Flixtream this! The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

Flixtream this! The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

You can get streaming Netflix in a lot of different ways: directly on a computer, through a Roku device, through a gaming system (Wii, XBOX 360, PS3), even through some TVs.  You can watch all the streaming stuff you want (and get 1 DVD at a time) for $8.99 a month.  I’m going to start recommending some things for you to watch…I call it Flixtreaming (for “NetFlix Streaming”).

The Day of the Triffids (1981 miniseries)

If you’ve never seen or read The Day of the Triffids, you’d probably get a severe misunderstanding of it from any short description.

For example, it’s referenced in Rocky Horror…”And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid which spits poison and kills.”

Look at posters, and you’ll see these giant, actually pretty silly looking monster plants.

Yes, they are in the story, and yes, they are important to it.

However, in the 1981 British miniseries (six episodes) which is far more faithful to the book than the movie reference in Rocky Horror, they aren’t the most interesting part.

It’s really about people.

I’m going to spoil something that happens very early in the first episode, and which you would probably read in a TV guide type listing:


People  observe a celestial light show, which may be a kind of meteor shower…and it causes them to go blind.

That’s the basic set-up.  People who didn’t see it, for whatever reason, still have their sight.

The world turns harsh very quickly, but not unrealistically.  Sighted people have an advantage, certainly, but there are many, many more blind people…and they want to force those sighted people to do things.

What type of people wouldn’t go out to look at something beautiful in the sky?  What would their personalities be like?

The main character didn’t have a choice…he was in hospital, recovering from an operation with his eyes bandaged.

It’s how he makes his way in this Scared New World that we follow: the people he meets, the people he escapes, the person he befriends.

It’s a TV series, but I’ll warn you that it is harsh…people behave badly, as you might expect in a desperate situation.  The newly-blind stumble about, certainly reminiscent of zombies…but those with sight can be worse.

The music is jarring: intentionally so.  The special effects for the Triffids…well, what can you do?  They are physical effects (actual plant puppets), and just can’t be that convincing.

Is it dated?  Certainly some. 

I liked the tone, though…there would be a temptation to make it too melodramatic, or too philosophical.  Instead, it seemed largely…reasonable.

Many of you may be familiar with Blindness, either the novel by the recently deceased José Saramago, or the movie with Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.  Is that The Day of the Triffids without the Triffids?  Well, there are certainly some similarities…

If it being 1980s doesn’t turn you off, and you can get past the giant killer plant thing, I’d say, give it a try.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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