series of Survivors should have been the great program it has always hinted it can be. With Tom gone feral and stalking the abandoned streets robbing anyone he can find, and Abby's ordeal in the government lab bringing to light its secrets, there was none of the filler that has dogged previous episodes. Unfortunately though, exorcising Survivor's cosmetic flaws has revealed some previously unnoticed, more problematic ones hiding underneath.

Foremost in these is a lack of viewer compassion for the central characters. Previously, bad acting and dialogue has distracted from what's exposed as a rather plain and interchangeable cast. Bad boy Tom and deep, brooding Abby are the exceptions, showing a little nuance can go a long way, while the rest flutter between petulance, tearful emotion and po-faced, rousing statements in a remarkably similar fashion, all the more damning given that one of them is an eleven year-old child. A story that for the last two episodes has relied largely on petty conflict within this poorly drawn group of people inspires nothing but disinterest.

It's probably because of this that I get excited every time other characters are introduced or developed. This week James Whitaker and his wife in the government lab provided much of the intrigue, as she discovered the gruesome human experiments he oversees and is consequently locked up herself, James's mantra of doing difficult work "for the greater good" being tested to the limit. A likeable band of scruffy scavengers living in an abandoned pub added some colour in the outside world, but as always this was just a passing distraction from a central story it's increasingly difficult to stay interested in.

What Survivors still has going for it are these diversionary stories and set pieces, a bit lacking in this episode but no doubt to feature in the rest of the series, best exemplified by the pedal-powered Nintendo Wii tournament overseen by a Mancunian Fagin at the end of series one. The deserted city of Manchester still looks great too, an empty, clean metropolis of retail parks and half-built office blocks being gradually overrun by weeds. It's enough to keep you watching, but the hope that Survivors will at some point learn from its mistakes and burst into life has been revealed as a hope too far - the flaws run a lot deeper than that, and it looks we're going to have to settle for a middling, inoffensive action series that is passable to all but excites no-one.

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zombiblogia (12 years ago) Reply

I enjoyed it a lot, my friend. I love the way things go crazy on PSJ labs, the way Abby escapes and how Tom and Greg get involved in an angry discussion about violence. I love this series.

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