Tonight marks the US debut of the ITV series, Primeval, at 9/8 Central. Thanks to the fine people at BBC America, we had the chance to view the first two episodes in advance of the premier.
But first, a brief description: Unexplained anomalies are ripping holes in the fabric of time, allowing creatures from the very earliest stages of Earth’s development to roam the modern world. Professor Nick Cutter and his team struggle to keep the looming disaster secret, while dealing with savage dinosaurs and other deadly foes.
And it’s not just dinosaurs that come through, in the second episode we see a veritable butt-load of creepy, giant spiders and a ginormous centipede. Creepy!
The most impressive thing, so far, is the SFX. If you’ve seen Walking With Dinosaurs, then you know how well the prehistoric creatures are presented in Primeval. And, for the most part, the SFX team does a great job of inserting the CGI creatures into their scenes. There are a couple of spots where it doesn’t quite work, but for the most part, the SFX really sell the believability of the monsters. In the first episode, Gorgonopsid looks really good. And the spiders in the second episode are unsettlingly creepy. I hate spiders.
The cast is about what you might expect: Prof. Nick Cutter, Stephen Hunt (who looks like Rob Lowe) the right hand man, Connor Temple the geeky dino expert, Claudia Brown the government agent assigned to the team, Abby Maitland the reptile expert and ‘love interest’ for the younger guys, Helen Cutter is Nick’s missing wife and James Lester is Claudia’s boss. With only two episodes to judge from, we don’t really get much of a chance to learn about the cast. We do learn that Helen seems to be able to come and go from the past as she pleases, but we don’t know why. Everyone else is basically just as presented.
The stories are what’s going to carry this show and this is my potential issue with the show. So far, I’ve seen two episodes and they have been creature centric. I hope it doesn’t become a ‘creature of the week’ show, there’s too many other directions to go in. I suspect your tolerance for this type of show depends on how interested you are in seeing prehistoric creatures wreak havoc on Britain. But there is the whole ‘why are the anomalies appearing’ angle to explore and also a potential conspiracy behind Helen Cutter’s involvement. These really intrigue me so I’m interested to see how they are handled.
Overall, I’m impressed with the show, especially the appearance and behavior of the creatures. If the stories and characters can live up to the creatures, Primeval will become a stellar show. I’ll be tuning in to see just where the show goes. If you have any interest in dinos, you might want to check it out.