Episode 13. In which we discuss why Survivors the TV series is far better than Survivors the book.

I usually prefer the book.  It doesn’t really matter what book, if there’s a book and then there’s a film, or there’s a book and then there’s a TV series, I’m always far more likely to prefer the book.  However, the first series of the remake of Survivors finished last night on BBC4, and I just read the book last week, and it was pretty pants.  Especially the ending.

I have a real problem with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction when it comes to pointless endings.  A lot of them just don’t have endings.  Nothing happens, and then they carry on into the sunset.  I imagine it’s all about the futility of going on if you’re the last person left alive (or thereabouts) and how the slightest little thing, something that you wouldn’t have thought twice about before the apocalypse, a papercut or something, can turn into gangrene and kill you.  But it’s stupid, and it’s rubbish, and it doesn’t make me think, it makes me regret wasting my time on the bloody book in the first place.

But anyway, get with the breakdown.

1. Tom Price.  In the book he’s not even a character, he’s a non-character, he’s pointless and boring and neither achieves anything nor destroys anything.  He is a complete waste of paper and ink, and is exactly the sort of character that makes me lose sympathy with the ones I’m supposed to be sympathising with, because they’re so stupid as to let him hang around.  In the TV series, I’ll tell you what, he rocks, and he rocks hard.  He was a Pete Postlethwaite in the book (and that’s not an insult to Pete Postlethwaite, he’s just who I would have expected to play Tom Price if the TV series was truer to the book), and he’s Max Beesley through and through in the TV series.  He achieves and destroys, and the fact that they keep him around has no bearing on the characters I’m supposed to be sympathising with, because they keep him around because he wants them to and makes it happen.  To start with, I wasn’t sure, he seemed like a nasty piece of work, and that can be taken too far.  But now, having just seen the last episode, I’m loving it.  The impression I get is this.  Tom Price is a bad man, a real nasty bastard, a proper shit.  He’d do whatever it takes to get himself on top.  And the rest, the ‘main characters’ that remained from the book (albeit with some changes in gender and ethnic origins), he could take them for a ride if he wanted to.  But he has decided that they are his crowd and, although I still don’t know whether or not he actually cares if they live or die (except for his Special Favourite), he’s taking them to the top with him, they’re going along for the ride.  And I kind of think, if society came to an end, and if the situation described in Survivors came about, I’d want Tom Price on my team.  I wouldn’t turn my back on him, but I’d want him on my team nonetheless.

2. The book has a rubbish ending.  Luckily I doubt this’ll get used, because they are bound to want the BBC series to run until we’re all thoroughly sick of it, but you should know that the book’s ending is rubbish.  And, true to form, the literary Tom Price has a pivotal non-role in it.  The end of the TV series (Series One, I’m assuming), is definitely a cliffhanger.  I don’t know enough to know what’s going to happen or even to have suspicions, so I’m not exactly on the end of my seat, but it’s so much less idiotic than the ending of the book.

3. Nadge, Najhid,whatever his name is when you write it down, is a hilarious character, and a bloody funny little boy.  His first conversation with Al, who would turn out to be his best friend, protector and adopted big brother, involved the line “are you a paedophile?”.  And I wanted to high-five the little bugger, because he had only just met Al, and he was just trying to put him in his place, and he did it, good and proper.  Go Nadge.  He wasn’t in the book.  I think the equivalent character was a little girl who never said a word and just ceased to exist at some point.  Nadge was better. TV beats book.  Again.

4. The thing about Abby’s son.  There was a bit at the end of the last episode of the TV series, it obviously isn’t the end of the story and I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it’s a hell of a lot better than him turning out to be a rapey little murderer.  Who knows, maybe he still will.  But even if he does, it’s bound to have a little bit of explanation, which the book didn’t bother with.

5. Tom Price.  Seriously.  You don’t understand how much I love this character on TV, and the level of disdain I held for his literary counterpart.

Diabetic moment of the day

Hypo.  Again.  Not as bad as last night but still, sleepus interruptus.  It’s just gone 2.30am, and when I checked (after a couple of Jelly Babies for the sugar and Jaffa Cakes for the sugar and the nice), my blood sugar was 3 (the safe minimum is 4, and I’m shaky even there).  What did I eat this evening?  Half a pizza.  A proper-sized pizza, not a tiny little individual one.  And how much insulin did I take?  3 units of Novorapid.  To put this into context, I’m supposed to take 4 units if I have 2 pieces of toast for breakfast.

This is fucked up.


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