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"Primeval" More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Admit it, you've always wanted to see a mammoth on the M4

Author: Rudy Hawkwood from Ecuador
27 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you haven't seen this yet, here's what you get:

1. A fairly hokey premise. "Anomalies" are temporary and randomly appearing portals to other time periods, which somehow (except for the finale in season 5) limit themselves to the South-East of England. Although several of the main characters are supposed to be scientists, there is no scientific discussion of the physics behind this, and the government department responsible for dealing with them seems remarkably uninterested in such questions, and remarkably happy to let a tiny motley crew of random amateurs take on the task of keeping the country safe from prehistoric incursions (nowhere is credibility strained more than in the repeated ritual of these would-be frontliners appearing at the scene of an incursion, tranquillizer guns waving). More surprisingly still, none of these "scientists" seems to have read War of the Worlds, or to have any notion that the threat from microscopic organisms would likely be far greater than that posed by huge, lumbering reptiles with fangs. There is never any suggestion that characters passing to and fro from other time periods might need to be quarantined. Ho-hum.

2. Some effort seems to have gone into scriptwriting in seasons 1-2 (arguably 1-3) but by 4 and 5 it's mostly on the level of kneejerk clichés borrowed from American series: "Talk to me!", "Let's DO this!" and "It's too late - the EM surge would have fried the data!" That said, there are some nice comic moments, mostly centering around the character of Connor Temple. Lucy Brown gets some of the best lines ("There can't be that many different types of venomous predator under the Aldwych" - "You should see the last tube home on a Friday night!") as befits the most photogenic character in the cast. Still, the acting is mostly good enough to mask the scriptwriters' shortcomings most of the time.

3. The camera-work has come under attack, but I think a decision was taken somewhere along the line to keep the budget from going through the roof by using lots of intercuts, split-second takes and tight editing in the action scenes, thus allowing the monsters' presence to be more suggested than shown. The monsters' screen time, if you pay careful attention, is extremely restricted and limited to very short takes and a few expensive set-pieces, like the wonderful "mammoth on the motorway" (whose disturbed head movements are a treat to behold, reminding me irresistibly of a former Irish room-mate of mine towards the end of a night on the town). The technique works, and I don't have a problem with it. The monster scenes are a lot better than we have any right to expect in a TV series.

4. The monsters, as I said, are wonderful, but after a while you can't help wondering why they seem to need to stop and roar every few seconds. Mostly, an encounter with a monster goes like this: monster appears, knocks cars about, disarms prey, prey cowers awaiting violent death, instead of killing prey monster does some gratuitous roaring (or bellowing or screeching), by which time someone else has turned up in time to shoot monster. You'd think they'd learn to save the roaring till later.

5. A clearly improvised plot arc, full of annoying loose ends. We never learn why Claudia becomes Jenny, and are left wondering how the appearance of mutated bats in the Permian era could have led to someone ending up millions of years later with a different surname and a slightly different taste in lip gloss and shoes. This whole "alternative timeline" idea bristles with possibilities, but none of them are exploited. The "sociopathic brother" idea in series 5 is also pregnant with possibilities which in the main aren't taken up. The actor is up to it, but the script won't let him develop into a really memorable villain, and like so many other characters and ideas, he's just sketched in and then frogmarched out of the script through a glittering hole in the air. And if you're going to transport us back to Victorian England, we want more than an establishing shot of smoking chimneys, a room full of sacks, and a horse and carriage. Did the budget not allow for anything more rewarding than this?

6. Equally frustrating is the careless characterisation. Connor Temple starts out as a dino freak with a database of every extinct creature, that he's been "building since 14". A couple of episodes later, suddenly he's an electronics geek. THen he's a wizard programmer. It's as if the writers didn't quite grok that not all nerds belong to the same species. Similarly, Jenny Lewis appears initially as someone quite unlike Claudia Brown, but in a very short time she's indistinguishable from her in all but a few small details of clothing. As for Helen Cutter... the less said, the better.

