Sunday, February 11, 2007

Primeval

So we know of at least one lovely lady who's been excited about this, and I'm happy to say she loved it (comments.) I was excited too. The more fun, exciting, classy television featuring Scottish actors the better in my book.

But Primeval wasn't really any of these things. Fun, perhaps... exciting and classy, certainly not. They were going for classy but didn't quite pull it off. Case in point - the glare off the torches in the wood. Now I know that artificially-added glare can look cool, but they were RIDICULOUS! You'd think those little Maglites had harnessed little bits of the sun. I know it's a trivial thing but it just demonstrates the show's inability to do anything really well, while clearly trying their damnedest. I'll give them the special effects, they were easily as good as a Doctor Who episode - though they're still, to me, the weakest aspect of that series, so it's not a massive compliment. People might say it's unfair to compare Primeval to the greatest tv success story of our time, but they set themselves up for it. Look at the subject matter, look at the time-slot, look at the ex-teeny-popstar for goodness sake. No, they were asking for it, and they shouldn't have done because they're only going to come off looking bad.

This wasn't awful, and I'll be watching again I'm sure, but I had to excuse too many things by saying to myself - well, it's a kid's show. You just never have to do that Doctor Who (yes, the Slitheen, I know). But worst of all was the script. It was really quite poor - no wit, no heart, no drama. And everything was revealed far too quickly. In the space of an hour we've had the rumour of dinosaurs, the proof of dinosaurs, the discovery of a rip in time, a little expedition into the rip in time, and a full back story for Cutter.

I'm being harsher on this than it possibly deserves but, like one of those cruel-to-be-kind teachers you only appreciate in hindsight, I just want it to do better. It should do better, and I think I'll keep watching until it gets there.

18 comments:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I'm wholly biased, and it SHOULD have been better.

Re: the torches, I'm willing to suspend belief on those not least because of the hilarious time I used to have watching the X-files which featured frequent use of "the terrible torches of television", light-givers that shed less solar power than the light on a 1980s digital watch. So frankly I was just pleased that the torches gave out light at all. Maybe they went too much the other way (I loved your line about harnessing little bits of the sun!) but still...

And I agree that whatever they may have been saying it was unfortunate that they placed themselves in an unenviable position whereby Who-comparisons were so unavoidable. For me, I would have liked to have seen this show picked up MUCH earlier (it may even have predated the return of Who as a proposal) and given a FIXED slot (like that's even a concept on ITV during a Saturday evening...)

I think as it stands the best we can hope is that it gets the chance to shine into a second series, perhaps even a LONGER series. If only...

AnnaWaits said...

I agree, it needs time, I just hope ITV have the faith to give it... it. But then again, maybe they wont need faith, as the reaction seems more positive than negative, from what I can tell.

DanProject76 said...

Indeed. It was dreadfully corny (one dimensional characters), totally lacking in wit or soul and very very ridiculous (dinosaur attacks house, nobody except small boy notices). Plus the CGI pet thing is the new Jar Jar Binks.

Comparing it to Doctor Who is like comparing Iceland to Waitrose.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

DanProject76: And if it wasn't that I live around 50 miles from the nearest Waitrose I would be able to sympathise more with your statement. As it stands, I make use of what stores are to hand. Similarly, lacking Who at the mo, and without digital TV (so no Gallatica for me) I have to take my fantasy TV where I can. Flawed or not...

Dean said...

If it's that bad I might have to watch it for a laugh... I mostly avoid anything going on ITV 1 on the assumption it'll be awful lowest-denominator crap. On the occasions I do watch stuff there it rarely dissapoints.

It's depressing that there's so much quality TV out there at the moment and hardly any of it makes it to UK TV, and if it does it's either a year later on an obscure digital channel, or tucked away in the early hours of the morning. It's frankly a crime that Lisa doesn't get to see Battlestar Galactica which is by far the single best piece of sci-fi TV produced in the past ten years (though y'know, maybe if Firefly had been given a chance it might have some competition).

I've just finished watching the entirity of series 4 of HBO drama The Wire in just over a week and: wow. It was just a stunningly brilliant piece of television. Has anyone else over here ever heard of it? Of course not. It's a cop drama set in East Baltimore by the way, that spends as much time concentrating on the organisational aspects of the drug dealers as it does the police trying to catch them. The most recent season focused on education and the struggle of the teachers trying to educate the children and turn them away from the accepted path of dealing drugs on the streets, and the failings of a statistics focused education system, contrasted with the statistics focused police department. Throw in a mayoral race playing out on top of all this, and script-writers that refuse to speak down to thier audience and instead expect thier rapt attention and concentration and you have an amazing piece of television. Starts Feb 13th on obscure cable channel FX. The first 2 series are just £18 each on Amazon though...

Anyways, sorry for the rant - it's just I love your TV reviews and it depresses the hell out of me that most of the time you end up reviewing utter crud as that's all the UK TV companies want to give us...

rashbre said...

They hoped the Torch Wood look like a cinema shot in blistering Panavision. Final Cut Pro rules etc.

I'm sure the rest of the series will look fantastic in Merlot-vision. Actually, I will be watching.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Dean: Of course we watch The Wire! Long since championed in the pages of Guardian Guide, and by our own blogosphere guru Rob Buckley, there are quite a number of us loving The Wire. We watched Season 2 on DVD recently and we are now working our way through s1. Season 3 is on the to-buy list. Season 4 is going to have to wait though.

But you are right, it is one of the best shows - period - of recent years. And way out of a genre definition.

khushi said...

I agree, it needs time, I just hope IT V have the faith to give it..I make use of what stores are to hand. Similarly, lacking Who at the mo, and without digital TV...'m sure the rest of the series will look fantastic in Mer lot-vision. Actually, I will be watching.
But Primeval wasn't really any of these things. Fun, perhaps... exciting and classy

rookie said...

I have not seen this show very frequently. I have seen just 2 or 3 episodes of this show. I am a big fan of cartoon series and most of the time I just hooked up with cartoon shows. South Park Episodes is my favorite one.

Jessica Hart said...

Primeval follows a team of five scientists tasked with investigating the appearance of temporal anomalies across Great Britain through which prehistoric and futuristic creatures enter the present.

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Hines said...

I love this show! Thanks for the review:)
btw I've watched it here: Watch TV online free

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Unfortunately for majority TV is life..

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