29 December 2009

Diabolical Day of The Triffids

When I first immersed myself in adult fiction almost forty years ago most of the books that I read were sci-fi classics by H G Wells, Jules Verne and John Wyndham and I have enjoyed many of these stories retold in other media over the years.

For example, I recently watched the 1995 American film version of John Wyndam's Village of the Dammed (based on The Midwich Cuckoos) and was surprised by how good it was.

And I also loved the take on Jules Verne's From The Earth to The Moon by Warren Ellis in a recent issue of Planetary.

So it was with some joy that I was looking forward to the two part adaptation of Wyndham's Day of The Triffids on BBC 1.

How wrong I was.

The plot, such as it was, was so full of gaping holes and clich├ęs that it actually became funny. Things like finding two small children survivors who immediately start calling the two leads "Mum and Dad", the way that everybody had got hold of sub-machine guns, the amount of time people spent walking through dark woods when they were trying to keep away from the Triffids, and the apparent disappearance of all food and water after the disaster. I could go on.

But for me the real mistake with this adaptation was the minor played by the Triffids. Far from being the things that we were all meant to be scared of they played a mere supporting role to the unexplained and unconvincing evil of the Eddie Izzard character (not from the original book).

Ironically Eddie Izzard's acting was the one redeeming feature of an unbelievably bad programme that simply failed to do any of the things that it promised and unfairly used the worth legacy of John Wyndham to try and justify its existence. If it had (reasonably) not been called The Day of The Triffids then nobody would have watched it and we would all be happier for this.

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