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February 12, 2007

Primeval - first episode

Primeval is a new series from ITV. The media has hyped it up as ITV's answer to Doctor Who, although it is being shown whilst Doctor Who is not running, and at a later time of 7.45pm.

I was prepared for the worst, the trailers made it look like a Dinosaur based Torchwood. Yeah, exactly.

I'm going to reveal some plot, from now on, but to be honest, I bet you could guess it from the trailers, so I wouldn't worry.

The episode starts with a high action sequence: a woman running away from a prehistoric monster in the car park of a supermarket. Exciting and intriguing.

Then the episode begins to introduce the main characters: the coolest professor in any UK university, a good looking action hero research assistant, the best looking female zookeeper I have ever seen, a geeky student and a good looking female government employee.

There's a theme there, good looking, slightly implausible characters. Add on top of that Ben Miller as a Government minister type person and you could think that it would be very silly.

However, the characters are actually okay. Hannah from S Club 7 is the zookeeper lizard specialist (she was always the cutest in S Club 7) and pulled it off. Meanwhile the professor was good and had a sufficient motivation, he's lost his wife in mysterious circumstances. The RA and student were a bit unrealistic, but not that bad, and the government employees were reasonably witty. I actually liked all the characters.

As for the plot, it's quite straightforward, there's a rip in space-time allowing people and animals to travel between the present and the past. And some nasty dinosaurs have come through. The CGI for the prehistoric monsters was fine, not the best, but bearable. The action was good and entertaining, and generally the plot moved a long at pace.

The ending sets up the series by closing the space-time rip; it's going to be a weekly adventure of find the rip and deal with the creatures coming through. Sort of like Torchwood, except with characters I like and an ongoing plot thread to give them some meaning, and the government actually/actively involved.

All in all a very pleasant surprise, and much more fun than I expected.


I actually liked the fact that this wasn't as good as Torchwood's first couple of episodes. It has time and space to grow, while Torchwood went steadily downhill.

I'm not convinced yet, but I'll give it time.

Hello Mr Big Dumb Object, me again. Firstly, I agree that Primeval WAS fun (finally, we agree on something). However, whilst I would say that the research assistant has possibilities, I disliked every single character across the board whereas I liked all of Torchwood's (well ok except Owen). I will certainly be watching all 6 episodes as it is deserving of a fair chance and not least because my 7 yr old son loves it.

Maybe a lot has to do with expectations. For Torchwood my expectations were high, for Primeval low, hence I was surprised at how much fun it was. Yeah, I can see dinosaurs appealing to kids!

I take your point James. My expectations for Torchwood were high and I was (mostly) not disappointed. My expectations for Primeval, whilst not as high, were still high; hence slight disappointment and misgiving. Strictly kids stuff so far, but then, my two (7 and 5 respectively) liked Torchwood as well (the ones I allowed them to see that is).