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November 23rd, 2008 (09:29 pm)

OMG they killed Abby?

Thinking like an old fan again...

No, apparently - she's woken up and is having a shower.

"Please God, don't let me be the only one" was there, though - and having the dog locked in a car was a good idea.

Not bad at all. Adrian Hodges has offered a reshuffle of the elements of Terry Nation's original and it seems to work so far. Tom Price with resolve and an inwardly-directed instead of a wavering and weak moral compass nonetheless retains the creatively selective relationship with the truth which he had thirty-odd years ago when he was a petty criminal and tramp and was played by Talfryn Thomas rather than Max Beesley. Superficially, early Greg is still early Greg. The new characters represent the BBC's multiculturalism but also a need to represent a broader selection of people in Britain. The make-or-break shuffle, however, might be the decision to make the medical programme which created the virus - or so it appears - British rather than Chinese, and therefore making them a potential source of conflict. There's the normal juggling of different levels of realism - as I think lil_shepherd notes, there weren't really enough crashed cars, and it's unlikely that the arterial roads (was this the 'M96' in Gloucestershire, or a similar test road?) would be as empty as they appear in the latter part of this episode; realism sacrificed to a story being told through metaphorical pictures.


Posted by: Susan (lil_shepherd)
Posted at: November 23rd, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)

But where are the flies and the smells and the fires and the crashed cars and the roaming dogs...? Oh, they weren't in the original either, were they...?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 23rd, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)

The flies and the smells are there, and the cars were visible too (though not as well-shot as in the original).

Posted by: louisedennis (louisedennis)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 08:55 am (UTC)

I noticed that, if anything, it was even more resolutely middle-class than its previous incarnation (although given its previous incarnation's one nod to the working class was comedy-tramp turned murderer this is possibly to be welcomed).

I'm not sure there would be more crashed cars, there was no suggestion that onset of symptoms was quite that sudden. I felt the production suffered from a lack of clear thinking about the nature of the disease and way the crisis would develop. E.g. if people really went to bed with a slight temperature and woke up dead (as it were) then news of deaths would have got out into the Press very rapidly. That's a nit pick though.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 09:23 am (UTC)

You're right about the cars issue - I think I was imagining cars which had run off the road rather than collided. The impression I had of the progress of the disease was that it accelerated, with most deaths occurring on the night before the morning Al awoke with a dead woman in his bed.

Interesting that it's more middle-class - I think that you have a point there. I suspect that 'middle-class' for a lot of critics is shorthand for 'expresses values from the 1970s which seemed anachronistic by the end of the 1980s'.

Posted by: louisedennis (louisedennis)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 11:50 am (UTC)

It was quite inconsistent in its portrayal of the disease, the symptoms and timescale suggested by the events in the first half-hour are really rather different from those suggested later. In either scenario though you would expect more road blockage, in terms of people dying at the wheel in the later stages of the crisis and then blocking the roads for those behind who also then die at the wheel. I still wouldn't expect any actual running off the road though.

The term "cosy" catastrophe has always interested me in that I don't think Survivors is actually _that_ cosy, at least not so much in its first season which is the only one I've seen recently. But its characters clearly depict and espouse the values of education, equality, tolerance and middle-class notions of decent behaviour which the new batch appear to embody in pretty much equal measure. Of course the original also has Garland and the rather Shakespearean idea that the virtues of blue-blood will out in a crisis which I so hope they've done away with.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)

Given that this series advertises itself as an adaptation of the novel rather than the 1975 TV series (easier to clear the rights, as different characters were created by different people and back then the BBC didn't make writers sign away rights to the characters), and that Jimmy Garland (and Arthur Wormley) were key figures in Terry Nation's vision of the show, I think that reports that Garland will appear later in this series are well-founded.

Posted by: louisedennis (louisedennis)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)

*groans* Well hopefully they'll do something to tone down his "birth right" justification and up his survivalist credentials otherwise I may end up throwing things.

I note that Adrian Hodges has described this as a "more optimistic" version of the tale (which I find odd given the source material). It would also seem to suggest that this will remain a "cosy" catastrophe.

Posted by: malaheed (malaheed)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)

Catching the "next week" part at the end, made me think that it was more influenced by Hot Fuzz than the Terry Nation novel

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)

You're right - there's more 'Hot Fuzz' about this version, so far, than there is 'The Good Life'.