Saturday, February 10, 2007

Primeval : Episode One

So... an ensemble show. Pitting the wits of a team of unlikely investigators against monsters and a whole horde of strangenesses which are coming to the UK via some kind of spatio-dimensional (for want of a better word) "rift" in the universe. It's gonna be stylish, it's gonna be slick, it's gonna be sexy. It's gonna be an attempt at doing the sort of series that the US has excelled at for so long.

Sound familiar? Yeah... Primeval's an ITV version of Torchwood isn't it? And to be brutally frank they're not helping the Torchwood comparisons by having a flying pet dinosaur hanging around. (Anyone else shout out "Pterodactyl!" during the escape of Rex in the Home Office? Or was it just me? Oh... thought not.)

To be fair, for an ITV programme, Primeval's first episode wasn't too bad. Yes it was essentially Torchwood with a slightly less overblown premise and slightly more restraint generally, but there was still a certain element of "TV-by-numbers to it".

Still, it was engaging enough - even though as a terrible cynic I found myself frequently stepping outside the fourth wall to check off items on the list and make a mental prediction of where it would lead. The cast were very good (especially Hannah from S Club 7 who I genuinely had no idea was even in it until I read about it but two seconds ago), the effects were generally good and it only featured Ant and Dec once (in an advert in the interval) so I'm not sure what else you could ask for.

So I suppose it was a serviceable - if predictable - "set the scene" episode. It'll be a couple more before we know if it's any good I reckon.

That said, James Murray - as Stephen Hart - would be allowed to sit on my face any day. And that's probably all you need from Saturday evening telly really.

12 comments:

Bobbie said...

Here am I at work reading your blog only to be made to choke on an orange..Lovely picture to be left with Rob :)

Dawn said...

I had been eagerly awaiting Primeval (as had my 7 yr old son) however, the final trailer left me thinking I shouldn't bother. With the episode actually watched I'm pleased to say that my son loved it and I was relieved that it was better than finally anticipated. I agree that I will need to see a couple more to be truly convinced, but my main problem after that pilot is that I am totally unable to develop a liking for any members of the team so far. Anyone else have this problem?

Rob said...

I think that's a danger with any ensemble show really.

You end up with a point at which you have to establish so many characters you can't spend enough time to actually make them individually likeable.

Torchwood (quel surprise) suffered from the same problem. It actually took an entire season for them to have any real depth, by which time the average viewer has long since given up and started watching something with wisecracking Americans in it.

Dawn said...

Au contraire Rob, I liked ALL of the Torchwood team with the exception of Owen and even he attained a grudging admiration in one scene.

Rob said...

Hmm. I suppose. I quite liked them but I could never really understand why it didn't all just fragment and fall apart without some scary old guy manipulating them.

Si said...

This might be good. It might, on the other hand, be unmitigated bum-gravy - but I just can't be arsed. There's so much on telly that demands so much of you, what ever happened to one-offs you either caught or you didn't. I stuck with ER for about 4 series, then lost the will to live. I even stuck with Thirtysomething for about 5 million series before popping out for some razor blades. Nah - I won't give in to the evil telly barons and sit like a festering pile of blubber in front of the idiot box all day long...

Rob said...

Thankfully the one thing that can be said for Primeval is that it is only six episodes.

Not twenty-four or however many the US usually go for.

Si said...

That said, I'm looking forward to series 2 of Life on Mars tonight, having been an adolescent in the 70s...

Dawn said...

I was also adolescent in the 70s and I did enjoy the 1st one of the new series. However, something didn't sit quite right this time, can't put my finger on it yet, but I will keep watching to see if I figure it out or it rights itself.

The trouble with Primeval is that it's ONLY 6 episodes. They will barely be able to set the scene and start developing the characters before it ends and they BETTER renew it as something with this potential cannot possibly be done justice to in one 6 part series. At least Torchwood gets 13 episodes (not nearly enough).

Si said...

I sneakily switched over to BBC4 to see episode 2. It gets better.

Dawn said...

I didn't get the opportunity for that last week as I was away from home, as was also the case this week so I haven't actually seen episode 2 yet. I am now looking forward to it much more than I was

Huw said...

Primeval has been surprisingly okay. Another show that really surprised me in a good way? Hotel Babylon: oddly compelling, funny in a "do they mean to be funny?" way, and not standard BBC drama fare.