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Series / Curfew

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What could possibly go wrong?
Take a look around you right now. There's one thing that everyone who's come out here tonight has in common: defiance. But it's more than that. You didn't just opt out...of the creatures, and the curfew, and the rules and restrictions that come with it. No, you went further than that. You opted in. Now, nothing about the race is easy, but it is going to be worth it. 'Cause at the end of tonight, one team is going to come with me to a place where you can sit out at night and gaze up at the stars. A place without creatures. A place with hope. Good luck, people. Race yourselves free.
Max Larssen, commencement speech

Curfew is a Sky One television series. It stars Adam Brody, Billy Zane and Sean Bean. In the U.S., the series is shown officially through Charter Communications Spectrum. In the U.K. it premiered on Sky One on 22 February, 2019.

Five years before the series takes place, a virus breaks out in England. The virus transforms its victims into violently feral creatures called "mooks", but the mooks also develop a sensitivity to light and are unable to go out in the daytime. To protect its citizens, the British government institutes the titular curfew from dusk 'til dawn. By the time the series takes place, the government has become terribly oppressive. Unfortunately, the people are unable to leave.

And that's where Max Larssen comes in. He's organized a race from London to Scotland with the prize being transport to his private island where the curfew and mooks don't exist. The racers must deal with not only the mooks and government agents, but each other as well.

Participants in the race include Kaye Newman (Phoebe Fox), a paramedic whose former boyfriend is the only known person to be infected with the virus and not become a mook; the Donahue family, whose son discovered how the government is keeping people in check; "The General", who's trying to get himself and his pregnant girlfriend out of the country; Team Awesome, who are basically in the race for fun; and Lou and Hanmei, a mother and daughter seeking to escape like everyone else.

Curfew offers examples of a number of tropes, including:

