Going into Doctor Who withdrawal yet? With the BBC's time-traveling soap opera pretty much taking a year off, and spin-off show Torchwood also doing a shorter season, you're going to need an acceptable Who substitute. So it may be worth looking into The Survivors, the remake of a classic show by Dalek co-creator Terry Nation — and featuring Martha Jones actor Freema Agyeman. The show launches November 22, and we've got loads of details and spoilers below. In the original 1970s verison of The Survivors, a plague wipes out 98 percent of the world's population over a period of a few weeks. The few humans who are immune are faced with the challenge of maintaining some semblance of civilization when all of the factories, power plants and other aspects of modern infrastructure have collapsed. A very bleak and slow-paced show, the original Survivors probably wouldn't go over that well with present-day audiences. The new version, written and produced by Primeval creator Adrian Hodges, will run for just six episodes, including a 90 minute pilot. Unlike the pretty homogenous original, the new version will be much more diverse, including Muslim and lesbian characters. Here's a breakdown of the characters from the new series, and how they compare with the original. The new version also sounds like it'll have a pretty soap-operatic storyline, with more explicit sexuality. I can't find a plot synopsis for episode one, but here's what happens in episode two, according to the BBC:
Abby and her new friends find a house to shelter in and set about gathering the essential supplies they need to stay alive, as Adrian Hodges's new drama, a re-imagining of the classic Seventies BBC drama series, based on the novel by Terry Nation, continues. When they visit a local supermarket they are confronted by Dexter, the leader of an armed gang which has laid claim to the contents of the store. Abby is shocked by how quickly people have resorted to selfishness and violence. As Dexter's gang leaves, Abby sees a face she thinks she recognises, a teacher who took her son to hospital before the worst of the virus hit. The gang is gone before she can speak to him. Abby can't forget about the teacher. She takes Tom with her and goes back to the supermarket in the hope that Dexter's gang will return. Dexter soon arrives but he has no interest in helping Abby. Instead, he gives them a chilling final warning to stay away. Greg, meanwhile, goes in search of the main supermarket warehouse. When he gets there, he finds Bob Murphy and Sarah Boyer, who had planned to use the contents of the warehouse to start a trading business. Their plans are halted, however, when Bob is severely injured in an accident. Greg is able to stabilise Bob's condition and agrees to stay the night to keep an eye on him. Once Sarah is alone with Greg she tries to seduce him. She needs a man who can protect her and do the heavy work. Greg can see that Sarah wants to use him, but he still finds it hard to resist a beautiful young girl throwing herself at him...
I'm a little alarmed by the "beautiful woman turns into a slut in order to get a man to protect her" subplot, but maybe it'll be more subtle than it sounds. In any case, not sure that would actually work in practice, as a survival strategy. Luckily, the third episode has a more Thatcher-esque female character, who was a man (played by George Baker) in the original series:
Abby stumbles across a community that could hold the key to everyone’s future, as Adrian Hodges’s re-imagining of the classic Seventies BBC drama series, based on the novel by Terry Nation, continues. The group is led by Samantha Willis – the last surviving member of the Government. She has set up a community that still boasts light, hot water, food and power, all drawn from sustainable sources. Abby and Samantha hit it off immediately and Abby is full of hope that Samantha might lead the remaining population to build a new and better society. Samantha sees that Abby could become a trusted ally, but Abby’s illusions are shattered when she sees the lengths Samantha will go to in order to maintain control of her fledgling community. Meanwhile, Greg and Tom are out searching for supplies when they encounter a family stranded on an isolated farm. The father has successfully sheltered his children from the virus by keeping them imprisoned in their own home. When the daughter of the family reaches out to Tom and Greg to set her free, they are faced with a terrible dilemma – any contact with them could kill the family.
Early reports say the show has (not surprisingly) a very 28 Days Later vibe, and it also sounds very Blindness-esque, what with the people trying to take over a grocery store and create their own power base. In any case, I'm always down for a painfully psychotic look at a ruined future society descending into barbarism and fascism. Sign me up! And here's a fansite with more info: [SurvivorsBBCTV]