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Primeval - Square Eyes Special Preview

Discussing Primeval with a colleague a few weeks ago (we do spend a lot of time talking about telly, it has to be said), he recalled overhearing a child on a train calling the ITV drama: “Dinosaur Chasey Chase”. What a delightful and perfect summing up of Primeval. ITV has Dinosaur Chasey Chase with Primeval, while the BBC has Monster Chasey Chase with Doctor Who.

Brilliant!

I’ll readily admit to taking a while to warm up to Primeval - trawling through some of my musings in the three years that TV Today has been in existence, you’ll see I was a bit sneery at first. How dare ITV try to take on my beloved Doctor Who. It will just be a pale imitation of that much-loved institution, who do these upstarts think they are?

Well, they thought they could make quite an exciting adventure drama series - and they did. True, much of the casting of Primeval *was a direct reaction to *Doctor Who. Proper thesp Douglas Henshall as Nick Cutter mirrors Christopher Eccleston’s appointment as the Doctor. Fallen pop princess Hannah Spearritt is a match for Billie Piper, while Andrew-Lee Potts is as clumsy and stupid as Mickey Smith ever was.

But it worked - eventually. The first series was unsure and seemed determined to trip itself up with some duff stories, but the second knew where it had gone wrong and made some clever tweaks, culminating in a cracking pair of closing episodes.

And now we have season three that sees Primeval cutting a very confident dash. It’s the only show that’s come along post Who that gets anywhere touching the BBC show. That might sound like damning with faint praise - not at all. This first episode is fun and fast, with everything we’ve come to love about Primeval, along with a couple of new characters and a fresh spin on the concept of the time portals that bring big nasties into the present.

As Cutter tortures himself with guilt over the death of Stephen, it’s not long before the ARC team have a new dinosaur sighting to deal with - in the basement of the British Museum. Egyptologist Sarah Page is researching the ancient Sun Cage - and guess where the anomaly opens up. It’s not long before Cutter and his team arrive with their big guns to chasey chase a big crocodile type creature through the streets of London…

This is a great first episode that re-establishes the format and cast for those coming new to the party. There’s an ease and sense of fun about the cast - they’re all comfortable with each other and the spikiness of the earlier seasons has gone. Cutter is still a miserable old goat, but that’s what he’s there for.

With the confidence of two seasons behind it, this could be the best season of Primeval yet if this opener is anything to go by. Big dinosaurs, some great action pieces, good use of Central London as backdrop and a lightness of touch that wasn’t there before add up to a promising start.

As for new regular Laila Rouass as sexy but brainy academic Sarah Page - let’s see how that one works out, eh?

Primeval is on ITV1 from Saturday 28th March

10 Comments

Sapphire and Steel was also a direct reaction to Doctor Who, and there wasn't much wrong with that.

I watch Primeval because it plugs the gap while waiting for Who. I thought Douglas Henshall was more a replica for David Tennant - a quirky Scotsman in the leading role. I suppose they've got me watching, so the reason probably doesn't matter, but it's Doctor Who DVDS and merch I buy to surround myself with the show I love, not anything Primeval related.

I can't hear Primeval and Doctor Who mentioned in the same breath without thinking of Russell T Davies' quote from the DW season 3 press launch: "We're the BBC's answer to Primeval!"

The first series was very much a "I'll watch it if I'm in" one but the second series did take off with an interesting back story as well as dinasour-chasey-chasey. On that front, the mammoth on the motorway was great.
It's not going to steal DW's crown but especially in this Who-lite year I'm looking forward to it's return.
My favourite character is Ben Miller's. And it was good to see him step forward on the action front as well as getting all the best lines

Just another thought - it's surely not co-incidence it's arriving around the time DW's been starting in last few year - if it's up against Robin Hood (which they're also trailering) I can guess who's going to win.

Douglas Henshall is leaving Primeval, just like Tennant is leaving Doctor Who. In a TV Times interview this week. He said:

It was one of those things that happened and I thought, Oh God, I’ve done it I’ve left. The show might miss me for five minutes, but then I think it will move on and be fine
There’s a little bit of me that thinks,this is my show, what do you mean they’re still doing it without me? But it will be good for Primeval in the long term – it will have to reinvent itself.

Henshall is being replaced by Jason Flemyng as Danny Quinn.

The mammoth on the motorway episode was the best episode of series 2 an was written by one Paul Cornell. Who wrote two excellent Doctor Who stories, Father's Day and Family Of Blood/Human Nature.

As for Primeval beating Robin Hood let's just say that when the overnights are published on Media Guardian or Broadcast you might be surprised. ;-)

I'm actually not surprised that P lost out to RH, despite the anger at the end of s2 RH for what they did with the central cast. But... *sigh* let's just say I'm glad it wasn't me breaking the silence on what was happening with Primeval season 3 losing Henshall -- I think so hot on the heels of losing James Murray the Primeval team may be surprised at how their audience shifts... it had the potential to be the best series yet this year but I don't quite see how they can sustain it losing the figure of Cutter. Just not enough time to adjust to a new team dynamic in my opinion (though I am desperately biased in favour of Henshall).

Sorry if this is off topic but I’m thinking of buying this book. Curious if anyone’s has checked out the new book “Hell’s Aquarium” by Steve Alten? I know he’s been a best selling author before, but wanted to see if anyone had read this book first? It’s about the ancient prehistoric shark Megalodon, which makes the current Great White Shark look like a gold fish. Check out the trailer below, pretty awesome:


http://www.variancepublishing.com/meg-hells-aquarium-contest.html

According to my own investigation, millions of people all over the world receive the personal loans from different creditors. So, there's good chances to find a consolidation loan in every country.

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