Our last look at the Series 2 credits is immediate- no pre-credits spoilers, a nice touch to ramp up the suspense. The lights lift and...some shots of the dingy warehouse Leek is hiding out in. Not even in HD. Still, at least it's not a quarry. Locked up separately from the others, Jenny berates Cutter for pandering to his ex Helen; before admitting that due to her strange behaviour over her new job, her fiancee won't notice her absence as he has left her after accusing her of seeing someone else. Meanwhile, Leek repays Caroline's selfish naivety by locking her up with Connor and Abby- then the series indulges in one last bit of S Club 7 fanservice as Hannah Spearitt and Naomi Bentley catfight after Leek points out Caroline's obvious treachery. The characterisation and actors are on top form this episode; Lester is both amusingly sarcastic and genuinely concerned for his employees and the civillian casualties. Abby is headstrong and tough but in a more well-meaning and vunerable way. Stephen's loyalty, experience and even paranoia come in useful. Connor points out to Leek that he's doing just fine with women as Caroline and Abby roll around on the floor. Jenny is brave and supportive despite her cutting attitude( and knows clay-pigeon shooting, lol!). And Cutter? He's armed with nothing but a machine gun, his wits and his Scottish accent. 

And the antagonists are no pantomime stars either; Caroline is convincingly self-motivated but still vaguely relatable, whilst Helen's motivation and weaknesses are revealed as she overestimates Stephen's feelings for her and grapples with the ambitious Leek and bitter Cutter for control of the situation. Finally, special mention goes to Karl Theobald as Oliver Leek; his behaviour this series has been both funny( winding up Lester, letting the Abby-Caroline catfight continue with an amused smirk as Connor reels back from it with a bloodied nose) and worrying( handling the stolen creatures operation right under everyone's nose, showing no qualms about murdering ANY of his colleagues). His plan-to let loose his mini-army of vicious creatures in various locations unless the government meet his demands for funds and power-and sadistic dtermination are convincingly demonstrated, such as when Lester and Stephen have to put aside their differences to stop an attack on a beach full of day-trippers. Lester and his superiors do what they can to track Leek's operation and the kidnapped team down( ''The government does not negotiate with criminals!'' Lester snaps stressfully), whilst lines like ''money will matter far less in the future'' and ''we can't damage the future, only alter it'' don't bode well alongside Leek and Helen's suspiciously confident plot. 

However, the scriptwriters's plot has a couple of holes; like Stephen being able to tell Lester HIS terms, a predator toying with Cutter but not even injuring him, and both this ep's attack at a busy beach and last ep's mammoth on the M25 SOMEHOW being covered up. The visuals are great though; even previously faker-looking monsters now look, act and sound engaging throughout, and the actors's interactions with them keep improving. The action also looks and sounds fine via CCTV, as the hideout's security system is taken down by a virus planted by Connor and the A.R.C.- allowing the authorities to find and mop up the vans full of mercenaries and creatures poised to attack; but at the cost of breaking the deadlocks keeping the dangerous menagerie locked up. Moments like Jenny, Connor, Abby and Caroline huddling together defensively under the CCTV's gaze as the growling sabretooth from Episode 3 stalks them, and their eventual escape with Rex via ladder as Jenny is forced to shoot a guard in self-defense, keep up the pace throughout the episode. And there is some amusement too, whether it be the good(Jenny's spiky high heels), the bad(redshirt's death by Wilhelm again!), or the ugly(Cutter revealing he only pretended to worry for Helen so she would help him escape, Leek not falling for Cutter's distracting gabbling). 

L to R; Connor Temple( Andrew Lee Potts), Helen Cutter( Juliet Aubrey), Professor Nick Cutter( Douglas Henshall), Captain Tom Ryan( Mark Wakeling), Abby Maitland( Hannah Spearitt), Stephen Hart( James Murray), and Claudia Brown( Lucy Brown). Not Pictured; Sir James Lester( Ben Miller), Tom( Jake Curran) and Duncan( James Bradshaw). 

Primeval Season 1 Episode 1 Review 'Gorgonopsid' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

(there are no official episode titles, so I’ll use whatever theme is

mostly unique to the episode. And watch out for SPOILERS!)

 

Back in 2009, I came across a strange sight on ITV. Where normally

celebrity game shows, soap operas, murder mysteries, and Bond

films(shout out to those! ) reign, instead I saw pest control and

zookeepers chasing after an escaped crocodile. A zoo/wildlife

documentary, perhaps? But then said crocodile vanished into a frosty,

glistening light, and things were never the same again...

 

(Yes, of course I knew the croc was CGI. But didn't it sound more

interesting when I didn't mention that?)

 

In 2007, however, something less interesting was on ITV. A woman trying

to do some late night shopping at Asda- riveting. Then she flees as a

shadowy creature comes out of the trees, and into a familiar misty

light...

 

Which turns out to be the opening credits. Photos and names of the cast

swirl like snowflakes whilst a catchy blend of drums, violin and guitar

plays. Then sunlight lights up the screen, upbeat music plays, and

unobtrusive text informs us we're at the Central Metropolitan University

as we get our first glimpse of the protagonists- heading to work,

chatting away, blissfully unaware of all that will befall them in the

coming years.

 

Our main man, Professor Nick Cutter( Douglas Henshall, Shetland), looks

more like he belongs in a crime drama than a sci-fi; amicable, stubborn

and just a bit rough around the edges. His colleague, tracker/ranger

Stephen Hart( James Murray, husband of actress Sarah Parish), is more of

a Hollyoaks type, yet shows more initiative and scepticism than

expected. Lastly, biology student Connor Temple( Andrew Lee Potts,

Alice) appears to be straight out of a teen comedy, albeit less cringeworthy

and more well-meaning.

 

And it turns out we already know our fourth cast member- the woman in

the pre-credits, palaeontologist Helen Cutter( Juliet Aubrey, Bertie And

Elizabeth), is Cutter's ex-wife and went missing in the Nineties. This

backstory is weaved nicely into the narrative, from the normal

workplace/home settings and family photos to the contrast between her

tormented husband, distanced student and curious pupil. And the music

helps too- both sad and intriguing, funny and exciting, it's there

whenever you need it and this makes it's absence all the more effective.

