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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > British TV > Primeval Volume One (Series 1 & 2/BBC DVD)

Primeval Volume One (2007 - 8/Series 1 & 2/BBC DVD)

 

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: C+ Episodes: A

 

 

When the folks behind the Walking With Dinosaurs programs combine with the BBC to create a sci-fi drama, you know the potential for great television exists. Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines realize that potential in Primeval. Primeval Volume One combines Series One and Two that were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Warning, a few minor spoilers lay ahead in this review.

 

The basic premise of the show rests on the existence of holes in time and space called anomalies. These anomalies act as gateways to the distant past and even the far future. Creatures from these times pass through them into our world and cause all sorts of havoc. The British Home Office assembles a crack team of scientists and adventurers to deal with these incredible incursions, and to study the nature of the anomalies themselves. Douglas Henshall plays Nick Cutter, an evolutionary zoologist whose wife, Helen (Juliet Aubrey) disappeared eight years ago into one of these anomalies. Cutter is asked to lead the team tasked to discover the nature of the anomalies and deal with the creatures that travel through them into our world.

 

The rest of the primary cast forms Cutter's crack team, with Stephen Hart (James Murray) as Cutter's right-hand man, Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts) in the role of the group's technology wizard, Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt) as the effervescent zoologist, Claudia Brown/Jennifer Lewis (Lucy Brown) as a Home Office liaison and Cutter's romantic interest, and Sir James Lester (Ben Miller) as the nagging government wonk who runs the whole operation. The BBC just seems to possess a knack for bringing together good talent for its ensemble shows, and this one is no exception.

 

An abrupt change in tone and direction occurs between Episode 6 and Episode 7 (the dividing line between Series 1 and 2). When Cutter re-emerges from an anomaly he finds the world has changed. Claudia Brown (his recent love interest) has become Jennifer Lewis, and does not know him, and the Home Office operation to investigate the anomalies has grown considerably and now has an incredible base of operations, the ARC. The romantic interplay between Stephen and Abby has also dissipated, replaced by an unrequited love triangle between Abby, Connor, and a new character, Caroline (Naomi Bentley). It's unclear whether these changes were planned from the beginning, or whether they were made in reaction to audience response, or just a natural maturation of the show's concept. They all work and move the characters toward further development.

 

As good as these actors are in their roles, the incredible special effects in Primeval give them a run for their money in stealing the show. The creatures, strange landscapes, and amazing action offer an engrossing mix that's sure to please most any sci-fi fan.

 

Extras in this box are a bit thin, with just one commentary and a pair of mini-documentaries that take the viewer behind the scenes of the show's production. The final episode features one of the great plot twists in recent sci-fi television history, and promises that Series 3 (scheduled for release in early 2010) will feature even more twists and turns.

 

 

- Scott R. Pyle


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