On Monday 26th October, Dr. Christine Cornea (UEA) will be presenting a research seminar on ‘apocalyptic television’ entitled Gender, Genre and National Anxiety in Survivors (1975-1977).
Prompted by the BBC’s ‘re-imagined’ 2008 production of the 1970s science fiction series ‘Survivors’, this paper returns to the original series to focus upon the representation of various female authority figures. Prefiguring similar series, like ‘The Day of the Triffids’ (1981), ‘The Last Train’ (1999) and more recent US series like ‘Lost’ (2004 – ) and ‘Jericho’ (2006-8), the original ‘Survivors’ (1975-77) presented the struggles of a small band of characters after a strange virus had wiped out most the world’s human population. In the first season, a female leader emerged in the person of Abby (previously a middle-class housewife and mother). Alongside this unusual characterisation, the series was also marked by an overt mix of science fiction and soap opera elements. In these dramatic circumstances, the paper will argue that the division between public and private, as traditionally demarcating television drama series, was eroded in the original ‘Survivors’ and will look at how the figuring of the female leader came to be aligned with this ‘apocalyptic’ breakdown.
Christine Cornea is a lecturer with the School of Film and Television at the University of East Anglia. Christine has published fairly extensively on science fiction in film and television, including her book Science Fiction Cinema: Between Fantasy and Reality (co-published by Edinburgh University Press and Rutgers University Press, 2007). She has also published on screen performance and theory, including her most recent, edited collection Genre and Performance: Film and Television (Manchester University Press, forthcoming Winter 2009). At present, Christine is working on a further monograph project, currently entitled: Post-Apocalypse on the Small Screen (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming).
For further information on the original (and remake) of Survivors click the image to navigate to the MAC387 Science Fiction and Fantasy TV timeline.