  • Anyone Can Die: The racers are in constant danger from the infected, the trigger-happy cops and each other. Out of the twenty five initial racing teams only a handful make it to the finish line alive.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Simon Donahue looked into the race and determined the right moves to get his family to the finish line. Unfortunately, he doesn't live to see its fruition.
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • Simon Donahue is the first named character to die in the series, eviscerated by a mook.
    • Meg Donahue dies immediately after being shot in the gas station shootout. Zane and Lou hold on a little longer.
  • Blatant Lies: At the finish, the Donahue family claims that Hanmei is actually Meg when they talk to Max. He seems to accept this even though he knows otherwise. They also claim that Faith's baby is Simon. Max accepts this as well, even though he knows otherwise. note 
  • Blind Driving: Just before driving through the smoke bomb from Faith's trap, El Capitano puts on a sleeping mask, saying "I drive better this way." Somehow, he manages to avoid hitting the other cars Faith took out and Joker Jones congratulates him on following his instincts.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: "The General" (Sean Bean) is killed in the third episode.
  • Cool Car: Pick your poison. The race includes a BMW i8, Jaguar XJ-S, Ferrari 360 Modena, Porsche 911, Lotus Elise, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, and a Myers Manx. Team Awesome's VW Type 2 Breadloaf and the Donahues' Volvo estate achieve coolness during the race. We also have the McLaren Michael was apparently going to enter in the race.
  • Crapsack World: If the oppressive government doesn't get you, you still have to contend with the mooks. We have yet to see if this extends beyond England.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Simon prepared a method for clearing security from a bridge over the River Thames involving a bazooka and a sonic transmitter which is designed to attract mooks. Unfortunately, Roman wastes the shot due to firing in the wrong direction.
    • Lou and Hanmei enter the race with a tow truck towing a pimped out Volkswagen Golf. It seems like one of the more eccentric entries until they crash into a bog. Then it turns out the Golf is their backup car.
  • Crazy Sane: Joker Jones leads Team Awesome and acts as crazy as they are but a lot of it is just to vent his frustration about the curfew, he is still able to do his psychiatrist job and gets serious near the end while Cheese and El Capitano still guffaw.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: After Team Awesome help Faith with her flat tire, she leaves them and later discovers Cheese in the backseat. Downplayed in that Cheese only went along with her to be a birthing coach.
  • Dead Star Walking: Michael Biehn.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Technically not cheating since it's not against the rules (whatever rules there may be). Faith is in the lead when she stops to lay a trap for the racers after her with a smoke bomb and an assault rifle. She manages to take out three cars note  before she starts having contractions. This allows the other teams to pass her.
  • Down to the Last Play: The final dash has the Donahue family racing with Team Awesome right up to the final stretch. The Donohues finally manage to pass them on the last turn and take victory.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • A flashback reveals that Faith used to be The General's nanny. While she was taking care of the children, one was bitten by a mook and Faith locked him in with the others. The child turned into a mook himself and slaughtered his siblings, resulting in him getting killed by the police. When The General's wife found out, she took a gun and shot herself in the head.
    • After he's bitten by Dr. Newman, Grieves discovers he's infected and starting to turn into a mook. So, he jumps to his death, landing on one of the curfew timers in the process.
  • Enemy Mine: It quickly becomes apparent that a key element of the race is knowing when to strategically team up with the other racers and when to go at it alone.
  • Epic Race: The race the series focuses on starts in London, finishes in Scotland, and lasts all night (and seven of the eight episodes of the first season).
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Roadkill Jim's Viper blows up real good when he crashes.
  • Everyone Can See It: Kaye and Michael. People keep mistaking him for her boyfriend, rather than Ruby's, which is one of the things that leads Ruby to switch teams. Not helped by the fact that Kaye and Michael were together before Ruby lied and told him Kaye had abandoned him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Joker Jones laugh at a lot of things but Max participating in his own race for what Jones perceive as cheap thrills pisses him off. Later when Max tries to explain his motivations and future plans Jones punches him.
  • Fun Personified: Team Awesome. They listen to "feel good" music while they drive. They have a member who dresses in a chicken suit. They engage in crazy stunts and make occasional use of psychedelic drugs. Oh yeah, and one of them is named Cheese.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The General has a very nasty temper that he tries to keep in check because he promised Faith that he will do nothing to endanger their baby. He is particularly triggered by people calling him "a piece of shit". No one actually says this to him but he starts to misinterpret what people say to make it seems like they called him shit to his face. It is clear that he is simply looking for an excuse to release his pent up rage in a massive display of violence. A flashback shows him massacring a bank-full of hostages during a robbery because he deemed one of the hostages to be rude to him. The guy only said "Bless you" when he sneezed.
  • He Knows Too Much: Roman Donahue finds out some unsettling things about the "mook" virus that's already caused something terrible to happen to his friend Linus. This is why his father enters them in the race: to get them to safety.
  • How We Got Here: Variation. Episode seven ends with Kaye and Michael coming upon Zane stumbling down the road dying from a gunshot wound. They later come upon the cars ahead of them at a gas station where they're quickly ushered inside by the attendant. Inside, they find Meg Donahue dead of another gunshot wound, Faith in labor, the other racers looking scared, and Max among them. Episode eight opens with the racers, including Max, arriving at the gas station where Cheese tries to pour soda into the Donahues' gas tank. He's caught and a Mexican Standoff occurs. El Capitano drinks from the soda bottle and a shootout occurs when he burps. Meg and Zane are hit as is Lou. The gunshots attract the mooks, so Lou and Hanmei leave while the gas station attendant herds everyone else inside.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: During the final dash, this is why seriously wounded Lou asks Hanmei to leave her behind after their Golf gets stuck.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Just after the race starts, The General tries ramming the ambulance from the side over a comment made by Michael at the start. In his last attempt, The General has already passed the ambulance and Kaye ends up performing an accidental PIT maneuver.