 

As for the truth behind Helen Cutter's disappearance near the woods,

this is where the aforementioned crystalline light comes into play- the

"Anomaly". A government department( Scientists? Mercenaries? Time will

tell...) has been working on a experiment deep in the Forest Of Dean,

resulting in a wormhole to the Permian era and an abandoned, ruined

camp. Fussy Home Office official Claudia Brown( Lucy Brown, New Tricks)

and exasperated civil servant James Lester( Ben Miller, Doctor Who)

control Cutter's investigation into the anomaly, the soldiers and lab

techs in stark contrast to the( well-animated) CGI herbivorous and

carnivorous dinosaurs.

 

Which leads us to the final members of the main cast; likable zookeeper

Abby Maitland( Hannah Spearitt, S Club 7) and wary Gulf War soldier

Captain Ryan( Mark Wakeling, Quantum Of Solace). This cast looks

distinctive and good looking( but not unbelievably so), act well both

together and apart, and get a lot to say and do( if you came here from

the aforementioned 'sitcom' group, the bulk of the humour is found in the

character's interactions.).

 

Of course, this episode isn't perfect( what is?). The whole

no-one-be lives-boy-about-dinosaur thing is unbelievable; so he smashed up

his bedroom wall himself? How? And the Cutter-Claudia romance gets off

to an awkward start( from unlikely meeting to clashing reckless/strict

personalities.).

 

Overall, this is a great start to a show I've known grab children and

adults alike. Neither neutered nor excessive, and the "wormholes that

appear/disappear like rainbows" concept allows for varied scenarios

weekly without ripping off Doctor Who or Torchwood( I still reckon Class

is a weaker hybrid of Primeval and Sarah Jane Adventures though. IT'S A

HYBRID!). And the end of the episode- Cutter working late in his study,

only to hear a noise from the balcony and glimpse his long-gone wife

under a streetlight- is as surprising a moment as that first step into a

non-CGI and beautiful, yet intimidating landscape. Much more is to come,

but it's great to see where it all began.

 

 

Primeval Season 1 Episodes 2 & 3 Review 'Arthuropleurid' & 'Mosasaur' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hey, everyone! This week we'll be reviewing an inspirational documentary

about a young ranger whose work with dangerous creepy-crawlies came back

to haunt him when he narrowly avoided death whilst heroically protecting

a colleague from a poisonous insect loose in the London Underground.

Stephen Hart, 31, had suffered from a fear of spiders and snakes ever

since his encounters with them in the tropical rainforest cost him his

relationship with his girlfriend Allison...

 

Only kidding. Although the tone this week is more serious- we and the

main characters have been introduced to the world of Primeval, and now

we begin to feel some of the changes and repercussions in our

protagonists lives...

 

'Arthuropleurid' initially seems like simple character development.

Cutter and Stephen investigate Helen's disappearance, Connor fails to

convince his mates Tom(Jake Curran) and Duncan(James Bradshaw) that his

new job involves hunting dinosaurs, and Lester and Claudia work on

covering up last week's incident whilst keeping a close eye on their new

colleagues. But then a hospital is baffled by a strange poisoning; the

episode handles this nicely, with police, ambulance, soldiers and extras

of various race all aiding the team in their investigation. Also, we

begun to see relationships forming between the characters; Cutter pays

for being distracted by his ex-wife when Stephen is badly poisoned. And

it's not just the main man who gets attention- Connor goes to Abby when

his friends don't believe him, gets fired from the team when his mates

subsequent prank attracts too much attention, and gives up only to

re-earn everyone's trust helping retrieve an antidote for Stephen. Abby

hides prehistoric lizard Rex from her colleagues, and Ryan finds his

experience with danger and unusual environments doesn't stop one of his

men getting killed. There is humour ("I feel like I gargled with sand and

slept inside a tumble dryer"), but this doesn't cushion seeing a

character we're just getting to know delirious and dying with a bloody

and venom-infected gash.

 

There is some lightness though- or light-headedness. Between the dawning

reactions to a new anomaly and a surreal moment when a dazed Cutter and

hallucinating Stephen 'encounter' Helen in the maze-like tunnels, a

continued feeling of discovery and awe helps maintain interest. The CGI

and random sci-fi references are dizzying too, but not always in a good

way.

 

In all, this episode continues and expands a cool concept. Stephen

survives( the line "one of us might die doing this job" sticks ), and a

confusing 'Previously' trailer aside( it references episodes Two and

Three before we've seen them- as in they already happened millions of

years ago? Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey...), ditches the silliness.

 

'Mosasaur' again changes things though. A new idea, that the anomalies

can move, is done well but later unused. Instead, focus is put on action

and romance; from Abby's worry that Stephen is either gay or still

sleeping with his ex-girlfriend to Cutter glassy-eyed and not breathing

after creatures interrupt his failed reconciliation with Helen.

 

Yes, Helen. The supposedly dead palaeontologist is found alive and well

through an anomaly( another beautifully done location ), accepting of

her abandonment of Cutter and her old life and happy living in the wild.

Juliet Aubrey's performance is controlled yet emotional, someone

uncomfortable with the past despite living in it and able to make her

plea for Cutter to join her seem genuine( she says "I offer you the key

to time!' without sounding ridiculous...).

 

She is helped somewhat by looking the part- between army fatigues,

hospital gowns, various everyday outfits, underwear, wetsuits, sodden

hair and blood, and bared skin( Stephen shirtless and Helen swimming in

very little ), the characters are always dressed for the occasion. It

never seems forced either- they're not figures in costumes or random eye

candy.

 

But even as the series seems ready to slip into a predictable formula,

things get shaken up. Lester and Claudia arrest Helen for obstructing

their investigation and faking her own death, leaving Cutter and

Claudia's potential attraction in tatters and Stephen, Connor and Abby

unable to do a thing as Ryan takes a dishevelled Helen in handcuffs. And

Helen's look to them is not "I'm innocent!" nor "This won't stop me, heh

heh heh..." but anger and desperation at what will happen to her...

