Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Primeval Series 1 (2007)

I'm a latecomer to the world of Primeval. As a die-hard Doctor Who fan (since I was ten years old), I was always a little cynical of anything that was put out as a commercial counterpart to the BBC's legendary adventures in time and space. I finally relented recently when it dawned on me that something about inter-dimensional anomalies and rampaging monsters is actually right up my street. Thus series 1 was purchased.

I was more than pleasantly surprised with what played out before me- I was seriously impressed. It's hugely ambitious, well executed, well written and largely well acted, and an absolute blast to watch. The cast is excellent for the most part, with the most instantly likeable characters being moody genius Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and enthusiastic tomboy zoo keeper Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearitt). The others are decent, but there are moments that are either weakly scripted or weakly acted that take you out of it a bit.

Strange (and very pretty) anomalies are popping up around the country, allowing all manner of beasties from other eras to run amok in our time, and plenty of thrills are to be had once they do so. The character interplay is interesting and adds some drama between monster attacks. The points with this first series that feel a little laboured mostly centre around Cutter's wife, presumed dead but instead missing in time. Once that storyline is resolved, it's difficult to suspend disbelief that she's been where she says she's been due to the basic practicalities of it, but that's a small issue.

Once the team is gathered and the point of the series is established, it makes for gripping and entertaining TV. The digitally realized beasts are amazing, the story grows and evolves, and it ends on a whopping cliffhanger. In conclusion it's a heck of an opening series, and I hope that series 2 and 3 (and the imminent series 4) build on it. I'll find out soon. Why didn't I watch this ages ago and join in the fun? Serves me right for being a slave to the Doctor.

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