Nick Cutter -
Claudia Brown -
Connor Temple -
Andrew Lee Potts
Abby Maitland -
Stephen Hart -
Helen Cutter -
James Lester -
OTHER PRIMEVAL SEASONS
PRIMEVAL CREATOR INTERVIEW
OTHER TIME TRAVEL SHOWS
Life on Mars
Ashes to Ashes
Episode 1 - First transmitted 10th February 2007
Something strange is happening in the Forest of Dean. There are large animals on the loose, not to mention smaller, cuter flying ones. Professor Nick Cutter and his team go into action and discover a rip in time right back to the age of dinosaurs. One of those that has come through is a very nasty predator.
The first episode of ITV1's new dinosaur drama is aimed directly at the audience that has made DOCTOR WHO such a big hit, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. This opening episode doesn't have the sophistication of the good Doctor's revival, but there is plenty going for it. The plot moves along at a nice clip, giving away the whole of the setup very early on, dancing around with some dinosaurs and then setting up some mysteries to be unravelled in later episodes.
Sadly, for a show about dinosaurs, the big one here was a bit of a let down. Perhaps it was just the choice of Gorgonopsid, but it just didn't have the scare factor of a T-Rex or Velociraptor. The little cute flying dinosaur, destined to become a regular and probably cuddly toy, was very reminiscent of the pet monster from SURFACE. Still, kids love dinosaurs and they are going to eat up the appearances of the creatures.
The rest of the drama came from the personal interaction of the characters. Douglas Henshall is a good choice for the lead character, anchoring the show firmly whilst the younger characters revolve around him. Lucy Brown as Claudia Brown makes for a matching foil. The best thing about the characters is that we weren't introduced to them, each with their own little backstory scene, but met them as the story went along and the cast was finally assembled. This is how it should be.
On the whole, this was a passable opening episode with disappointing dinosaurs. The quick preview of next week's show promises giant bugs and looks terrific.Top
Episode 2 - First transmitted 17th February 2007
There's something nasty in the Underground, something that scuttles and something that is deadly. Cutter and his team are called in and find that the hordes of giant spiders aren't the problem. The real danger comes from a giant centipede, a centipeded they can't kill now that it's bitten Steven. His only hope of survival lies in getting a dose of the creature's pure venom.
The set up last week promised good things that this week's show delivers. The giant spiders and centipede aren't completely convincing (the CGI needed more time, or money, for that), but they are giant spiders and centipedes, so they have an in-built creep factor. The team spend the whole show trying to sort out the immediate problem, so there is little more digging into the bigger mystery, but another appearance by Cutter's missing wife keeps that strand going.
We're getting to know the team more and they're all pretty likeable types. Both Connor and Stephen make stupid mistakes and pay for them, whilst government operative Claudia is proving to be a capable professional rather than just an administrative obstacle.
Next week, we're promised underwater dinosaurs and that looks pretty cool. The question still remains as to how long the series can remain fresh with just a new kind of monster every week. Anyway, for now at least, the past's looking pretty rosy.Top
Episode 3 - First transmitted 24th February 2007
A lifeguard gets eaten in a swimming pool and then bits of him show up in a reservoir. A plumber is attacked by a pelican-thing in a water-filled basement. Cutter is theorising a 'fault line' along which the anomalies can occur, but when a body turns up with his wife's handkerchief tied to it, it's time for him to go through to the past and find out what she knows.
After the introductory dinosaurs and giant bugs, we now get underwater monsters. Fortunately, these are the best realised dinosaurs to date and the episode gets to play with our natural fear of what lies beneath in a very 'JAWS' fashion. The action sequences are pacier and more exciting, the danger made all the more real by someone being actually killed early on.
The human drama is also improving as we get to know the characters and their relationships mature. The sequence in which Cutter finally confronts his wife is excellent, but the twisted relationship between Connor, Abbie and Stephen continues to rumble on and the attraction between Cutter and Claudia is about to get more complicated with Helen's return.
PRIMEVAL is improving with every week that passes.Top
Episode 4 - First transmitted 3rd March 2007
Connor moves in with Abby on a purely room-sharing basis, but his friends are suspicious and follow him to the site of an anomaly. A number of dodos come through the anomaly and one escapes into the care of the two conspiracy theorists. When the team find a vicious parasite in one of the dodos, Connor's friends are placed into mortal danger.
Ok, dodos are real enough (or were), but this is the first time that the creatures used in PRIMEVAL come across as unreal. A parasite eating out soemone's insides we can take, but one that lodges in the brain and changes behaviour patterns is a bit too unbelievable (not to mention has been used before so many times.
That aside, the episode is still lots of fun, the characters are coming more to life every week and the mysteries remain out there, unsolved. The initial false alarm also provides plenty of entertainment value. The way that Abby needs to spend so much time in her underwear is a bit exploitative though.Top
Episode 5 - First transmitted 10th March 2007
A new anomaly brings a flying killer to the modern day, a pteradon. When this gets taken down, it proves to be innocent of the killing of a golfer, which leaves the question of who, or what, is really responsible.
PRIMEVAL gets airborne in more ways than one as this episode is a full-on action adventure with flashes of character development thrown in for good measure. The pteradon on display is a magnificent creature beautifully rendered by the special effects team and worthy of the time spent on it, but the pace and tension comes when the smaller, but more numerous, killers get in on the act. There's running and fighting and some ingenious uses of kitchen utensils.
This is the penultimate episode of what is destined to be the first series rather than the only series and it is proving to be more entertaining and successful than we might have hoped for.Top
Episode 6 - First transmitted 17th March 2007
Helen Cutter calmly re-enters everyone's lives and announces that there is a new creature on the loose, a creature that has come to the past from the far future, a creature that is a highly advanced killing machine. The team kick into action, but they learn to their cost the consequences of messing about with the past.
It's the last episode of the first series (there is surely going to be a second) and the show goes out with a bang. Many of the loose ends get tied up and some interesting matters are explained (who were the original intruders into the past, what does Helen Cutter really want, what is the state of everyone's relationship with everyone else?), but the real test of a last episode is the strength of its cliffhangers and PRIMEVAL comes up with a prize one in the shape of Claudia suddenly being taken out of existence, perhaps because of what the team have done or perhaps because of what Helen Cutter is going to do.
PRIMEVAL has turned out to be a very successful show, reaching each part of its target audience with equal skill, making it fine family viewing. The SCI FI FREAK SITE looks forward to its speedy return.Top
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