Monday, 2 February 2015

Primeval Season 1 (2007)

The producers of this show have always resisted comparisons with Doctor Who, pointing out the various ways in which if differs from that program.  These arguments are accurate, but I can't help feel they are a little disingenuous.  Primeval may be an ensemble show, and it may lack an alien wizard in a blue box, but it is clearly intended to scratch the same itch as Doctor Who, and to appeal to the same audience ... well, the same audience with a specific emphasis on boys in their early teens.  At least, I'm pretty sure that's the best explanation for the fact that we see Hannah Spearritt in her underwear in at least half the episodes in this season.

The premise of Primeval is simple enough: there are "anomalies" in time ... disruptions in reality that allow creatures to accidentally (or not so accidentally) stray from one historical epoch to another.  When these anomalies are discovered, the rag tag group who found them end up being tasked with the job of (a) stopping the anomalies from claiming too many lives and (b) keeping them a secret.

Said rag tag group include Professor Nick Cutter, whose wife disappeared eight years earlier (no prizes for guessing she found an anomaly back then - the show makes no secret of it), zookeeper Abby Maitland (played by Spearritt), and a geeky young man named Connor Temple, with whom I expect the average audience member is expected to identify.  There are some other folks on the team - and Cutter's wife has a bigger role in this season that I remember from when I first saw it on TV - but those are more or less the 'core' of the group.

The cast of the show is solid, but the real star is the special effects.  Produced by the same team that did Walking with Dinosaurs, they're still pretty convincing seven years later.  Impressive for a TV program.

This is a far from "serious" show, and not just in the sense that it principally involves chasing dinosaurs around southern England.  It's rambunctious adventure fun for the whole family (Spearritt may be in her underwear quite often, but it is not especially racy underwear), with a healthy dash of humour.  It's probably going to be a bit silly for some stick-in-the-muds, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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