Monday, November 28, 2005

...ain't what it used to be...

Been launching guerrilla raids on the nostalgia banks lately, via the wonders of BBC DVD box sets. Secret Army (the Belgian resistance, strangely attractive Nazis, dodgy farmers on bicycles) was really rather good. The Omega Factor (precursor to the X-Files, shady Govt department investigating the paranormal) suffered, as expected, from ropy special effects, but was genuinely chilling). Ditto Blake's 7.

The big disappointment was Survivors. A sort of dystopian flipside to The Good Life, this grim drama about a lab accident in China wiping out nearly everybody on earth had me gripped when I was about 7-8-9. I recalled the title sequence (man drops flask... gets on plane... feels ill... rubs head... you see his hand flopping on the pavement...) to the nearest frame.

But God, is it ropy. Jumpy direction, bizarre non sequiturs, variable acting, weird pacing... and according to the pundits this (the first) series is the best. I can tolerate the 70s fashions - although would so many people attempting to rebuild civilisation be so punctilious about meticulously applied mascara and/or neatly knotted ties? One character, played by Peter Miles (Nyder in 'Genesis Of The Daleks') even wore his tie in bed, before being seen off by a not very scary sheepdog.

But the most infuriating thing is that the core characters are so smugly middle-class, and there seems to be an unspoken pact between them that the only people they want to form a community with are similarly pukka. The architect Charles is a good bet, until he starts treating women like brood mares; the Welsh tramp and the neurotic barber, are tolerated at best, but swiftly discarded. As for the tyrannical trades union leader (George Baker) and his gang of thugs - it's like a Daily Mail opinion piece, circa 1975, come to life.

Still having shelled out 30-odd quid, I'm sure to watch to the end...

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