Sunday, February 11, 2007

Prime Awful

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad - maybe the post should have been entitled Prime Adequate - but there was still something about Primeval that felt kind of flat.

For what it was, ITV made a better fist of it than Doctor Who, whose Saturday night family audience the network is obviously chasing. If I was watching this as a kid, or rather when I was a kid, I’d probably be glued to the box. But almost 14 years after everyone was wowed by the CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Primeval didn’t really have enough going for it.

Maybe I’m just jaded. But it seems just another excuse for Impossible Pictures and Framestore CFC to roll out the builds they made for the likes of the 2002 version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, Dinotopia, Walking with Dinosaurs, and its sequels Walking with Monsters and Walking with Beasts, and ITV’s recent Prehistoric Park.

I hope I’m proved wrong in the future. There is the interesting story thread of the evolutionary paleontologist leading the dinobusters discovering the personal effects of his missing wife after temporarily heading back through the temporal rift, but the first episode seemed to simply tick all the boxes by rote without really adding anything new.

Still, there are five more episodes to come. While the preview of next week’s episode seems to be little more than an extended bug hunt through the tunnels of the London Underground, there was (obviously for the dads in the audience) a quick flash of the blonde zoologist wandering about in her underwear.


At 11:19 am, Blogger Optimistic_Reader said...

I've never quite grown out of my childhood obsession with dinosaurs so I was determined to watch this. I didn't expect it to be great though so I wasn't disappointed. I think this is the key to enjoying TV these days! Although I can't help but have high expectations for the return of Life on Mars...Let's hope it isn't rubbish!

At 5:47 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


It's a shame that we have to sit down to watch a lot of UK drama with reasonably low expectations so as not to be disappointed.

I loved dinosaurs as a kid and it certainly fired the imagination, then and now. Hell, even when I pitched to WBFA some years the last idea I came up with, off the top of my head, was dino-centred.

I think... Okay, here's what it is... Worked on an animated film back in the early 1990s. The stuff looked great but the plot was pretty darn thin at the best of times.

The director, though Canadian, had worked in England since the 1960s. His opinion - which was also the opinion of a lot of other UK animation directors I subsequently worked with - was, the images are so good, that will be enough for the audience. Wow them with how good the material looks and stuff the story.

I kind of think there has to be a plot there, somewhere. Otherwise you might as well put a frame around each frame of film and hang them on a gallery wall.

Primeval obvious has a budget restriction that only allows them to go so far. That said, there seemed to me to be an element of, hey, we can wow them with the dinosaurs and that will do.

Then again, I found Jurassic Park suffered from the same problem when I first saw it, and that obviously had more money thrown at it than Primeval will ever see.

Maybe I'm just a difficult bugger to please (although current American dramas don't seem to be letting me down in the same way).

And at least Primeval was miles better than The Outsiders for what it was.

As for Life on Mars... didn't connect with it, although a friend keeps threatening to lend me the DVD boxset. I'll give the second series a go (and probably shut up about it if it isn't to my taste to stop everyone from having to listen to my whining).

Although, come to think of it, I may be at the NFT tomorrow.


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