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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama from the BBC - Really!, 23 Feb 2005
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
In the first Survivors series, the starkness of life post-plague is portrayed with the immediate realities of surviving, finding food and shelter, avoiding violence and taking stock the key themes. Series two settles down to explore more long-term issues, building relationships and communities, replacing the convenience of 'modern' living with hard graft and manual labour. Initially, I felt that a couple of more fanciful episodes seemed quirkily to deal with side issues such as witchcraft and religion and I began to think 'serious' plots had run dry. However, these served as a reminder that in the circumstances the survivors find themselves, there would be plenty of scope for radicalism, extremism and greater reliance on higher powers than evident in pre-plague times. Hence, 'The Chosen', a creepy and disturbing version of a controlled society was perhaps more possible than one would like to believe.
I first watched Survivors in the 1970s as a young man in my twenties and found it riveting. I have never forgotten being absolutely enthralled by the concepts it portrayed. Almost thirty years later, I was delighted to find it available on DVD. I am still fascinated and watched the whole 12 episodes of series two almost back-to-back (ditto series one). Great drama, arguably with slightly wooden production compared with modern television drama (but great acting). Ground-breaking in it's day and highly recommended. If you saw the film "28 Days Later", the initial theme is similar but Survivors makes much more credible viewing despite the lack of hi-tech effects. Buy it or rent it, you'll love it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama - Roll on Third Series, 28 Oct 2004
This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Following on from the excellent first series, series two continues the story of the Survivors.
The "Death" has claimed over 99.9% of the population and those that are left must now struggle and fight to continue, gone are the mass producing factories, gone is the centralising Governments. Now just a collection of small communes to re learn all that the past generations have forgotten about living of the land, life with out dentists, hospitals and state run schools.
The Second Series survives major culls, both of characters and locations , but excellent scripts, excellent Direction and outstanding acting carry on where they left off. These programmes were made in the days when the BBC made the best quality television in the world, their drama really was second to none.
This is further highlighted by each individual episode, which cover such topics as rising fascist states, a person's willingness to risk their life for their friends. Changing values (the way a society so ravaged may have to move on from traditional views of love, marriage and the family home and just produce children - the next generation) and ultimately the need for co-operation and cohesion in order to rebuild a brave new world.
If you enjoyed the first series then this is an absolute must, roll on series three.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Few Quibbles But It's Well Worth Watching, 2 Nov 2004
By 
M. W. Stone (peterborough, cambs england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I came to this second series with some foreboding that it might not live up to the first. Having watched it, my conclusion is that it doesn't - quite - but comes closer than I feared it might.
First off, it does a wonderful job of highlighting all the problems and pitfalls of farming in the post-disaster world - especially when those having to do it are mostly totally ignorant of the subject. As widely noted, this series is in many ways derivative from George R Stewart's "Earth Abides", and highlights vividly (one of the few points where it improves on the book) just why Ish's Tribe finish up as hunters rather than as farmers. Between their lack of expertise, the vagaries of weather etc, and the danger from marauders of one sort or another, a farming community post-plague would have a very precarious existence.
It also touches more directly than the novel on the question of whether all the survivors (and particularly the women) would be eager to start repopulating the world. Childbirth has suddenly become an order of magnitude more hazardous than before, and many women, especially the middle-class ones who play leading roles in "Survivors", were always accustomed to having "lives of their own", and may not be eager to just settle down to being wives and mothers, especially in a world without labour-saving devices. And given how shocked and depressed many of them will be, there are likely to be major misgivings about the rightness of bringing children into the kind of world they now have. I also found the reluctance of Melanie and others to accept that civilisation was really gone, and their insistence that "There must be something somewhere" entirely credible. Hope springs eternal.
There were some interesting angles on the possible role of religion. Its role in "The Chosen" was unattractive, but may well have been helping them to survive. And "By Bread Alone" was beautiful in its portrayal of how Lewis, seemingly one of the most useless men in the place, almost in spite of himself did more to boost morale than the more practical Greg and Charles had ever been able to do. He was nicely counterpointed by Mark Carter in "New Arrivals", far more of an asset in practical terms, but who succeeded only in reducing the community to a state of near-terminal depression. I was really sad when they killed Lewis off two episodes later. Whether dictated by casting problems or reflecting some "discomfort" with religious questions on the part of the producers, either way it was a great shame to lose the character.
This brings me to by far my biggest gripe - a sense of "disjointedness", and lack of follow-on from episode to episode. Thus, in "Lights Of London" and "The Chosen" , they meet two communities far larger than their own, but neither figures in any later episode, even as a trading partner. And in "Over The Hills" Sally ends her pregnancy by distinctly hazardous methods, but we hear nothing about how well she recovered. Incidentally, does anyone else feel that episode "cheated" just a little, focusing so exclusively on "right to choose" issues that it ignored the purely practical question of whether, absent proper medical facilities, it might be more dangerous to abort a baby than to have it?
