There are two new Survivors boxed DVD sets that have been recently released. One is the original series and the second contains the complete seasons one and two of the 2008 retelling (which has been canceled).
Survivors: The Complete Original Series is comprised of six discs containing “all 38 original episodes.” The show was extremely popular in England, running for three series (seasons). One concern is that it is more than 30 years old; does it show its age? Surprisingly it does not.
Certainly all the bell bottoms and fun fur indicate the '70s, but the acting style does not. The wardrobe is mostly blue jeans and tops—sweaters and such—which age well. However, there is one character, a man, in a hilarious windowpane plaid suit (his character starts out as comic relief, and he brings to mind a vaudevillian) that causes snickers each time he appears.
The premise is simple. There is a pandemic which wipes out 99.98% of the population (one in 5000 survive due to a natural immunity). The few survivors must try to establish some sort of society. One character is in search of her son, another does not want to be alone. An engineer needs to be useful. Various people stumble across each other as they try to get a new start.
What makes the show interesting are the different attempts at jump-starting the human race made by people with their own ideologies. One man sets up martial law and becomes a mini-dictator. Another is set on repopulating the earth. A woman thinks that setting up a plantation and paying people in necessities is the way to go. For the central characters, mere survival is a goal.
This storyline could lead to a host of soap opera developments between the characters, with the reinvention of society taking a back seat to the melodrama. While interpersonal relationships are interwoven with the plot, the emphasis is on the desire to establish a community of people willing to work together, learning all the crafts that most of us take for granted. Maybe we can assemble that table from IKEA, but could we harvest and mill lumber and manufacture tools to assemble a table we ourselves must build?
Survivors: The Complete Original Series concludes on a hopeful note as the survivors attempt to institute some form of law and order and restore electrical power (hydroelectricity), and establish a society of communities that includes a system of trade.
A talented cast takes on the task of making us care for these characters — and whether or not they succeed — through the course of 38 episodes. The central roles were acted by Carolyn Seymour (Abbie Grant), Lucy Fleming (Jenny Richards), and Ian McCulloch (Greg Preston). Trivia buffs, take note: Lucy Fleming is the niece of author Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame).