, 24 Feb 2013
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Set in a beautiful location, Crusoe is the adaptation of the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe for the small screen. Following the tale of a young man desperate to get home to his family after being shipwrecked and subsequently marooned on a small island, this heart-warming tale has elements for everyone. Philip Winchester stars as Crusoe, the man who transformed the wreckage of his ship into luxurious accommodation on the very island that he finds himself stranded on. There is a device to do everything that anyone might think of, even compositing the waste from living there. Traps litter the place in order to hunt food, and everything that he needs, he has to provide for himself. But Crusoe is not alone. Kept sane by his companion known only as Friday (Tongayi Chirisa) due to Crusoes inability to pronounce his real name the pair come to discover a type of brotherhood that Crusoe had never experienced whilst struggling to make a name for himself in London. Yet despite the paradise the island offers, the series follow the pair as they have to go against marauders and pirates, old acquaintances and flesh eating cannibals. But why should they have to worry too much they have Fridays skill and Crusoes ingenuity to keep them alive. For such a small island, it is amazing the things they stumble across for the first time as the series progresses, despite the fact that they have been there for six years already. Although the dialogue is light-hearted and fun, making the audience laugh out loud on more than one occasion, there is a hint of seriousness underlying the whole show though. Treachery is afoot as Crusoe battles to get back to his wife, not knowing that misfortune has befallen her through trusting who they thought was a family friend. The series cleverly works the deceit in making it apparent that Crusoe still trusts his old friend, but showing enough for the viewer to be aware that not all is as it seems. Yet it also addresses an issue that was not only prominent at the time, but is a message to todays society as well racism. Many assume that Friday is Crusoes slave, or servant at best. But both men are quick to defend themselves, revealing just how deep their friendship goes and how there is nothing they wouldnt do for one another, even if it means giving up the hope of escape. The serious note stops it from becoming too silly, but the banter stops it becoming too heavy the balance is found neatly between the two and therefore makes it thoroughly enjoyable viewing. So some things may seem a bit farfetched, but that doesnt detract from the viewing. With Winchester and Sean Bean cast as a believable father/son duo and Sam Neill as the mysterious Jeremiah Blackthorn, the series certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat and playing the next episode before you can stop yourself. The only drawback? They left the end open for series two to come in and finish off the unanswered questions. But then series 2 was axed, meaning it ends almost precisely where it started. Still, definitely a recommendation from here.
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