    • Ruby is bitten by a mook, forcing her sister Kaye to Mercy Kill her. A flashback reveals that Kaye had a chance to prevent the outbreak, but decided not to shoot the one mook who escaped from the testing facility.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: All vehicles in the race have a number painted on them and Team Awesome's van bears "05". They've painted their name over the number so that the "5" becomes the "S" in "Awesome".
  • Maybe Ever After: When the race ends, it's unclear whether Kaye and Michael will get together again. It's implied that he's keen on the idea, as he misunderstands when she asks if he 'thinks it'll work out' and enthusiastically agrees (she's actually talking about engineering a vaccine). How she feels is less clear, especially since he had previously left her for her sister, who she mercy killed a few hours before.
  • Nitro Boost:
    • Roadkill Jim's Viper has this installed and he uses it to take the lead almost immediately.
    • During the final dash, it turns out that Simon installed this in the Volvo as well and it puts the Donahue family back in contention.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When Lou and Ruby go to the Browns' farm to get a new fuel line for the Volvo, Mr. Brown refuses to help while one of his daughters secretly gives them assistance. During this, she gets attacked by a mook and the others get into the house to attack her sister. We don't see the aftermath.
  • Outside Ride: Team Awesome picks up Jenny after she's injured by a mook and place her on the roof of their van to change without attacking them. They take her back inside when they realize she's not infected.
  • Pregnant Badass: Faith is nine months pregnant and nothing will stop her from getting her baby to sanctuary. She proves herself deadlier and more ruthless than the General. She does not hesitate to kill the General when she deems him to be a threat to her and the baby.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Kaye's and Ruby's mother was a scientist working on the mook virus. After the test subjects start to go feral, she injects herself with the virus to further research it. She claims that the virus spreads too rapidly to get a new test subject.
  • Sacrificial Lamb:
    • Simon Donahue in the first episode. He goes out after dark to stop his daughter from running off with her boyfriend and gets killed by a mook.
    • Roadkill Jim in the second episode. Just after he takes the lead in the race, he's shot by Kovacks and crashes.
  • Sequel Hook: The finishers who didn't win are given a communicator to alert them to a future race. Also, Kaye and Michael are given Roman's information on the virus to create a cure.
  • Shout-Out: When Jenny asks Roman how he plans to launch the sonic transmitter at the roadblock, Roman pulls out a bazooka and says "Say hello to my little friend."
  • Staking the Loved One: After Ruby is bitten by a mook, it's Kaye who performs the Mercy Kill.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Kaye fails to save the mother shot by Kovacks in episode one, she keeps the daughter's bloodstained stuffed animal. She later gives it to Faith's baby.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • In episode seven, it's revealed that Kaye killed several potential patient zeroes to keep the virus from escaping their lab. However, one of them had already escaped and Kaye points a gun at him. She doesn't fire and he runs off to cause everything.
    • During the Mexican Standoff at the gas station, El Capitano drinks a bit of soda. He then burps, triggering the shootout, resulting in the deaths of Meg, Zane, the biker, and possibly Lou, and drawing all mooks in the area to the station.
  • Vanity License Plate: Roadkill Jim has one on his Viper that reads "ROADKILL". It's thrown clear after he crashes.
  • The Virus: There's one going around that transforms its victims into feral monsters who are sensitive to sunlight. Fortunately, it can only be transmitted through a bite...Jenny.
  • Visual Pun: When Team Awesome decides they do want to win the race, they start stripping the interior of anything non-essential to save weight. When they pass Lou and Hanmei, a kitchen sink is jettisoned from their van. Yes, they tossed everything including the kitchen sink.
  • Wacky Racing: The race takes place in a dystopian England with both an opressive government and monsters running loose at night, violence against the army and other racers is okay, and the list of vehicles seems more in line with Twisted Metal than Gran Turismo. One of Lou's associates even refers to the event as the Wacky Races.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Roadkill Jim appears just long enough to talk with Roman Donahue about their dogs and argue with him, and take first in the race. Then he gets shot by Kovacks and crashes.
  • Weaponized Car:
    • Just about every car in the race is equipped with armor or window bars.
    • The armor on the ambulance? It can be electrified, which comes in handy when the mooks attack them in the tunnel.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of episode two, the Donahues give Kaye the information she needs to get out of the city. How hard can this be? The camera pulls back to reveal the massive wall surrounding London.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A number of vehicles in the race are unaccounted for at the finish, specifically the dune buggy, Ford Granada, and chopper-style bike. Every other vehicle is either seen at the finish, is confirmed to have been taken out, or was last seen before the army destroys several racers at the bridge (implying they were casualties).
  • X Meets Y: The show has been described as The Purge meets The Fast and the Furious. (However, given the fact that the government took control due to a viral outbreak and the race runs the length of the country, a more apt description would be Land of the Dead meets The Cannonball Run.)
  • Zombie Infectee: Jenny Donahue tells her family to leave her behind after she gets scratched by a mook. After she's picked up by Team Awesome, Joker Jones tells her that the virus is only transmitted through bites and if she'd been infected, she'd have turned by then.