Monday, November 24, 2008

THE SURVIVORS - debut episode

Last night's debut broadcast of the 70's series remake was certainly better than I'd anticipated given that it had Primeval writer, Adrian Hodges, writing the script. I was expecting a cast of freshly scrubbed beautiful 20-somethings, scampering around a 'deserted' filmed-at-5am London, looking catwalk-beautiful as they fight to survive.

Well, what was somewhat reassuring is the mixed ages of the cast. The main character, Abbey Grant, is a mid-30s mum, there's an 11 year old boy, the alpha-male Greg Preston
looks to be lat 30's and requisite bad buy sprung from prison looks about the same. The rest of the cast are generic 20-something lovelies.

At least it's a start; an acknowledgement that there are other people outside the golden teen-to-late-twenties sweet spot, who, you know...actually exist.

I couldn't help feeling the set-up of the virus was somewhat rushed. Given that the rest of the series (and possible future seasons) will be set in the aftermath, a little more time spent exploring the Big Event itself as events unravelled would have been more illuminating.

The big disappointment in my opinion though was the musical score and the title sequence. If any of you remember the title music and sequence to the original series, you'll know exactly what I mean - it was utterly chilling. This one is just, well, ho-hum.

But the dramatic score was, actually cringe-inducing in places, particularly the 'weepy' moments where the viewer is bludgeoned to death with swirling violins loudly announcing 'sad bit; please proceed to the nearest hanky dispensor immediately'. Actually it was worse than just unsubtle - it sounded dated, like the canned scores used by an 70's American daytime hospital soap opera. 'I'm sorry Mrs Pacelli, I'm afraid it's not good news...' (cue swirly-swirly-violins and quivering bottom lip)

All things considered though, given this could have been as ghastly as Primeval, as naff as Dr Who....I think Survivors did comparatively well. Good, even.

Good....that is, until I hold it up against far better scripted shows out there (Dexter, Battlestar Galactica) and realise we Brits are largely rubbish at producing big-concept drama. Give us a Jane Austin novel to play around with and we're fine. Give us something bold and different and we fluff it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It's always a big day for me when I type those two golden words right at the end of a novel. A fantastic feeling, exhaustion and exhileration at the same time.

So, if you've just stumbled onto this blog, not a member of the Scarrow forum, then 'Streamers' won't mean a thing to you. So for you Passing a nutshell:-

Streamers is a time travel series of novels for young adults. The 'streamers' in our title are our heroes; children and teenagers plucked from history a moment before their certain death, and recruited into a secret agency tasked with keeping history 'tidy'.

For, you see, with the invention of time travel, there will be those from the future who'll attempt to alter history for their own ends; neo-nazis who'd want the Germans to win WWII, Royalists who'd like King Charles to have beaten Cromwell...a Catholic church who'd have been more than happy if there'd never been a renaissance.

The first book's done. And it's dark. Very dark. And in places quite scary. If I were to try and sum it up, it's TIME BANDITS meets I AM LEGEND meets TERMINATOR.

It's a fun concept to work with - alternative history lines, 'what ifs', time travel, gadgets and gizmos, the future world, the past. And in between the action, an opportunity for characters from the past to see our present world, and alternatively marvel at our technology or pity our obesity/apathy. Plenty of room for some social commentary there!

So, whilst I've written it for a young adult audience, there's stuff in there that I'm almost certain may have to come out at the editing stage. Pretty grim stuff.
But that's for another day, when I begin the editing process. But right now, in fact, for the rest of today...I shall simply bask in the glow of having typed those two magical words...

'The End'.