Ditto with "The Face Of The Tiger". This opens with the local communities in conference about the need for a mutual defence pact. It goes on to feature the serial sniper as a clear proof of the need for one. But after that - nothing. Once she has been shot, the whole question seems to disappear.
Similarly with "New World". When this Norwegian balloonist turns up out of the blue, discussion of what action to take is entirely unilateral. No suggestion of talking to Garland or anyone else. Indeed, the neighbours we know about all seem to have disappeared. Has Agnes met the Chosen, or that London community and if so what do they think? Nobody bothers to ask. For all the previous talk about the need for co-operation, everything is discussed as if Whitecross were the whole of Britain. This is all the more surprising given their recent experiences. It is only a few months since Ruth was abducted by another community who thought they needed her more than Whitecross did, and only rescued with difficulty. Yet Agnes' invitation to "come into my parlour" is accepted quite trustingly, though she has tried to lay down the law to them - "Abandon this place - Slaughter your sheep - Send that cattle man to Hereford" - in ways which recall Manny, Kershaw, and Mark Carter. Didn't anybody feel they had been here before? Given recent history, would they really be so willing to take Agnes at face value? It's as if the previous episodes simply didn't happen.
Also, I get the feeling that they were starting to run out of original plots, and trying to wrap things up by bringing "civilisation" back on an improbably short timescale. I never saw the Third Series, so I don't know, but this hydroelectric business smells of a move in that direction, which would be a move away from reality. Hope I'm wrong.
But enough grumbling. Despite all the above (and finding "The Witch" a bit unlikely), it was still a good set of stories, and I'm not at all sorry that I bought it. If you liked Series One, you will like Series Two.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic series, shame about the extras, 3 Jan 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I saw bits of all three series of Survivors when I was a teenager and the memory of them has haunted me to this day. I was given series one last Christmas, and was more than pleased to get series two this festive season.
To say "they don't make'em like that any more" is a cliché, but in this case it's true. To have the luxury of three runs of 13 episodes to explore the complex issues arising from a post-plague society would be unthinkable these days.
Of course the production looks much less slick than present day offerings, but for its time this was top notch telly. So buy both series and look forward to series three.
I only wish the DVD producers could have run to using a professional interviewer to conduct the interviews with cast members and production team. Oh and when you use more than one camera, it's best to make sure that both are properly white balanced. The production values of the extras were in stark contrast to the 13 programmes on the discs, and it seems unnecessarily penny-pinching not to have done a proper job. Perhaps series three might learn from this? Hope so.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprises.......!!, 21 Oct 2004
By 
jason yates (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
It is pretty well documented that the 2nd series of Survivors takes a surprising turn away from Terry Nation's original concept of the show and as such I was a little more than sceptical at whether this 2nd series would be any good. The first series was simply brilliant, exciting , groundbreaking drama... what would be in store on this 2nd dvd...?
Well surprisingly more of the same.I was expecting the second series to be the study of agriculture and farming etc etc...but it really isn't , yes it has those themes but its really much more of the same , just a different setting. The main problem - if there is one with series 2- is the loss of the lead actress Caroyln Symour as Abby Grant - but because the show and this serious error of judgement was made over 25 years ago now , I dont think one can get too worked up about it. There is a wonderful performance by Celia Gregory as Ruth which tips the scales in its favour and Denis Lil is very very good as Charles . Perhaps the only thing i really noted was the lack of " men in Land rovers with guns" which I personally loved . Loved, loved , loved...If Terry Nations first series was about the need to defend yourself after a " death " of civilisation then the 2nd series is about having to reap what you sow , how we would need to put down roots and small settlements and live off the land. Its an interesting premise and while I didnt enjoy it as much as the first series its still fabulous entertainment and well worth the buck!
Enjoy........
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivors- The Complete Series 2, 21 Oct 2004
By 
Dave (Epsom, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The story follows on from the excellent Series One but with mainly new characters as most of the major characters have either left the community or perish when a disaster strikes in Episode One. However the new characters are all in strong roles and soon the absence of the departing characters is not noticed.
There is also a returning character from Series One, Charles Vaughan who is excellently played by Dennis Lill.
There are very few weak episodes or storylines and I consider Series 2 to be overall stronger than Series 1.
If anyone has already bought Series 1 then they will not regret buying Series 2.
I do hope Series 3 is eventually released as it will be good to know how the balloon adventure to Norway gets resolved!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Whitecross, 20 Oct 2013
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Here in one box set, spread across four discs, are all thirteen episodes of the second season of the BBC show Survivors. This being the original 1970's version, about people struggling to get by after disease kills off most of the world and civilisation collapses.

