Primeval Series 3, Episode 1 Review

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

PRIMEVAL, ITV1,  Saturday 28th March, 7:20pm Alert Me

I am, I’ll admit, a Primeval virgin.

While I’ve more than played the field with my Merlin’s, Doctor Who’s and Demon’s, ITV1’s flagship show has always managed to stray just oft corner of my flagrantly easy sci-fi eye.

But as I sat down, ready to pop my Primeval cherry, it already had my rapt attention for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, as any long-term viewer (or quick Google-searcher) will know, is former S-Club Teeny-bopper Hannah Spearitt’s seemingly allergic aversion to any form of lower-half apparel, and stubborn determination to combat some of mythology’s most terrifying beasties in nothing but a pair of Hello Kitty tighty whiteys.

Second though, is its refusal to lie down in the face of ITV’s standard ‘Sci-Fi’ One-Series cull, and resilient reappearance despite repeated accusations that it’s little more a Tricera-flop and Dino-bore.

Back for its third season, this first episode provides enough info for newbie viewers, whilst making sure to carry on dangling plotlines from the end of Season Two, including the death of Stephen Hart and the reappearance of the ever-nefarious Helen Cutter.

Story-wise, it’s very much a (barely) budget version of Night at the (London) Museum, with an Egyptian ‘Sun Cage’ museum exhibit spewing forth a Pristichampsus (walking crocodile) that proceeds to run amok amongst London’s waterways.

A programme like this essentially lives or dies on its special effects, and I was pleased to report that while they’re not going to be challenging ILM or Weta anytime soon, they were competent enough to make it enjoyable.

Even if the ‘anomaly’ bubbles look uncannily like minty-flecked, undulating globs of Colgate.

Again, acting and plot-wise, it’s pretty much a non-event, but perfectly competent for the confines of the teen/adult show. Hannah Spearitt, for example, does little more than run around, looking pretty and uttering ‘well, DUH’ lines like: “No Pulse. He’s Dead? or “If it’s swimming in the Thames, that’s colder than what it’s used to in Egypt?, while the cast’s new ‘bodyguard’ addition is so generically Action Man, they even take the piss of the fact in themselves.

More importantly though, the standard ‘monster of the week’ storyline ends with a tantalisingly brilliant twist that could (if the scriptwriters can be half-arsed) rejuvenate the show and address some of the criticism that’s been headed its way.

It may not have the banter, wit or allegories of its competitors and predecessors, but it’s completely acceptable Saturday arvo, switch-your-brain off TV, and sometimes that’s just what’s needed.

Matt Risley