Survivors: Series 1 – Gone to the Angels/Garland’s War/Starvation

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Andrew East continues his journey through Terry Nation's Survivors.


I've decided to combine reviews for episodes 5, 6 & 7 of series one of Survivors, partly because when watching these episodes I realised I was less interested in what was going on and so I probably have less to write about each individual episode. That's not to say they are not good, just that the impact has been gentler than some of the earlier installments.

Gone to the Angels explores the idea that there are people in the world who have not yet been exposed to the virus and are therefore still susceptible; as well as the inevitable consequence of such a catastrophe for some people - solace in religion. In the face of such tragedy I believe it is natural for people to go one of two ways - either abandon religion altogether, questioning how or why a merciful God would allow such terrible things to happen to so many people; or to fully embrace religion taking the catastrophe as a clear sign of God's plan for humanity. The small community in Gone to the Angels are the latter. Having removed themselves from society prior to the virus's release, they provide shelter for Abby and her friends. Unfortunately they are not immune to the virus and all three men die within a few days of Abby's arrival. The realisation for Abby, Jenny and Greg that they are carriers of the virus is horrifying and adds a new angle to their search for survivors. If Abby finds Peter will he already have been exposed? Will she bring death to him?

This episode also introduces two children, John and Lizzie. They're fine (and add a family dimension to the group) but the acting is a little iffy - it's a shame they seem to be permanent cast members when the much better Keith Jayne only lasted one episode. It will be interesting to see if they improve over the series (they definitely don't improve much over these three episodes). Apparently, the boy is Terence Dudley's son - Dudley is the series producer - and the girl is Jack Ronder's daughter - Ronder wrote this episode.


Garland's War picks up on concepts initially introduced in the second episode; of people establishing rule over others. Abby becomes caught in the middle of a feud between a man called Garland and a community run by a man called Knox (played by Peter (Count Grendel) Jeffrey). I wasn't as taken with Garland's War as the previous episode as the central conflict didn't interest me very much. There is some playing with our loyalties as an audience - is Garland or Knox the villain of the piece? Of course, there are more shades of grey than straightforward heroes and villains, although Knox is ultimately revealed as more ruthless than Garland. That said, Garland doesn't choose to go with Abby and the others, preferring to continue fighting his war. It seems a rather vainglorious route to take but adds another dimension to this new world; showing that the plague has actually been a liberating experience for some people, allowing them to play to their strengths (Garland was clearly a survival expert before the death - think Bear Grylls).


The final episode of this review is Starvation, which introduces three new members of our central community - Wendy, Emma and Barney - and returns to the exploits of Talfryn Thomas's Tom Price. Wendy, Barney and Tom are very important additions to the upcoming storyline in Law and Order, but this episode is quite low key. There is a run in with a pack of dogs which is all rather lacklustre. I remember in The Last Train, the apocalyptic drama from the 90s starring Nicola Walker, that the first episode saw two characters ripped to shreds by a pack of dogs. That scene has stuck with me for years and probably made me feel the dogs in this episode lacked any sense of threat or danger.

Aside from this, Starvation really felt more like an episode designed to move new characters into position and give the new community a base (a lovely, big old house with massive rooms, stone staircases and acres of land complete with farm animals - how lucky!).

These three episodes started to lose my attention a little. Most of the characters are interesting (even if the child actors can be a little grating) and giving the community a base is needed to sustain the story. I'm glad to see Tom Price return but I wasn't that fussed by Jimmy Garland or Wendy (although it's fairly clear her character is more of a plot device, bearing in mind what's coming).

But, we rapidly approach one of the most renowned and significant episodes of this series which will see sees the introduction of one more key player...

Andrew East is a primary school teacher and father of two, who finds respite in the worlds of Doctor Who, Disney and general geekiness. Unhealthily obsessed with Lance Parkin’s A History, his Doctor Who viewing marathon is slowly following Earth history from the Dawn of Time to the End of the World. He would live in a Disney theme park if given half the chance.

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