Jan 12, 2012

Hidden Gems - Volume One: Survivors

Every now and then I take the time to explore the layers of expired TV Shows, straight to video leftovers and Redbox rejects that occupy my Netflix queue.

Like a 21st century Ferdinand Magellan or the modern day version of Uncle Travelling Matt, I bravely set out on a quest to find undiscovered treasures to share with you.

With each Hidden Gems article, I will offer only the most valuable plunder as a tribute to the loyal readers of The Emerald Quill.

I stumbled upon my first Hidden Gem by accident. My wife and I were mourning the loss of our PlayStation 3 after it fell victim to the dreaded Red Light of Death. Since we live in an apartment without broadcast, cable or satellite TV, we turned to the uncharted wasteland of Netflix to find some quality entertainment. 

I took a mental inventory of common themes that my wife and I enjoy in the television shows that we usually watch and after a scanning through some recommended suggestions from the all knowing Creator of the Que-niverse, I was compelled by the power of Netflix to stop on a BBC TV Show called "Survivors".   

Judging by the name, I thought it might be the British version of the popular reality show, Survivor. However, upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was a scripted drama based on a novel by Terry Nation, which itself was loosely based on a BBC program of the same name that aired from 1975 to 1977.

Survivors is about a group of ordinary people who band together after a deadly outbreak of "European Flu" spreads and kills most of the world's population. Most of the people who survive the pandemic are immune to the flu and are now faced with the challenge of living in a world without rules (no government, no law) and without resources (no electricity, no running water). 

The main characters start out as familiar archetypes in the pilot episode, but as the story develops, each survivor begins to grow and the unit develops into an unconventional family. 

  • Abby - The Mother Figure: The glue that keeps the group together. 
  • Greg - The Loner: A man with a strong moral code that would rather not be held down by others.
  • Tom - The Criminal: He will do whatever he has to do in order to survive. 
  • Anya -The Doctor: She is so shaken by the pandemic that she is reluctant to practice medicine.
  • Al - The Playboy: He has to learn how to take care of an 11 year old boy named Najid. 
  • Sarah - The Opportunist: She uses the art of seduction to ensure that her needs are taken care of. 
Throughout the course of the series, we are introduced to various groups and individuals that have also managed to survive the outbreak. However, in a society without rules, strangers usually equal the threat of danger to the group. Whether it's a rogue group of foragers or a commune of eco-savvy citizens, each encounter is guaranteed to provide an obstacle for the new family to overcome.

If you think this guy is "The Criminal" then you are a racist.
One of the reasons that Survivors appealed to both my wife and myself, is because it contains elements of some of our favorite American TV shows. It has the "live together, die alone" feel of Lost minus the mystical island. It has the "survive at all costs" feel of The Walking Dead minus the zombies. It even has the "hidden conspiracy" feel of The X Files minus the aliens. 

Unfortunately, BBC only filmed two seasons (called "series" in the UK). Series 1 contains one 90 minute pilot and 5 hour long episodes. Series 2 contains 6 hour long episodes. Each episode follows a story arc, so this is definitely a program you need to watch in order. As stated before, Survivors can currently be found on Netflix. 




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