 

'Mosasaur' is flawed, but shows us why Primeval might be worth sticking

with. We get to see likable people doing an awesome job, constantly

improving CGI and catchy music- and a single 'redshirt's death mourned,

and our heroes unable to prevent an innocent woman going to prison for

the death of her boyfriend at the jaws of something they can't tell

anyone about. What will happen next? Let's find out... 

Primeval Season 1 Episode 4 Review 'Dodo' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hi everyone! Y'know how you dread starting your shift/school day/week,

then you get halfway through and begin feeling more positive? Well, for

Primeval this is that episode...sort of.

 

Right from the beginning fun rock music kicks in, and despite the usual

everyday trappings things feel different. The way a potentially

threatening reptile turns out to be "only a python" "AAHH! What the hell

were you expecting?!" "Ow..". Lester's 'interrogation' of Helen, trading

insults back and forth( add 'reality tv show' to Primeval's series list of

genres ). Connor getting to stay with Abby having lost his house key

through an anomaly, much to his mates's amazement. Said mates's

amusement when presumed 'Abby's real boyfriend' Stephen turns up. The

kids with their hands up as Ryan and his soldiers rush by, and Stephen

kicks their ball straight at the 'No ball games' sign. We haven't seen

this much humor since Episode One, and it doesn't ruin or hinder the

episode's drama.

 

The real problem lies with the characters and their well-intentioned if

misguided actions. Helen just wants to avoid being locked up(and will

lie through her teeth to escape). Tom and Duncan just want to know who's

stolen their friend Connor away(and so follow him to work...). Even

Claudia nags Cutter a bit less this episode (funny how it should always

about his ex-wife...). Then some dodos just want to escape a nasty

parasite that's infected their flock- and when Tom and Duncan 'rescue' a

stray dodo, it panics and bites Tom...

 

Meanwhile, Helen escapes through an anomaly, and in a nice touch a

restrained Cutter looks to Stephen, who follows Ryan through... only for

them to find Helen nowhere to be found, and themselves surrounded by

anomalies. It's a great moment, CGI and music included. And now we have

a lot of questions; how will Helen return? Where else do the anomalies

lead? How do Tom and Duncan afford an unusually big and furnished flat?

How does Abby afford her even bigger and furnished flat? And what's

wrong with Tom? Despite the odd bit of CGI green-eye, Tom's plight as he

begins acting erratically due to the dodo's parasite is both unnerving

and sympathetic. Duncan's confusion and fear of his friends- one

untrustworthy, one deadly- obstructs his cooperation with the team. And

the team's new outfits- hazard suits, as they perform an autopsy on the

dodo- can't protect them from the worryingly convincing parasite...

 

So, formula broken. Instead of heroes vs bloodthirsty monsters, it's

vulnerable humans and animals vs a potential epidemic spread by

reluctant carriers. Tom tries to fight the infection, going to the

doctor's and then Abby for help and 'proof'; leading to a cringing Abby

fleeing Cutter's office as a crazed Tom attacks her just after warning

her to keep her distance because he can't help his behaviour. And the

parasite's defeat- under the soldier’s scope lights, as Connor's

now-helpful sci-fi references bring Tom to his senses but not life-

feels less like a victory and more a brief respite. Even Connor's

once-laughable admission of being part of a cover-up conspiracy is

genuine.

 

'Dodo' is a good episode; the point where the show settles into an

accomplished balance of entertainment, ideas and drama. Every episode so

far has served a purpose, like introductions or learning the ropes; now,

Primeval has earned itself some recreation time. And we're all invited... 

Primeval Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6 Review 

'Pterandon' & 'The End Of An Era' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the finale of Primeval Season 1! This

first series packs a lot into just six episodes before changing,

evolving if you will, so let's enjoy the time we have left...

 

"Pterandon" starts with good old entertainment value, as we see two

amateur golfers try to hide their ineptitude from each other; then

swearing ensues as one is brutally eaten alive. This is

offscreen(mostly), but the continued use of words like

"bl***y","h**l","g*t","s**t", and "b***h" isn't, so parents of younger

viewers be warned; and don't join in...

 

What follows is an brilliantly entertaining episode- a 'The Birds'-style mystery as

the team face a deadly flock of Agnuthosaurus. We get explosions ("yeah,

it was me with a zippo and a bottle of flammable gas"), eye candy

(red/bloodstained clothes attract the creatures...), character

development (Helen's actions, Ryan's reactions to certain events, Cutter

and Claudia's relationship), and victory as the team get a nicely-CGI'd

Pterandon back home. There is some silliness, like Claudia's faltering

and Cutter's hunches, but overall this is an action-packed and

well-scored ep.

 

In 'The End Of An Era' however, Claudia(Lucy Brown) is feeling less

positive thanks to bad nightmares after last ep, whilst Abby(Hannah

Spearitt)'s boss Tim Parker(John Voce) and three others go missing. The

unfolding thriller is lovely visually; distorted POV of the inhuman

killer, shadowy and sunlit environments, and improved CGI and sound

effects mixed well with the usual footage. And it helps to pay close

attention- in 'Arthuropleurid' we saw Stephen(James Murray) oddly

bothered by Helen(Juliet Aubrey)'s reappearance, now we see Helen

casually kiss Stephen. Maybe the 'argumentative professor,

impressionable assistant, missing wife' backstory has more to it...

 

Then we get distracted from our human enemies by a more animalistic

threat- but not before seeing the first of this episode's plethora of

memorable moments. A stressed Claudia hides in the bathroom for a moment

of peace; and sees her reflection IS MADE OF ANOMALY SHARDS. The

reflection returns to normal and Claudia puts it down to lack of sleep

and "sexual harassment" after her and Cutter(Douglas Henshall)'s

impulsive kiss last week (...am I reviewing a soap opera by mistake?!).

 

But neither this nor amusing exchanges like "you saved me, yeah, well

you haven't paid this month's rent yet" and "this time we shoot to kill"

"good, I was beginning to feel like a social worker" outshine the star

attraction- the Future Predator. It turns out Helen wants the team to

help her find an anomaly to the future located in the Permian era;

through the Forest Of Dean anomaly from Episode One. As for the

"Predator", it's explained and realised brilliantly- a leathery, bat like

ape, with a throaty growl, lightning-fast movement and a vicious and

protective attitude. Encounters with it, from the ominous beeping of the

oscilloscope to Cutter avoiding it's speedy reflexes by shooting the

glass to mess up it's echolocative senses, show both it's deadliness and

vulnerability.

