Monday, 28 December 2009

Feed me, Seymour! [First impressions: Day of the Triffids]

I've just seen the first half of the BBC's new Day of the Triffids drama starring Dougray Scott, Joely Richardson and Eddie Izzard. The tone is serious - there's very little Doctor Who-style playfulness although I loved the TRIFFOIL petrol stations.

I am struck by how assured and confident a production this is. The first of the two feature length episodes is easily of feature quality - in particular the portrayal of post-apocalyptic London and some plot elements bring to mind 28 Days Later and Children of Men, and this episode could certainly stand alongside both films.

Eddie Izzard stars as Torrence, who enters the plot by escaping from a diving plane - his method of survival has a lot of flair and defines Torrence as a character even though they may possibly have nuked the 'fridge to some extent.

Everything's cool: from the colourful and dynamic scene lighting, to an audacious screenplay, to the acting, to the edit particularly in terms of pacing - those 90 minutes flew by. Large scale set pieces - aeroplanes crashing, anarchy on the streets or in the wards, massed Triffid attacks - are accomplished smoothly. It's a marker for just how far the BBC has come in recent years, and is a far cry from the "good old days" when I would watch old episodes of Doctor Who and love them despite the dodgy production values. Looking forward to the concluding episode tomorrow.

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