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Survivors: Complete Seasons One and Two (DVD Review)

24 Apr, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 4/27/10
BBC Video
$59.98 five-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars Julie Graham, Paterson Joseph, Zoe Tapper, Phillip Rhys, Chahak Patel, Max Beesley.

BBC’s “Survivors” joins that cadre of serialized shows such as “V” and “Lost” that begins with an epic event, details the immediate aftermath and keeps on going.

A deadly flu wipes out 90% of the planet’s population, leaving the few lucky enough to survive to pick up the pieces. Or are they so lucky? Suffering from survivor guilt, some of these characters, looking at the rugged road ahead of them, express regret that they lived through the plague and think those who died got the easy way out.

Think about it. First you have to deal with the dead bodies. If you want to stay in the cities, you have to dispose of the bodies in order to avoid diseases. But there are literally millions of bodies. Plus, with the infrastructure bound to collapse due to lack of maintenance, it’s probably best to retreat to the countryside.

Suddenly, all the creature comforts of modern life are reduced to whatever limited resources you have left. And then those will be gone, too. You have to find food and shelter, and inevitably you’ll locate others with whom to share the ordeal and build a new life. Does the thought of finding loved ones represent a healthy optimism, or will it blind you from the realities and hold you back from moving on?

“Survivors” is certainly not the first show to deal with such issues. In fact it’s a remake of a show of the same name that aired on the BBC from 1975 to 1977 (a six-DVD set of the complete original series hits shelves the same day at $79.98). Other recent explorations of the concept, albeit in vastly different ways, include “Battlestar Galactica” and I Am Legend, to name a few.

What sets “Survivors” apart is the painstaking detail paid to crafting believable characters and watching them react to an extreme situation that is more or less presented as realistic.

At 12 episodes, the two seasons of the show play more like a long (and typically British) miniseries. The DVD set includes a couple of decent extras, such as a behind-the-scenes featurette and profiles of the main characters.

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