 

To end the threat and discover it's origins, the team decide to have the

baby predators lead them back to the future(sorry) anomaly. Cutter tells

a willing Stephen to push the irritating Lester(Ben Miller) through the

worst anomaly he can find, Abby notices Stephen staring at Helen rather

than her- and Helen finds her instincts and determination can't prevent

Claudia admitting her attraction to Cutter. But this is nothing compared

to Helen's oblivious smirk and shocked fear later on...

 

Cutter, Ryan, Helen and some soldiers leave for the Permian. Back in the

forest, Connor(Andrew Lee Potts) discovers the autopsy confirms the

Predator Cutter shot was male- making his and Helen's expedition with

the babies bait for the mother. And the expedition find the future is

nothing without the present- due to their repeated stomping around in

the past, the anomaly they've just entered is breaking apart and has

sent them back years before the date it led to in Episode One. The

dawning comprehension when Cutter finds himself taking the very photos

of Helen he found abandoned previously, and tells a confused Ryan the

camp they've just made will be the ruined remains they came across

before is another memorable moment. Then the furious mother Predator

fights to protect her babies from the group and a hungry Gorgonopsid

(the same one as in 'Gorgonopsid' only younger)- allowing two of the

babies to escape unnoticed, causing the aforementioned disruption to the

timeline.

And that's not even the worst part. Captain Ryan tries to protect Cutter

and Helen from the creatures- only to be ripped open by the Predator,

and realize HE was the bony skeleton found amongst the ruined camp in

Episode One. His death at Cutter's side, and Cutter then lifting him up

like Ryan carried him and giving him a makeshift burial is

heartbreaking. Then, the two survivors return through the broken anomaly

before it vanishes forever- and a bitter Helen asks her old lover

Stephen to join her in the anomalies. Stephen, putting his now-shattered

trust with the others above the teasing woman he still feels for,

refuses and she goes back into the past. And Cutter, distracted by this

revelation, realises too late that the past was altered and his

colleagues have been changed- and Claudia's hallucinations were a

symptom of her fate, as now no one has ever heard of her...

 

Alienating and bamboozling your audience can be a risk too far, but this

fantastic episode just about avoids that. The 'history always takes roughly the

same path' concept has been used before( Doctor Who episodes 'Father's

Day' and 'The Waters Of Mars', not to mention some other films/books),

but works excellently here. And as a finale to the series, a goodbye to

Ryan, Claudia, the Permian, the mystery of Helen's disappearance, and

the characters's previous lives at the University/Zoo/Home Office?

 

All I can say is, I can't wait to hunt some more dinosaurs.

Primeval Season 2 Episode 1 Review 'Velociraptor'

Spoilers Ahead  

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to Series Two of Primeval! Series One left

Cutter on a big cliff-hanger, so let's see where he's landed... 

 

We're immediately bowled over(sorry) as an anomaly opens in the bowling

alley of a mall complex- then the fourth wall is also broken into as a

"previously" intro quickly brings us up to speed. Points for helpfulness

and a near-constant catchy soundtrack, but points off for Ryan unnamed

and the music/self-awareness taking us out of the story; worst of all

when the opening credits spoil the new cast before we've seen the

episode.

 

Luckily Cutter doesn't remember narrating this(no "it's been X

months/years" backstory to convolute things either). And already the

place feels different despite the immediate return to the closing

Permian anomaly; Stephen and Connor look older and get plainer more

practical outfits, whilst Abby gets some eyeliner and a more

trigger-happy attitude. Oh, and more clothes, poor viewing figures.

Plus, the massacre of the soldier squad barely an hour ago means no

backup- confirming their existence in this timeline and giving us more

opportunities to see the core team react and develop. Talking of which,

the whole 'old to new' sequence is handled brilliantly; the damaged Dean

anomaly closing permanently with a thundering shock wave effect

reminiscent of 'Dodo’s anomaly junction as Cutter loses his chance to

"make things right" is lovely. And the direction and acting, combined

with the unique and detailed "Anomaly Research Centre" set, is surreal.

Finally, the re-introduction of the team is convincingly handled- Abby's

conflicting concern and scepticism, CONNOR accepting CUTTER'S

wild-sounding "differently evolved" theory, Stephen's anger and guilt

over his affair with Helen. Imagine if she'd told everyone only to be

met with "Huh? That never happened!"- priceless! Or an appearance on

Jeremy Kyle; "I had a tryst with my boss's assistant-in-an-alternate-timeline whilst still married to my colleague's older lover!". And Lester's more world-weary familiarity with the team helps too, as do A.R.C. deputy Oliver Leek(Karl Theobald, Green Wing)'s comedic interactions with him.

 

But what about the 'monster of the week'? A barely offscreen and bloody

end to a pair of security guards introduces us to an always iconic creature; the 

raptor. This rendering of them is fast, vicious and even amusing, as the raptors lob chewed-up skittles  at the guards and attack innocent hook-a-prize machines(wish I could just smash the infuriating things open...). Their appearance is believable but not dull-looking and they're vocalized well; particularly the baby's cries, more than a 'cute toy for the kids' as it goes for a suspicious cleaner's throat and gets eaten alive by its wrongly-assumed family unit.

 

As for the human-related action and humour, it's blended nicely with the

dialogue to avoid any pacing issues. Like Cutter PUNCHING A RAPTOR as it

tries to enter the lift with him and Stephen, then as they ascend you

see it clinging to the lift's underside. And it's exit from the lift

shaft; 'tough guy' Stephen backs away in fear, whilst a wild-eyed Cutter

actually raises his fists for round two! However, parts like the stupid

'race to unconscious Abby', ridiculous 'wheelie+raptor kick', and

illogical 'walk off into the desert' create a gimmicky, contrived feel.

 

The loss of the early episodes’s coherence is at least counterbalanced

by sheer goodwill; the aforementioned desert interactions look and sound

BEAUTIFUL. But then the episode puts one final foot in it with an all

too spoiler, "hello" and response- and then it's do-everything attitude

saves this, with a last second revelation;

 

 

*Camera pans up to Claudia's oblivious, completely different face;

"Jennifer Lewis. Nice to meet you."

