The first series of this cheery cross between Doctor Who and Jurassic Park found
a big and loyal audience, who will no doubt be delighted to discover that nothing
much has changed upon its return.
There are still those pesky "anomalies" (or ruptures in time) that allow dinosaurs
to trot through to the present day to cause havoc, and Professor Nick Cutter
(Douglas Henshall) and his photogenic team of cute researchers are still on the
The first episode pretty much entirely takes place in a shopping centre, as the
team hurtle up and down escalators seeking a raptor that's popped into the present
and is stalking the shiny corridors.
Primeval is good, old-fashioned Saturday-evening family fun, packed with breathless
chases, silly "comedy" moments and cosily scary bits.
2/7 - Saturday 19 January 2008
I enjoy Primeval, but I hope it's actually going somewhere. I like watching
photogenic people being chased by dinosaurs as much as anyone, but so far that's
all that's happened.
Last week Professor Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and his team were pursuing dinos
around a shopping centre; tonight they chase giant earthworms around an office block.
The critters have, of course, emerged through one of those naughty "anomalies" to
cause havoc, though they aren't very scary because they look a bit ridiculous.
(Remember, they're giant earthworms. Of course they're going to look silly.)
Cutter has other things on his mind, too, notably the comely new PR person
appointed by the government to cover up dinosaur sightings. She's a dead ringer
for Claudia, who vanished in the previous series. But only the professor can see
3/7 - Saturday 26 January 2008
Another week and yet another scary prehistoric monster is getting ready to
burst through an "anomaly" and chase our attractive dino-hunters, this time
around an adventure park. It'll certainly make you think twice before going
on one of those white-knuckle rides where your legs dangle down.
Actually, it's about 25 minutes before we catch sight of the rather large
sabre-toothed tiger with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Until then,
it's all just rustling undergrowth and growling noises. Yet while this series
has none of the finesse of Doctor Who - Primeval has been touted by some as
ITV1's rival to the BBC's time-travelling drama - it's thoroughly enjoyable hokum.
4/7 - Saturday 02 February 2008
It probably harks back to seeing Jaws when I was younger, but things that
suddenly lunge out of the water scare me witless. So this episode with its
shark-like predator that's cruising a London canal in the hope of snacking
on human flesh, preferably a bit dangling over the edge of a boat, is
potentially the stuff of nightmares.
Even the most pathetic belly flop of a dive by Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall),
a bit of nausea-inducing dialogue between Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Abby
(Hannah Spearritt) and a laughable slow-motion sequence can't detract from
several truly terrifying moments involving another predator that I can only
describe as some kind of mutant ninja walrus.
5/7 - Saturday 09 February 2008
There's more than a nod in the direction of cult 90s sci-fi movie Tremors
about this week's episode, which sees intrepid dino-hunters Prof Cutter
and Stephen being attacked by some unknown terror (actually, to begin
with it looks laughably like an animated hosepipe) that lurks beneath the
desert sand in an anomaly encountered by a young girl. Attracted by the
vibrations of people moving on the surface, it hurtles along unseen to
burst out and, well, eat them.
It's a scary enough premise, but it's not a particularly satisfying episode
because there are as many holes in the plot as there are, apparently,
anomalies opening up in Britain on a Saturday night. Why is it, for instance,
that Cutter's wife Helen can flit backwards and forwards through the
anomalies with apparent ease, while Cutter and Stephen are seemingly
stuck permanently in the desert with these burrowing bugs?
6/7 - Saturday 16 February 2008
"There's a mammoth on the M25!"
Which, as excuses for traffic chaos go, is pretty novel. The beast is squashing
cars and people, which keeps Professor Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and his team busy
for a few minutes.
But there's more going on here than the dino-chase-of-the- week. There are traitors
in our midst, such as shifty Helen (Juliet Aubrey). And, by the way Helen, tuck
your cleavage away. You're supposed to be a dinosaur hunter, not an advert for
the benefits of an uplift bra.
As always with Primeval, the action hurtles along at breakneck speed, and the
opening scenes where the mammoth does its worst are genuinely nail-biting. There's
a danger of things becoming bogged down when the talking starts, but Primeval is
canny enough to know when to shut its mouth.