on 13 February 2006
This book may well be unofficial and unauthorised, but that doesn't mean that the authors have skimped on their research - quite the opposite in fact, as both the breadth and depth of information offered here is outstanding. They seem to have interviewed just about everybody of note - both in front of and behind the camera - as well as many of the, ahem, foot-sloggers on the series, turning up a wealth of fascinating anecdotal information in the process.
The book is organised on a series-by-series basis; each series boasts an in-depth discussion of its production, a brief resume of each episode along with some insightful analysis, and a concluding review of each series. Finally, there are a number of concluding sections, including: the series post-transmission; comparison with other similar series; and a fascinating location guide. It's written in a semi-academic style that is easily digestible (unlike the fiendishly difficult "Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text" by Tulloch and Alvarado, which attempts a similar tack but which quickly ends up being completely impenetrable to the average reader.) One point of note is that the analysis of the episodes has been identifiably divided between the two authors - a nice touch, as there are sometimes quite different views on display regarding certain aspects of the series that are quite thought-provoking.
I enjoyed this book very much - and as a long-time Survivors fan with fairly entrenched opinions on the series, I found much here that was new, surprising, and which offered new viewpoints on a fascinating series. I think the only people who won't enjoy this book are the impossibly rabid fans - each cult TV series always seems to attract some - as the level of informed discussion and opinion in the book will just outrage them quite unreasonably; for everyone else, this is certainly the best companion text available for all three series of Survivors and I recommend it without any reservation. In fact, the only complaint I have about this book is that it's not available in hardback. Tut tut, Telos...
on 28 March 2006
With all three seasons of 'Survivors' out now on D.V.D., the timing for this book could not be better. The authors have done a thorough, excellent job. Each episode is comprehensively reviewed and the 'behind-the-scenes' stuff is fascinating.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this a hagiography though; Cross and Priestner are deeply critical of what they perceive to be the show's shortcomings, particularly in the hugely disappointing third season. On completing the book, I not only read it again but rewatched the series.
Two minor niggles; firstly, the font used is very small which makes the book a little heavy-going if, like me, you suffer from weak eyesight. Secondly, as another reviewer has pointed out, there's no mention of what happened to the cast and crew since. Bearing in mind that Terry Nation, Terence Dudley, Michael Gover, Talfryn Thomas and John Abineri are no longer with us I thought this a little surprising. Still, if no-one ever produces another book on 'Survivors' it won't matter because this one is so good.
on 6 March 2006
Written be renowned Survivors experts, this book is an essential purchase for any fan.
I admit I largely skipped the episode synopsis (which I tend to do with any such guides) to get to what I consider the meaty part - the episode analysis/critique. The reviews offer much to enjoy and frequently raise insightful observations that I had not thought immediately apparent - but make perfect sense. A great deal of background information is also provided on the genesis and ongoing production of the series and this is both skillfully written and consistently engrossing.
Coming to Survivors only with the recent DVD releases I found this book expands upon the excellent boxset booklets and I can't imagine any buyer being disappointed.
I would have perhaps liked to have chapter on what the principal players and behind the scenes people did after Survivors (for example writer Jack Ronder played an important role and I gather he must have died young but no details are given) but this is a minor quibble only.