 

 

Overall, 'Velociraptor' is a well-rounded episode that uses the 'history

always takes a similar path' idea to great effect. There is a growing

problem with the series, though- time. The small number of episodes

means potential ideas get rushed and underdeveloped, and more lengthy

efforts are resented for taking the place of said ideas. The

schedule/budget problems can be alleviated though; by your thoughts,

these reviews, anything that lets the show and live on. So thank you all

for reading these, and i hope you enjoy them!

 

I still wish an entire series wasn't already over though...I had a

random dream about Series 1 the other night, and in the morning my

reflection looked a bit odd too- what? I already reviewed Series One?

No, i don't remember that, what are you talking about..?

Primeval Season 2 Episodes 2 & 3 Review 'Worms' & 'Sabretooth' 

Spoilers Ahead  

 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! This week we have something a bit different; a glimpse of mythical Primeval spinoff Indiana Cutter, a survival series based on the adventures of anomaly explorer Helen Cutter. The episode opens with an older and rougher looking Helen teaching us how to conserve water, build a radio communications device, handle pterosaur eggs and fake

infected cuts to gain sympathy. There's even a bonus lesson on how to

worm your way(sorry) back into civilisation, as Helen goes from a

believably rugged vista to a believably sized flat. Stephen handles both

finding her in his flat and some entertaining action scenes with

appropriate caution and fear, but the same can't be said for everyone...

 

The visuals and music this ep work wonders, even in flashback to

Cutter's dumbfounded reaction to 'new Claudia' Jenny Lewis. Their

stubborn interactions are already more of a highlight than the previous

lecturing though- and a newfound source of humour, from Cutter's

exasperation at Jenny's disbelieving and snooty demeanour to a

bedraggled and hysterical Jenny, wielding a SAMURAI SWORD, nearly

missing Cutter's thigh( "WATCH...where you're swinging that thing!").

The civilian characters this series are more personable and less 'victim

of the week' too, whilst Connor's suspicion at the reappearance of 'The

Cleaner'( Tim Faraday, Da Vinci's Demons ) is intriguing. His new love

interest Caroline Steel( Naomi Bentley, White Van Man ) also shows

potential, but her unconvincing simpering and Abby's immediate catty

attitude toward both her and Connor feels a little staged. And so does

her matching fighting style- Caroline's later reveal of kickboxing

knowledge fits with her coming plotline, but her rival Abby just

happening to practice the same hobby on top of being the A.R.C.

vetinarian and later botanist?

 

As for the literally dirty-fighting worms, their rendering in both CGI

and effects is done well, as are details like their exploitable reliance

on soldier squad-repelling narrow corridors of gas and detecting hiding

opponents by marking them with noxious spray. Aside from a couple of

badly-characterised reactions, this is a less memorable but more subtle

episode than 'Velociraptor'- an updated 'Arthropleurid', basically. And

the streak of interesting episode endings ends well too, with the twin

revelations that Jenny already has a love interest, Mike( Rupert Young,

Merlin ); and Cutter's decision to avoid risking his and Jenny's jobs by

withholding a photo of Claudia that survived his final trip to the

Permian along with his and Helen's memories. Lastly, this photo has

replaced the one of Helen once in Cutter's wallet- whilst Helen herself

spies on him, updating her knowledge of the plot without need for

repetitive exposition.

 

Unfortunately some characters fare less well in 'Sabretooth'. Stephen's

ignorant gullibility, the theme park boss's exaggerated posturing, the

general naivety of the civilian characters; yet only the kind-hearted

Connor is given dirty looks. He headshots the hidden 'sabretooth' from

metres away amongst a stampeding crowd! And the realisation that his

great new anomaly detection device. simply came on after the anomaly

vanished was obvious! Even this episode's creature didn't escape

unscathed; some of it's colouring and CGI is distracting, and in one

scene the camera POV is made obvious by dirt on the lens.

 

Luckily, this episode also has some great features. The Sabretooth is

particularly well animated and shows both domesticity and terrifying

savagery; Cutter and Jenny's funny love-hate relationship continues; the

action, particularly concerning Cutter, is both hilarious and full of

tension. A twist that Caroline is a spy paid to infiltrate the team also

nicely authenticates her behaviour, although the reveal that Leek is her

traitorous employer is too soon- we barely know him! In conclusion,

'Sabretooth' has more ups and downs than a rollercoaster but is an

undeniably entertaining and dramatic episode.                                

                

Primeval Season 2 Episodes 4 & 5 Review 'Mer-Creature' and 'Scorpion'

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Lets's dive(sorry) right in,

shall we?

Episode 4 starts with this week's civilian victim, the likable-enough

Lucien, being dragged into the sewer by...something. When speculating

about it Connor mentions a fear of rats, ticking the phobia/fear box

alongside his later fear of museums, Stephen's fear of snakes and a

later character's fear of bugs. And another recurring feature is Helen,

or rather her lack of attire(using Stephen's shower; "The only one

within a million miles?" he snarks)- joining her swim in 1.3 and sleep

in 2.2 to make three such appearances in less than 10 episodes! I guess

she took over Abby's duties... speaking of which, props to Hannah

Spearitt. She's getting to be much more than a former S Club 7 member,

joking and crying and growling and lying and even doing some creepy

underwater scenes, all whilst her continued angst is actually justified

this episode. And she's not the only cast member on top form; Cutter is

funny and sympathetic, and Jenny nicer whilst still amusingly stuck up.

However, Connor is a bit too weak and gullible- so Rex got into the

freezer Caroline used by accident? How would she not see a big green

lizard leap in there? And didn't she think such a stunt might blow her

cover? However his "no, I don't care" to Abby's taunting, and Stephen's

courageous actions help cover for all the naivety and paranoia.

Meanwhile, Caroline continues to show suspicious skill for a random

girl- she can fight, always dress perfectly, AND cook? And the best (and

near-only) humour this ep has to be the unspoken contrast between Cutter

bravely belly flopping into the water to rescue Abby, then Stephen diving

neatly in WHILST AIMING A MACHINE GUN. Awesome.

