Apart from the opening and closing episodes, which were at least packed full of incident, Survivors made for dismal viewing. The story seemed to be running round in circles most of the time, constantly returning to square one and providing a very unrewarding experience. Abby was captured by scientists and then escaped, Tom and Anya were on and off again from scene to scene, Al seemingly perished beneath the rubble but was miraculously resurrected and Greg roamed around flapping his postcard in search of an explanation that never really came. A plethora of stand-offs at gunpoint between various parties also helped to lead the show into the mire.
As for the numerous ridiculous contrivances, where do we begin? The season finale contained two absolute howlers on this front, with Greg instantly guessing the password on the computer in the laboratory and Abby's son Peter managing to accidentally shoot scientist Fiona (aka Penhaligon from Cracker) smack bang in her heart from inside his trailer at a long range. Then there was the increasingly nauseating Najid sitting on top of a building overlooking a street while pining for Abby's return. Guess what? Moments later Abby just happens to stagger down that very same street! As for Abby walking back into the lab, glancing at the CCTV monitor and straight away seeing her son Peter being dragged away - it beggars belief.
Positive moments during the season were harder to find than a cure for the virus. To his credit, Paterson Joseph worked well to add extra layers to the character of Greg although he was given few favours by the script. How ridiculous was Greg's decision to deliver a Guilty verdict in Tom's trial - only to then backtrack and bust the criminal out of his makeshift prison??
The demise of Sarah was reasonably well handled though, with her farewell scene with Al nicely understated if a little clichéd. At one point she seemed on the verge of saying "we're gonna live off the fat of the land and have rabbits, Al". A bit of John Steinbeck is always welcome. Furthermore, Max Beesley was generally fun to watch while in ambiguous criminal mode, the direction was slick and the gritty visual texture of the show was consistently impressive.
One big yawnfest with few redeeming features, the second season of Survivors was an ill-conceived exercise in testing audience stamina. The talented cast simply had no chance to salvage a show that was put into a terminal tailspin by writing that was unfocussed and lazy to say the least.
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