Having not seen this BBC serial in almost eighteen years, I was resigned to the idea that it would probably never be shown on television again. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has now been released on DVD. Watching it again after so many years really took me back.
The DVD just contains the six twenty-five minute episodes. (In Australia we saw it as three one hour episodes.) The booklet that comes with it is very good, I was unaware that there were so many adaptations of "Triffids" on the radio. The booklet did forget to mention there was also a comic strip version in the 1970s but that dosen't really matter. Originally Wyndham imagined the triffids coming from Venus but luckily he changed that idea. Considering what we know about Venus today, this would have dated the story horribly.
The triffids themselves are very well done, resembling giant pitcher plants. Admittedly they don't appear all that threatening, but then plants never do. You'll remember Bill Masen saying it was in fact fashionable to keep a docked triffid as a pet to amuse the children.
Unfortunately John Wyndham only saw the 1963 film; this 1981 version of "The Day of the Triffids" truly retains the spirit of the original book and its sense of irony. Before the comet lights the triffids were fenced in and farmed for their oil. Later in the story it's the human survivors that are fenced in trying to keep the triffids out.
Everyone involved in this production did a good job. This is probably one of the best examples of post apocalypse television. Well worth waiting for.
Excellent performances from the lead characters and an effective script propel the six half hour episodes along. Unlike most sci-fi dramas of the 80s, there are almost no special effects required or used, so nothing to make today's viewer cringe with embarrassment. The triffids themselves are also naturally 'wooden' and effectively modelled. There is little at all to date this series and it's as thrilling now as it was when first shown.
The DVD itself is pretty bare-boned. No extras other than optional subtitles. It does, however, come with a pretty comprehensively researched booklet that contains all you need to know about John Wyndham and the different versions of Day Of The Triffids there's been. It also does a good job of detailing background information on the TV series.
All in all a bargain at this price and a perfect example of a TV adaptation that's faithful to the book.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this exceptional television serialisation to fans of the original story. The book has been treated with enormous respect and it's hard to imagine what they could have done to make it any better. The storyline, the script, the acting, the music (amazingly atmospheric music), the cinematography, the triffids - the whole thing - is practically flawless.
Makes you wonder what other unimagined riches the BBC is hiding away, neglected and forgotten in its archives.
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