 

We also get our first look at the future this ep, and our first anomaly

trip since 1.4 (which used the same thundering sky effect, so was that

also the future?). It's a wild, beautiful place, possibly set "after

humanity" and home to both the unseen future predators and

aforementioned 'Mer-Creatures'. The Mer are framed well, from their

spooky first glimpses to their walrus-like design, although their CGI

sometimes looks separate from all else whilst not having the

Sabretooth's speed and flexibility to make up for it. Add a Jaws-esque

encounter between Jenny and a futuristic shark, a new side to Leek as he

shows mutinous subservience to a conniving Helen, and a lovely, subtle

moment when a betrayed and alone Cutter wakes up in a dusky basement to

some touching music, and you have a very solid if a little humorless Season-1 

style episode.

 

So how does 'Scorpion' fare? The episode begins in a sunny yet convincingly-cheap looking council estate, as upset pre-teen Taylor stomps away from her stepdad Steve only to end up chasing her dog Spratt into an anomaly. The visuals and music in this ep are improved further, with tunes ranging from exciting to comedic to creepy and no longer fake looking CGI and effects. Not sure if Jenny's tight engagement party dress or 3-months-since-she-arrived comment is unlikelier though- three months since 'Velociraptor'? Doesn't she mean three episodes? The rushed plotlines and characters needed extra episodes between 1.4 and 2.3, so don't do them off-screen! It could be a reference though; two of the four YA Primeval novels are set in early S2( they are; Shadow Of TheJaguar 2.2, The Lost Island 2.2, Extinction Event S2-3, and Fire And Water 3.6.).

 

Anyway, after a comedic exchange when Connor uses various gadgets

including Abby's hairdryer to build a probot( "that thing won't make it

through the pipe, let alone the anomaly"- Stephen is on top form this

episode), Cutter and Stephen venture into the Silurian desert to rescue

Taylor. This mission takes up the bulk of the episode, and is so

well done that I need a list to fully cover it;

 

.It's our best look at what exactly Leek's connection to The Cleaner is.

Turns out The Cleaner and some other soldiers are actually mercenaries

hired to capture various creatures. Seeing them and Leek exchange words

is nice, as is one mercenary's concern for the stranded Taylor; but

their best use is captured via found footage, as Cutter comes across a

dropped head-cam and witnesses the group get killed hours earlier. His

ripping off the head-cam and "they're all dead" is pitched just right.

 

.Taylor. A brief backstory of being left with her stepdad after her mum

hid the extent of her illness will hit home for many, and Jenny having

to tell her lazy but well-meaning stepdad she may have taken a fatal

fall down a construction pipe is a worst nightmare for both Jenny and

Steve. Taylor has good chemistry with Cutter and Stephen too, afraid and

distrustful but brave, and her initial assumption that she's been

hypnotised for some reality TV show is hilarious. "Yeah, and the public

gets to vote which one of us gets eaten first" Cutter responds drolly.

"Aw, it's cooler than Big Brother" the girl replies enthusiastically.

 

.Cutter and Stephen. Cutter's supportiveness is especially valuable in

this episode, and Stephen finds his usual 'action-man' status challenged

by a lack of weapons or sustenance. Cutter's joking "you sound like

Helen" unknowingly hits the mark, and the moment when Stephen gets

dragged beneath the sand hits harder when we've seen that usually means

no coming back. Cutter's subsequent desperate pawing at the sand is both

funny and sad, and Taylor's method of saving Stephen- deliberately

attracting the deadly creatures so they come back up with Stephen- is

crazy. When even Cutter thinks something is a reckless idea...

 

.Their journey. I earlier joked about a potential spinoff based on

Helen's travels, but this ep's 'kind but clumsy academic, handsome but

paranoid tracker, sarcastic schoolgirl' setup is even more entertaining.

Details like the lack of oxygen, dirtied clothes, sandstorms, and need

for water hark back to Series  1's eye for authenticity. The giant

scorpions and millipedes create excitement, with their habit of

detecting any thud on the sand and bursting out( and Stephen's "Sand,

rocks... a few BUGS" and accompanying look to Connor is great- what did

Connor say earlier about the Silurian being a fairly safe period to get

lost in?). And there are some neat twists; like the creatures blocking

the trio's path home as the anomaly closes, Lester appointing Connor,

Abby and Jenny in charge at the presumed death of Cutter and Stephen,

and The Cleaner being revealed to have survived and threatening to shoot

the trio if they don't hand over their supplies and damaged anomaly

detector. Cutter deals with this by sneakily luring the scorpions into

tripping up The Cleaner- then picks up the guy's machine gun and sprays

the sand with bullets, goading the scorpions into EATING THE CLEANER

ALIVE AS STEPHEN QUESTIONS HIM. Our childhood heroes, ladies and

gentlemen!

 

In the end, the trio barely escape the Silurian- only to find themselves

in a gorgeous Palaeolithic forest, home to prehistoric man. The group

then finds themselves face-to-face with a club-wielding caveman,

who Cutter quickly punches out;

 

 

Stephen "That ain't right."

*we see that the 'caveman' is wearing modern-day pants.*

Cutter "...I think I just punched an actor."                                                                                                                                                                                

 

So, our heroes make it home and Taylor gets back to her worried stepdad,

and the episode ends with the head-cam evidence of enemy soldiers being

stolen from Cutter's desk as a news report on the day's events plays.

But at least Connor takes Stephen's romantic advice(and Stephen looks

doubtful afterwards, lol) and dumps Caroline- only by text, prompting

the angry response of the ever-ambitious Caroline kidnapping Rex and

handing him over to Leek's 'menagerie'. Oh, and she captures Rex by

whacking him with a tennis racket. Thank god they didn't make an action

figure of Caroline, or all the cute-animal lovers would be sticking pins

in it... In summary, this is an all-round fantastic episode damaged only

by Stephen and Abby's continued tunnel-vision vendettas against Lester

and Caroline, and a great addition to Series 2-which is almost over...

Primeval Season 2 Episode 6 Review 'Mammoth' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! This time we're tackling the M25-set penultimate episode of Primeval Series 2, so strap yourselves in(sorry)... 

