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.