7. Excellent entertainment. I couldn't stop watching right to the end. But then, I'm a sucker for dinosaurs in contemporary London settings. Give me that, and any excuse is good enough. Oh, and just for the record, I fell in love with one of the actresses. So there's that too.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

downhill since series 4

Author: thefloating flea from United Kingdom
7 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original series (1-3) were very good, and I would advise watching them (especially series three). thought they had the odd minor issue, like Danny suddenly being able to fly a helicopter or no one reporting seeing a dinosaur walking the streets of wherever you let it slip because realistically the show would be boring if it was 100% realistic (lots of paper work)

But with its comeback as series four and five these issues became more obvious. I understand if they have had there budget Marjory cut but that does no mean the hire a seven-year-old for a script writers, for instance (in no particular order):

when mat is fighting a 'tree creeper' to save CGI cost he just waves a blade at a camera rather than actually fight it. (and this animal is the same size of a hyena but is fought off with a four inch knife? wtf?)

the writers make no attempt to go into the curiosity or shock that Emily (ruth Bradley) must be in to come from the Victorian era to modern day. Torchwood made a whole episode based on that!!

the writers COMPLETELY contradict themselves (or their predecessors) when it come to Helen (she is dead as well, can't they let a character go?) when she apparently tries to cause the post apocalyptic future by making a big anomaly that will apparently kill the world (the skip the detail on how)

Conor and abbey are the only people in both series having any sort of interesting relationship, which is then overused to the point of ridicule

they replace weapons which we are familiar with (normal bullet firing g36s) to 'laser tasers'

the new arc is rather gloomy

the computer technician and the head of security have a relationship which has the realism and maturity as the one in w.a.l.l.e (pixar)

they miss out any form of scientific data to the point that the physics in doctor who seems more likely

the new series is basically based at completely the wrong age-group, and I would not advise watching it unless you are 10 or under. they clearly didn't realise that 12 to 16 etc is the more profitable age group which the original series was aimed at. this is why there are so many angry primeval fans who don't like the new series, the producer forgot what age group he was aiming at (or just hired the director of trolls 2 to write the script).

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Ranks up there with "Fringe" as one of the best SF TV series ever

Author: Bevin Chu from Taiwan
8 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

"Primeval" ranks up there with "Fringe" as one of the best time travel/alternate universe genre SF TV series ever made. Far, far better than paint by the numbers shows such as "Quantum Leap." I still can't believe however that the creators of the show killed off every one of their leading characters.

Killing off the adorable Claudia Brown by changing the time line was bad enough. Admittedly they reincarnated her, sort of, as Jenny Lewis. But then they wrote her out of the show too by having her resign.

Killing off the unflappable, too cool for school Stephen Hart and even the living, beating heart of the show Nick Cutter was just too much. That is no way to keep a franchise going.

I suppose the creators of the show should be given credit for their ruthlessness. The shockingly unexpected deaths of these beloved main characters leave holes in our hearts. They evoke the inner emptiness that accompanies the loss of a loved one.

But unless the actors wanted out for career reasons, killing their characters off was definitely a bad move.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

No dinos!!

Author: (g00187276-1) from Ireland
21 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love this show. it's fast and witty, with breath-taking visual effects. comparing it to doctor who (as happens) is unjustified. just because they both involve time travel! if you apply the same philosophy, Doctor Who must be a rip off of EVERY time travel film, show or book that came before it.

Anyway, got that off my chest :) i see in loads of comments here that people call the monsters "Dinosours" this is false, as not one animal in the show comes from that family. I know that's what they're called in the show, but that is either a goof or a diliberate mistake. Not every large reptile from pre-history is a dino!

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Strong start but after season 3, I'm out!!!!

Author: tankace from athens
30 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Primeval was everything I was dreaming when I was twelve years old ,it had time travel, dinosaurs and in general prehistoric beast, science and good drama. The first and second seasons are close to be some of the most amazing television program I had seen and I was pump of my mind when the third season started and here we go down hill very ,very fast and in just 10 episodes these amazing world got tangled and lost its steam.

The main reason for that was it focus too much after season 2 to the drama among the people and yes some drama is good but ,when your series started with hunting prehistoric creatures ,which came out of anomalies in time and space then I am pretty sure that audience will lose its stem. And it lost indeed ,because people want to see how we react when dinosaur come out of the blue and attack us and not the relationship of the leader with his wife and her lover / left hand of her husband. Also don't forget the evil company ,because what it is a science fiction series with out a villainous organization? Better.