 

We begin the episode with the unwelcome sight of a sun-baked motorway jam, which leads nicely into the reveal that the van in front is obscuring the view of a woolly mammoth. This Ice Age-extra looks more at home in the cartoons though, and the "Wilhelm screaming, help is NOT on the way" handling of the civilians is clichéd.

 

Luckily, the action this episode is a series highlight; from the flying car reflected in a vehicle's windscreen as the occupant gasps, to the blood and glass strewn about as the car Cutter is in gets stomped on, lifted by the mammoth's tusks and turned upside down. And boss Lester gets something more than paperwork and smart remarks this ep- having to fight off a future predator let loose in the ARC whilst the team are out. The direction, evidence Lester has been paying attention as he knows to disorientate the creature with loud music whilst grabbing a gun, and efforts to help his employees root out saboteur Leek cement Ben Miller's place as a necessary part of the team. Lastly, special mention goes to this episode's GREAT cliff-hanger- a knocked-out Cutter groggily reaches out to his pleased ex-wife Helen, only to remember her betrayal as Leek wearily points out HE is who Cutter should be worried about. The captive team's worried expressions turn to confusion and horror as the lights come on and reveal their surroundings, and Cutter sees Helen's reaction is not surprise but an anticipating smile- and as the kidnapped team get to their feet the camera reveals they are in a warehouse full of caged prehistoric killers caught by Leek and his men. Various moments like Stephen's suspicion and doubt over a "secrecy" policy and the sabretooth's offscreen disposal suddenly make sense, whilst the fact that Ryan's soldiers and tracker-hunter Stephen have been sent off on a wild goose chase lends the hostaged team vulnerability rather than incompetence.

 

As for the actors, they do great with the material they've been given- which this week replaces the recurring "why no backup/firepower?" plot hole with various smaller quibbles. Why is nature-respecting Helen fine with Leek's meddling with the anomalies? Why is Cutter allowed to obsess over and blame Helen for everything? Why is he also allowed to take advantage of Connor's loyalty and point a loaded gun in Jenny's face? Why is Abby more concerned with eyeliner and sniping at Connor than getting her stolen and defenceless pet Rex back from the dubious Caroline? Why is Stephen blind to the dangers of getting the public and press involved with the anomalies? And how did Jenny hide a woolly mammoth on the M25 in broad daylight from a WHOLE GROUP of reporters, emergency services, any cameras and at least 20 eyewitness accounts also mentioning the anomaly that someone probably drove through? Jenny is in character and likably focused throughout and journalist Mick Harper( Ramon Tikram, This Life) joins the show to confront the unlikely "obvious cover-up" issue head on, but this isn't quite enough to fix the occasional issues with characterisation or plot.

 

Overall, "Mammoth" is a all-round good episode that aptly represents the faces of Primeval; the engaging direction and music, the flawed but varied and eminently watchable characters, the plots full of effective moments (Abby and Stephen's discussion, Cutter and Helen's acting). This also includes the sometimes silly and contrived dialogue, but that's nowhere near enough to derail things. Meanwhile Cutter, Stephen, Connor, Abby, Jenny and Lester wait to see what Leek and Helen have in store for them- as do we...

Primeval Season 2 Episode 7 Review 'Evolution' 

Spoilers Ahead 

 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last episode saw Primeval's group of scientists and civil servants taken hostage by the traitorous wannabe terrorist Oliver Leek and his accomplice Helen, whilst Stephen and Lester were tricked into suspecting each other instead. With time ticking as Leek's army threaten to unleash primeval hell-en( sorry) on the general public and the end of Series 2 looms just minutes away, who will make it out alive? 

 

Meanwhile, Helen uses her unexpected entrapment amongst the creatures and soldiers to convince Stephen her claim that the A.R.C. and Lester were corrupt is true-and stops him rescuing the team by lying that they have been killed to keep them quiet. This leaves Cutter alone with Leek and more future predators- and upon seeing Lester on Leek's laptop refusing to bargain, Cutter saves himself by breaking the predator's control clamp. Going from a bloodied Cutter and tricked Stephen to Leek screaming as the now-uncontrolled predators pounce on their captor convinces us that the main characters really are in mortal danger, and Leek's final words ''They're going to kill us all!'' is an ominous line. This leaves a pressured Stephen, Cutter and Helen to escape alone as they try to destroy the dangerous creatures by using the feeding alarm to incite them into attacking each other-only for the broken security system to require the door be MANUALLY LOCKED FROM THE INSIDE; 

*The exit is just feet away, perfect for Helen to slip through and save herself. But if 

no-one locks the door, the monsters will get into the streets. And if someone goes in and locks it, they're trapped with a bunch of ill-treated and predatory creatures. 

Then Cutter puts a farewell hand on Stephen's shoulder. Heads for the room. 

Stephen shakes his head, distraught and maddened.

Then he punches Cutter aside and stumbles through the door, locking it shut behind him as Cutter staggers to his feet. 

''Stephen, open the door!'' 

''Can't do it, Cutter. Can't take the risk.'' Stephen tries to smile, but looks terrified. The police and military are on the way, but not soon enough. He has nothing but a gun he earlier used on a raptor, so he backs away toward the growling creatures. Hopefully, this will be quicker than being chased and fought over by them. 

''No, open the door! OPEN IT!''

''Tell Connor and Abby...to stay out of trouble.'' 

Cutter bangs on the observation window as Stephen is surrounded by the creatures. Stephen just stares back at him shakily, trying not to look around.

Then Cutter has to look away. 

He covers his ears, but he can still hear himself crying. 

Leek and his army are no longer a threat. His men are arrested and the future predators, 

raptors, and sabretooth are dead, but Helen has vanished. At a cemetery, Stephen's remains       are buried and Cutter, Jenny, Lester, Connor, Abby, Caroline and others are all in black. As Caroline awkwardly walks away from Connor and Abby reaches for his hand only to change her mind, Lester is quietly informed that there's a new anomaly alert and calls over to Cuttter and Jenny. As they all leave, Cutter turns to Stephen's grave and tears up his photo of Claudia, the pieces like anomaly shards as he turns to the unknowing yet familiar woman waiting for him. Once they have all left, a black-clad Helen places her ammonite on Stephen's grave; surrounded by mercenaries like the Cleaner, impossibly so. The touching violin music is gone, replaced by a strange, ominous cue. 