This may work as a jumping on point if you haven't seen season one, but the main characters are already quite established by now, and there's only occasional exposition as to what has gone before, so you are better off starting with that.

All episodes run for fifty minutes. There is direct scene access on each episode.

But the dvd's have no subtitles at all. And the only language option is English.

The season starts with a bit of a shake up. Abby Grant, main character of season one, is no longer around. Off on a quest to find her son. Which she was out to do for most of season one. This absence came about due to the actress and the producer not always seeing eye to eye.

Also gone is show creator Terry Nation, also due to creative differences.

Not only that, the first episode quickly winnows down the regular cast via a fire. Recasts one. And sees the surviving survivors move to the Whitecross community. Which was encountered in a season one episode. It's leader Charles Vaughan [Denis Lill] becomes a regular character.

As this season proceeds, the characters have a settled location in which to call home. But many trials and tribulations await as they try and get by.

This is tv of a different age. Some is done on film but most is done with what were, for the time, rather new fangled video cameras. There's no incidental music. Some modern slang is used in an older context. The children are well mannered and behaved and blurt out vital plot information just in time to send the adults rushing off to save the day. But all the smoking from series one barely reoccurrs.

There's a large cast of semi-regular characters, and only a few main ones who carry the episodes. Although Charles is the only one to appear in all thirteen.

It's a season that does take a few episodes to get going, as the pace of the early episodes takes a while to get used to. As does the fact that this is character based drama with only the very occasional bit of action. All the jeopardy and moving around looking for somewhere safe avoiding men with shotguns only crops up occasionally.

And yet, around episode five, it does click. As each episode starts to become about the kind of problems that people in this situation might face. Only a couple of them are anything involving much any real danger. But even so, it does become quite thought provoking viewing.

The final episode shakes things up again, setting up a new direction for the third year. Which does feel like a quite a logical development. Because although the drama has been fine, the season is very settled, and also very episodic. It's not too often that something has lasting consequence or gets referred to again in due course.

Solid drama of a bygone age. And an interesting trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up on it. Just not quite as good as year one, somehow, but still worth a watch. If you're not old enough to have seen it first time round, it is worth a go. But do start with year one.

The fourth disc has a handful of extras.

A commentary on the fourth episode. This is promised on the back of the box, but isn't on the same disc as that episode. You find it via the extras menu on disc four, which will then play the episode with the commentary.

Photo gallery: a selection of publicity shots from the show plus ones taken by a cast member at the time.

Interviews: Four interviews, three with cast members and one with one of the directors, done when the dvd was being put together back in 2004. These range in length from twenty two minutes for the longest to eleven for the shortest. The others coming somewhere in between. The production values of these are a bit cheap, but the interviews are good.

For a really comprehensive extra though, see the booklet that comes with the box. Which offers a guide to each episode, production notes about each, a summary of what happened in the first year. A very detailed essay about the production of this year. Plus notes on the cast and where they are now. It's an excellent and well put together piece of work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Season 1 is better, 3 May 2013
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Season 1 is better and season 3 (which I have not finished watching) seems more boring.
The video quality is probably as good as it can be for such an old series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, 3 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Not nearly so good as first series but still an enjoyable watch.
Bought second hand, Came back quickly and well packaged.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Survivors, 4 Jan 2013
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R. J. Wilson (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Still enjoyable and exciting after all this time.. tho I'm irritated more by Abby and her self-centredness this time round. Still, she is believable, as is the apocalyptic snenario .. unlike all the alien suggestions.
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Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD]
Survivors: The Complete Series 2 [DVD] by Lucy Fleming (DVD - 2004)
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