Well it’s time to wrap up Nature Gone Wild! week. The Day of the Triffids is currently available on instant Netflix.
WATCH: The Day of the Triffids (1981) – NR – Not rated.
“A brilliant meteor shower blinds most of the population, making them vulnerable to attack by triffids: ambulatory, carnivorous plants accidentally freed from a lab. Still able to see, Bill Masen (John Duttine) and Jo Payton (Emma Relph) team up to fight the menace. As they discover more sighted survivors, they find that civilization is crumbling around them from the triffid attack. This chilling BBC miniseries is based on John Wyndham’s book.”
“…And if you want to quibble, communicates, that means somewhere inside it is intelligence.”
John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids was first adapted as an entertaining, if some what disjointed, movie in 1962. While it bore little resemblance to the source novel, it was a fun monster movie.
In the 1962 film they goofed filming the main story and made it too short. Normally this would necessitate some reshoots. Instead they went back and shot a whole, mostly unrelated, subplot with new characters.
Pardon the digression. The BBC decided to do an adaptation in 1981. Please note that while this is a BBC science fiction show, it is not silly like Doctor Who. Even if the premise is a bit absurd, the science fiction is quite serious.
As with most good science fiction, this show is only superficially about its main plot (in this case the Triffids). The core of the show is about the breakdown of society and societal norms in the face of a crisis.
If you have seen Danny Boyle’s excellent 28 Days Later then you might be surprised at how many of his ideas appear to have come from this miniseries (or perhaps from the source novel).
The acting is just fine. It is a typical BBC ensemble piece – no one here is showy or especially noteworthy but neither is anyone off their mark.
Designer Douglas Burd came up with a nicely haunting and somewhat trippy title sequence. He died during production when his homemade plane crashed.
Unfortunately with the story broken up into less than 30 minutes chunks, repeatedly sitting though the credits becomes quite annoying. It would have been nice to have edited mid-story credits and recaps out to bring in a nice two hour run-time (as was done with Felicia Day’s series, the Guild).
That aside I found this to be an excellent meditation on politics and society. I recommend this miniseries.
Last year the BBC again remade this as a miniseries. The new version stars Eddie Izzard, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Dougray Scott. Hopefully that will be available stateside sometime this year.
People Watch: British TV fans will notice Maurice Colbourne (Jack Coker) as Tom Howard from the series Howard’s Way.