Pretender to the crown of Doctor Who and infinitely better than its ITV1 stable-mate Demons, Primeval is an entertaining Saturday night bit of fluff that fortunately doesn’t take itself entirely seriously.
Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall), still reeling from the loss of his second in command Stephen Hart at the end of the previous series, returns with his rag-tag bunch of doctors and mercenaries doing battle with a variety of animal, vegetable and mineral (but mainly dinosaurs) in a dual reality which fortunately works as a revolving door for cast members new and old.
Things take a turn for the strange early in this series. With a major member of the crew reduced to dino-chow, new recruit Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng), a radical copper with an axe to grind, takes up with Egyptologist Sarah Page and the new leader of the ARC’s security forces Captain Becker alongside the existing group members to fend off the “anomalies”.
Where the show often falls flat is in the CGI of the creatures, which should be the focus of all the action. They are perfectly serviceable for a TV show, but the harsh reality is that more cash needs to be thrown at them and their interactivity with the actors is so limited that at times the whole exercise descends into farce. The pace of the show bears out, however, with the opener set in the British Museum a high point and the flesh-eating fungus in Episode 4 an entertaining diversion.
Bizarrely there is talk of a film in the works, with Warner Brothers reportedly having acquired the screen rights and The Da Vinci Code‘s Akiva Goldsman named as one of the producers.
Released on DVD on Monday 1st June 2009 by 2Entertain.