Endurance is made up of a dozen mostly standalone stories linked by ex-army tech entrepreneur Colonel Orion recruiting a number of people with varied skillsets for the mysterious Endurance Project, bringing in an international collection of diverse individuals such as an Irish rowing champion, a Scottish submarine commander, a French doctor, an American daredevil and an Australian engineer. Each episode focuses on one character and relates the personal tragedy they’ve faced, the experience shaping the person they have become.
It’s not until halfway through the series that it’s explicitly stated what Endurance actually is, and while you may well correctly guess ahead of time, the revelation is unveiled with such awed reverence that you’ll be caught up in the moment even if you saw it coming. From there, the remainder of the series is told through a framing device of Orion talking to a reporter and relating the rest of the stories, a technique which ultimately has significance on the story’s conclusion. In the final episode, everything culminates in a heart-pounding climax in which every featured protagonist plays a part, and the success or failure of Endurance’s mission hangs on frantic choices made one moment to the next.
Although part of an overarching narrative, the backbone of the series is the individual stories of those joining Endurance. Each of them are, in their own way, lost and broken people whose tribulations have pushed them beyond the limit of what a person can endure, but have nevertheless found an inner strength that gave them the resolve to keep going regardless of life’s bleak emptiness stretching before them, this spark of determination being what makes them ideal candidates to join the Project.
Opposing the objective of Endurance is the ruthless and sprawling religious cult the Children of God. An opposition both in mission statement and ultimate goal, their campaign of violence and spite in the face of perceived injustices acts as a dark reflection of Endurance’s encouragement of second chances and the desire to overcome personal hardships.
True to its title, Endurance is about the best of humanity. Not specifically the technical achievements of its assorted protagonists (although they are nevertheless significant), but as a species our stubborn and indomitable will to carry on in the face of adversity, and that however insurmountable an obstacle or overwhelming a danger, there is always hope.
ENDURANCE / DIRECTOR: BRENDAN SHEPPARD / WRITER: BRENDAN SHEPPARD, DAVID J KEOGH, AARON NELSON, M JUSTIN PARSONS, PHIL CLEMENTS / STARRING: JULIAN GLOVER, ISLA BLAIR, JULIE CHEUNG-INHIN, JONATHAN PARSONAGE, CHRIS KEYNA, AILIS DUFF, WINSON TING / PUBLISHER: WORD OF MOUTH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW