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BITE-SIZED CHUNKS OF CHEESE
on 16 July 2007
A British science-fiction series to rival Doctor Who? That brief can't have been easy to agree to without a stiff drink.
The fact that Primeval turned out as good as it did proves that at least ITV were willing to try. Bigging it up, via trails and interviews, also must have helped because viewers tuned in and ensured overall ratings were good enough to justify a second series. Fair enough, but I think it points equally to them being starved of decent Saturday Night Entertainment on commercial tv, and a desperation to grab onto something, anything, that isn't talent or reality based. Easier to chop the moon up into bite-sized chunks of cheese...which sort of sums up Primeval for me.
YOU'RE BEING A BIT NEGATIVE HERE, SO TELL US WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT.
The idea of 'holes in time' letting prehistoric creatures through to wreak havoc in the present day...yeah, that's an ok concept; the ability for travel back and forth through time via these same anomolies...I can buy into that; the previously-thought-to-be-dead wife of Professor Nick Cutter - maverick Palaeontologist assigned (with team) to contain the problem - bobbing around time manipulating these 'anomolies' for her own not so benevolent purposes...hell, sure hope this ain't no womanly retribution fer bein' scorned. A scorned Mrs Cutter would be a bad revelation for such potentially intriguing behaviour.
OKAY. NOW WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT IT?
The way everyone poses and preens, especially the men. Come on, lads, grow a bit of stubble; the complete lack of a non-WASP character. How strange in these enlightened times and so very un-PC; the Government and Military portrayed respectively as Home Office prat and square-jawed action-man doll (yes, there's a 'crossover' character - a bridge between authority and heroics - but her future belongs as a drippy emotional dynamic, i.e. Cutter's new gal). Disappointing. And yet...
...Primeval still works, despite its obvious shortcomings. Yes, the CGI is mostly very good and the episodes move along at a fast lick. And the softly spoken Douglas Henshall is an excellent, if untypical, lead. But the main thing to understand here is how important series two will be to any long-term future survival - surely the whole point of a rival to you-know-Who. One always makes allowances for 'settling in' but now it's crunch time and whatever promise we've seen (and there has been some) must be realised. It's important too that ITV has at least some kind of alternative to 'Idol Britain's Got Strictly No X Talent' so, for that reason alone, I'm firmly behind Primeval. Maybe a future review won't be quite as mixed as this, I hope so. In the meantime, let's encourage Cutter and his Crew to try and give The Doctor's ass a good kicking. That way, at least everyone stays on their toes.