Series / Survivors

"Every new person feels like a gift."
Abby Grant, version 2.0

Originally a 1975 post-apocalyptic drama created by Terry Nation for The BBC. It ran for three seasons (the second and third without Nation's involvement), then was "re-imagined" and re-launched in 2008, this time lasting two seasons before being canceled. Officially, the new series was based on an original-series novelization which Nation wrote. In 2014, Big Finish Productions started producing an audio drama series based on and taking place alongside the 1975 series, including crossovers with the original cast.

Both versions are set in the then-present day and depict the aftermath of a virulent disease-generally just called 'The Death' in the original, identified in the remake as 'European Flu'-being released from a laboratory and wiping out 99% of the human race. A disparate band of survivors is thrown together and must now face the struggle of a dangerous life with no society, police or government. (Although in both versions there eventually appear people who Have Ideas about that last one..)

Well, look on the bright side. Global warming's not going to be a problem any more...

There is a character sheet for the remake, though it may contain spoilers.

Not to be mistaken for Survivor.

Both series provides examples of:

  • After the End: Virus version.
  • Apocalypse How: Level One and a high one at that, but the existence of human knowledge in book form keeps it from a Level Two.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: More so in the first version.
  • Dead Star Walking: In both, a high-profile actor (Peter Bowles and Freema Agyeman, respectively) appeared in the first episode, only for their character to die unexpectedly.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Played with heavily. In a world where there is no definitive law or government, most of the human race is dead, and survival by whatever means is the order of the day, normal rules do not apply. Stuff which might normally be considered stealing, applying the death penalty (either for minor crimes like stealing or poaching, or at all), general tyranny justified to preserve safety or law and order, looking out for number one/your own instead of being a good samaritan, sleeping with as many people as possible to preserve the human race, and all sorts. Often leads to differences between characters and groups, who many have their own ideas and motivations for doing what they do.
  • Depopulation Bomb
  • Determinator: Abby searching for her son.
  • The Immune: In the original, some survivors never got sick, others fell ill but pulled through. In the remake, Abby is the only one whose body managed to fight off the virus. However, we later learn that some of humanity has managed to escape exposure, in the form of a virus research facility.
  • The Plague: As noted, in both versions it is released from a laboratory. In the original, the viewer only learns this from the opening title sequence, and it never becomes significant plot-wise.
  • The Vamp: Both versions feature a woman who plies her seductive wiles to attract and keep male protectors.

The 1975 series provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Often happens; almost every episode in season two has one character or another "off gathering salt".
  • The Ace: Jimmy Garland in season one.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Abby at the end of season one.
  • Anyone Can Die: For just three years on the air, the show had quite the cast turnover.
  • Back for the Dead: Greg in season three, essentially. He appears in only two widely-spaced episodes, and in the second contracts smallpox and dies.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The only one who appears in the entire series is introduced dying of smallpox.
  • Book-Ends: The series begins and ends with scenes of a couple eating dinner by candlelight.
  • Burn the Witch!: A second-season episode gets dangerously close to this.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Minor characters often disappeared with little or no explanation.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season Three may be the most literal example of this ever.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jenny, as season one progresses. She begins to come back into prominence in season two, then stars in season three as she fruitlessly chases Greg around the countryside. Demoted in her place is everyone who carried over from season two besides her, Charles and Hubert.
  • Downer Ending: More than one. The episode "Law and Order" in particular.. ouch.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Two episodes in a row, the heroes would have been a lot better off if they had locked the resident kids up somewhere for a few hours..
  • Funny Foreigner: Emma and Daniella are mild examples of this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Charles, sort of. He makes a rather creepy appearance in the first-season episode "Corn Dolly" but repents and in the other two seasons becomes a series regular following Abby and Greg's departure/deaths.
  • Hope Spot: The last episode of season one retroactively turned into this, when production-crew turmoil led to Abby disappearing for good and many of the remaining characters dying in a settlement-destroying fire.
  • Important Haircut: Abby at the end of the first episode.
  • Jerk Ass: Hubert in season two, although he shows some improvement in season three.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Abby and Jenny early on, then, somewhat infamously, Greg and everyone else all though season three.
  • The Mole: Lawson in "Something of Value."
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: Subverted, if only for one episode; by the third season, the characters are mostly riding horses.
  • The Pig Pen: Hubert again.
  • Put on a Bus: Abby in season two; the characters aren't able to confirm it, but the strong implication is that eventually she died.
  • Reality Ensues: A second-season episode deals with the heroes' realization that as (mostly) a bunch of former suburbanites, they really have no clue how to run a functioning farm. Plus an episode where they also realize that just because they survived the The Death, that doesn't make them immune to other diseases.
  • The Scrounger: Tom Price is the most prominent example of several in season one.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: A minor character gets A Day in the Limelight, with an episode devoted to his deciding to resume his pre-Death duties as a vicar. Two episodes later he is casually gunned down by a thug.
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: A notable aversion; about a third of the show's run was shot entirely on location, a first for the BBC and a considerable undertaking for the time. Most of the camera work ended up being carried out by the Outside Broadcast team, who normally covered sports fixtures or concerts.

