TV Review – Survivors Series 2

The first episode of the series ended with Tom Price exiled from the group and going his separate way. Spoilers follow.

Oh it ended all so promisingly at the end of 2.1, but very quickly Tom Price is reunited with the gang when one hoped for a divergence of stories. That said again his actions have consequences that lead up to some effective scenes.

We also get to check up on Abbey in the role as vaccine factory. The inhumanity of these scenes is well done and there is a good plot element in the lab supervisor having snuck his family into the facility. However the acting (or is it the direction) of that element is so…sleepy in any scene involving the Whittackers. I don’t know why. It may be the idea was to give him an element of deliberation and earnestness but it effective just makes him seem a bit stupid. Not really the vibe to give a wicked scientist.

While we are on performances etc; credit where it due Patterson Joseph gets to do some grumpy Greg acting that Ian McCulloch would have been proud of, Max Beesley is terrific as always. Naj was a little weaker in this episode but still performed well in his scenes with another junior actor. However a honourable mention as to go to Robyn Addison as Sarah – the script writers quite rightly showed the continuing consequences of the violence and devil’s bargain his experienced in episode 1 and she continues to effectively shoulder that heavy burden.

Plot wise it was nice to see another bunch of fundamentally decent Survivors trying their best but coming into conflict through Price’s actions and misunderstandings. We get Greg considering the broader implications of surviving which was at the very core of the 70s series but is sometimes forgotten in this reimaging. It was also great to see Anya considering the nature of Price and the strange coy ‘relationship’ they seem to have. Anya’s speech on the consequences of violence was also a nice bit of writing.

All in all its a serviceable episode. It will be nice to see how Abbey is reintegrated into the show’s family after her ordeal. I can’t help feeling an opportunity was lost to explore different approaches to survival if Tom had continued to go off on his own.

On a broader point the firearms free nature of the conflict is now starting to stretch things. I know that the BBC probably doesn’t want to glorify weapons, furthermore than shooting gunfights is expensive but given the prevalence of gun crime in major urban centres, the likely presence of armed police units and the armed forces it does seem a little strange how few firearms abound in the survivor’s world. Even knives or the sort of rubbish swords Lord of the Rings and martial arts fans get do not appear to get a look in. You take a drama on the rules it sets itself but it does seem incongruous. There could be some very powerful stories to tell about violence and its consequences which would fit Terry Nation’s initial vision of post-apocalyptic western.

GS Reviewer: Andrew Clark

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