In short when you are in your teens may look nice but nowadays I think that it was like so many show which started strong and in the middle they should have ended it the ordeal ,but no because we deed viewers. If you program doesn't worth the time, them it won't happen and the scientific inaccuracies which after season 3 when through the roof don't help.

So a nostalgia killer sure and if you want to study who to make a good time travel series watch it in order to see what not to do and the Doctor Who to see what to do.

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Spoiler - could have been much more

Author: scott_weishaar from Chicago, IL
12 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was interested in Primeval after a few episodes and starting to genuinely like it in spite of some huge holes in the plot and the ridiculous story around Helen. My major problem is constant change in characters, especially killing the main one just when I thought it was going to be a show I was growing to truly like. But the lack of character development coupled with constant turnover of characters leaves us with a science fiction show with a premise grounded without story and characters that as soon as you care whether they are even in the show getting consistently killed off. Hard to maintain a following when all you have is a steady stream of nasty creatures popping up and needing to be contained by whoever is in the show at the moment.

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It could have been so much better!

Author: simonvanrooij70 from Netherlands
11 May 2014

Who am I to judge?! The concept of dinosaurs in the modern age is a great concept. The concept of a door to the past is better. I would have liked to see more travels to the very remote past. To look for the beginning of life itself. To look who's build the pyramids, etc... Going back into time with a big group of soldiers and scientists. The series seems to have been made to please a young adult demographic. The atmosphere of the scenes are childish. I would have liked a much more darker feeling to this series. And less comic-like characters. It makes this series too predictable. I think that a great opportunity has been lost with this series. Such a shame, because It could have been great.

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Wilhelm Scream

Author: lothos-370-690020 from United Kingdom
11 May 2014

This series could be called Wilhelm Scream the series. The scream usually occurs in films and is used subtlety as in Star Wars or Lord of the rings when someone dies. Primeval has decided to use it in every episode, this becomes very old very quick. The special effects are OK, not terrible and not great, but considering Jurrsaic Park was made 14 years earlier and looked much better, it's hard to be generous even when comparing a film to a TV series. The acting is quite good, and the chartcers are believable, but the but given the sensational subject matter, episodes still manage to drag.

All in all, there are much better sci fi shows out there, this is farely child friendly and is the most likely target audience.

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Jurassic Park Light

Author: Roedy Green from Victoria, BC. Canada
1 March 2014

This is a very special effects driven series. You might call it Jurassic Park light. The special effects are excellent. They are not just pasted onto the background. They interact strongly with the live action. The spiders were not quite up to snuff, though.

The effect that puzzled me most was Rex, a baby winged dinosaur that liked to nestle next to the breast of a pretty young woman. It had all the cuteness and intelligence of a Disney creation, yet it seemed completely real. I really wanted to have one as a pet myself.

The science is pretty sloppy: 1. Micro-brained dinosaurs and insects seem to know how to operate a time wormhole.

2. Insects, far larger than ever lived on earth swarm, even though the oxygen today is far too low to support them and they would collapse under their own gravity.

3. Predator dinosaurs chasing prey, stop to give dominance displays of roaring. This is not how predators act.

4. Predator dinosaurs seem to be blind. You can escape them just by lying on the ground.

There was a scene with a young woman just in her underwear. In a series without any romantic content, it seemed overly exploitive and out of place.

It is somewhat corny and clichéd, but is a guilty pleasure. It is entertaining.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Love it!

Author: Joe Comber from United Kingdom
7 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This series was amazing until series 4. Series four was good. Series 5 was okay, it was enjoyable. I absolutely love it though! This is the series of my childhood. There was another series of primeval made in Canada. Pretty good. Not as good as this though. Definitely watch if your a fan of mind bending fast paced things. They have got rid of too many characters recently. That's why its not as good as it used to be. It's all about this man called Nick Cutter, he discovers these time traveling anomalies. He sets up a team to help him make sure all the things that come through are put back inside. He soon discovers that his presumed dead for eight years wife has actually been traveling through these for ages. Anyway, I love it!

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