The 2008 series provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Those killed by Abby's group are never entirely innocent. The old man Al accidentally kills in the beginning was threatening to beat Naj because he was helping himself to sweets in his shop. The man killed by Tom had basically kidnapped one of Abby's group.
  • Badass in Distress: Tom ends up getting sold into slavery and the others must rescue him.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite fighting to survive in a world without running water and electricity, the women have perfectly sleeked hair and wear make up, Tom is always freshly shaved, and everybody has clean, smooth clothes.
  • Brand X: Nearly totally averted-a looter is seen hanged in a Netto and the logos of many a major UK shop are to be seen.
    • In one episode, a kid retrieves cooking oil from a congealed pool of it in the fryer of a MacDonalds, where there's a decomposing corpse. You want to conclude that joke or shall I?
    • There is no reluctance in calling Greg's Land Rover a Land Rover, to the point where Billy raves about how awesome they are (as opposed to Doctor Who, also made by The BBC, where they're inexplicably and incorrectly referred to as jeeps).
  • Cliffhanger: The last episode of both seasons.
  • Cool Car: The Land Rover Defender.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Craig, an adult who operates a street gang of kids in a mostly abandoned city district, often denies the children food and precious "arcade" time if they don't do a satisfactory job of looting throughout the day.
  • Disney Death: Al in the season two opener.
  • Free-Range Children: Naj does this in the second series when waiting for Abby. Justified as due to the post-apocalyptic situation, rules are a little different.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Tom, who is very morally questionable despite being in Abby’s group. Also, Samantha, the last remaining (or is she?) government official. Good? Arguably. Nice? Not always.
  • Hearing Voices: In the first season, Naj brings home a group of people following John, a "preacher" who hears God/Mother Nature ever since the epidemic, which he sees as Gaia's revenge. After someone he cares for has a brush with death, he becomes paranoid, and Anya works out that he's schizophrenic and has been off his medication since everything went down. This is particularly bad as his wife is about to give birth, and he may be dangerous...
  • Ignored Confession: In episode two, Abby asks Tom what he did before the pandemic, and he says "I robbed things. Killed a few people." She thinks he's joking, and says it's not funny. Later she finds out that's the truth.
  • Kangaroo Court: Samantha Willis runs this as a matter of course. In the first case, she convicts and sentences to death a looter without even hearing any evidence, then immediately shoots her. Next, when Tom's the one on trial, again no actual evidence gets heard-Abby, who's acting as his lawyer, is not allowed to question the sole witness against him. She's already arranged it so enough jurors will vote him guilty beforehand for a majority verdict, but when this doesn't work, Willis just dismisses them and convicts Tom anyway. He's then made a slave as punishment.
  • Lighter and Fluffier: As much as a show with its premise can be. Also, in this day and age guys like Talfryn Thomas and John Abineri couldn't land a role in this sort of show if their life depended on it.
  • Made a Slave: Tom, who gets this treatment as punishment for a murder he committed. Greg too, for trying to help him escape.
  • Must Make Amends: In the season 2 opener, Anya and Al are buried alive when a burning hospital collapses on top of them. Turns out the building was set on fire by locals who wanted to get rid of the hundreds of bodies and thus of the contagion risk. When they find out there are casualties, the locals team up to try and save them.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted. Ooooh... So they were more than just "college roommates"...
  • Redundant Rescue: The group goes out to rescue Tom from enslavement, only to realize once they get there that he's already escaped.
  • Rousing Speech: Several of these are given by Abby throughout the series, especially when trying to convince the group that they need to stick together.
    • "Everything we ever knew has been ripped away from us. Our old life is dead. Now we have to build a new one... but we can't build it alone. Now there is only one choice, we either stand together or die."
  • Shoot the Dog: Or rather the looter, as the former government minister has to prevent a large-scale loss of authority in her commune.
  • Shower of Angst: A cold and brief one, taken by Abby after waking up from her virus-attack. It's brief as the water cuts out after about fifteen seconds.
  • Slave Revolt: In the fourth episode of the second season, after they're freed by the main cast.
  • True Companions: Abby's group of survivors.
  • We Can Rule Together: Dexter attempts to use the line on Tom, who's got him at his mercy. It doesn't work.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Two of them-Samantha Willis, willing to do whatever it takes to restore order and Whitaker, willing to kill in the search for a cure.