Then fade to black. 

Overall, ''Evolution'' is a no-loose-ends finale to Series 2 of Primeval. The warehouse is a suprisingly not-bland setting and the writing wraps up Leek's storyline as well as finalising the fact that Claudia is gone forever, not to mention giving the A.R.C. it's first real challenge. The cast rise to this nicely and the creatures are well-utilised and not just a random threat. And finally, we say goodbye to Stephen Hart- one of the original cast members, having worked at the Cutters's side for years before that, and as Helen says to his grave ''Things will change, Stephen. More than you'll ever know.''. So thanks to James Murray for being part of the Primeval team; Stephen's nice stunts, shrewd sense of humor, and passionate but idealistic courage will be missed. 

Next time, we reunite with Primeval for Series 3- and for me, where it all began... 

Primeval Fan Contributions Season 0-6 SPOILERS AHEAD

Hey everyone, welcome to a new incarnation of Primeval Fan Contributions! This one focuses on a wide selection of fanfics and fan-written Primeval stories; a guide to the stories, characters, episodes, settings/locations, story length, age rating, spoiler warnings and authors for your convienience!

(Disclaimer; neither i nor Anomaly21 owns Primeval, nor any of the fan-created content associated with it. Fanfiction.com and various fans are the owners and source of all mentioned content, and neither i nor Anomaly21 takes any responsibility for any interaction with any other Primeval-content offering sites or any conflicts with said fans/parties or Fancfiction.com.)

 

(title- author - age rating/length - series/time/setting,spoileralert,canonical/show accurate or altered events or ALTERNATE WORLD - characters(cameo)/pairings)

Faith- Purpleyin - 11+yrs,shorter - pre-s1,canon? - Helen,Stephen

It's Raining- Anomaliam - 11+yrs,shorter - pre-s1,canon? - Cutter,Stephen

Change Of Focus- Mattmetzger - 15+yrs,shorter - pre-s1,alter - Cutter,Stephen(Helen)

Last Christmas- Alyseci5 - 15+yrs,shorter - pre-s1,canon? - Cutter,Stephen(Helen)

Alternatives- Mattmetzger- 11+yrs,shorter - s1,canon? - Cutter(Stephen,Claudia,Helen,Connor)

Bruised- Baixblackbird - 18+yrs,longer - s1,ALT - Connor,AbbyStephen(Tom,Duncan,Cutter)

Anomaly On 15th Street- Possiblycrazee - 18+yrs,longer - s1,ALT - CutterStephen,ConnorRyan,Abby, Helen

Hard Light- Weezer42 - 18+yrs,longer - s1.6spoil,alt - StephenAbby,ClaudiaCutter,Lester,Helen

Climatology- Sarkazm - 18+yrs,shorter - s1,ALT - ConnorAbby(Cutter)

Forces Of Gravity- Cehsja - 11+yrs,shorter - s2,alt - ConnorAbby(Stephen)

Accidents And Meetings- Isellers - 15+yrs,shorter - s2,canon? - JennyCutter,other

Big Boots To Fill- SolarLunar - 15+yrs,longer- s2.6spoil,canon?- other,Stephen,Leek,Cutter,Lester, Connor,Abby

Deja Vu All Over Again- Ayla pascal - 15+yrs,longer- s2,alt - Abby,Connor,Cutter,Lester,Jenny

Forgotten- Weezer42 - 18+yrs,longer - s2.7spoil,alt - StephenAbby,Lester,Connor,Cutter,Jenny

Celebrations Cycle- Isellers - 15+yrs,shorter - s2.7spoil - Claudia,Jenny,Cutter,Abby,Connor(Ryan, Helen,Stephen,Lester)

Happy Birthday,Helen!- Talliw - 11+yrs,shorter - s2.7spoil,canon? - Helen(Lester,Leek,Stephen,Cutter, Jenny,Connor,Abby)

If The Cap Fits- SolarLunar -15+yrs,longer -s3.1spoil,alt -other,Becker,Jenny,Lester,Cutter,Connor,Abby

Fracture- Celeste9 - 15+yrs,longer - s3,alt - Becker,Jenny,Lester,other,Cutter,Connor,Abby(Sarah)

Life Is But A Dream- Theblacksunsdaughter- 11+yrs,shorter - s3.3spoil,alt - Cutter,Claudia,Stephen (Ryan,Helen)

Death Doesn't Want Us- Shakespeare's lemonade- 11+yrs,longer - s3.3spoil,alt - Cutter,Stephen(Helen)

Gravity- Dragonheartt - 11+yrs,longer - s3.5spoil,canon? - Abby,Connor,Caroline,Jack,Stephen,Sarah, Becker,Cutter,Danny

Contact- Theblacksunsdaughter - 11+yrs,shorter - s2'3,alt - Jenny(Stephen,Connor,Sarah,Danny,Cutter)

A Knife In The Dark- Celeste9 - 18+yrs,longer - s3.4spoil,alt - Becker,Jenny,Helen,Danny(Patrick,Abby)

Dating Calculator- Rubytronix - 15+yrs,longer - s4.3spoil,alt - ConnorAbby,CutterEmily,DannyChristine

MattJess,Sarah,Becker,Lester

2015- Bellalyse Winchester - 15+yrs,shorter - s4.1spoil,alt - ConnorJenny,Abby(Cutter)

Found- Fluff-n-utter1 - 15+yrs,shorter - s5.1spoil,alt - Gideonother,April,Helen(Phillip)

Ghosts- Anomalydetected -11+yrs,shorter - s5.6spoil,canon? - ConnorAbby,Cutter,Sarah(Stephen,Ryan

Death's Garden- Shadowoftheforgottenones- 11+yrs,shorter- s5.5spoil,canon?- Ryan,Stephen,Cutter

Back To The Start- Moriarty's Cat - 15+yrs,longer - s5.6spoil,alt - ConnorAbby,(all good guys)

31 Days Of Halloween 2015- Theblacksunsdaughter- 15+yrs,shorter- s5.6spoil- All,no Sarah'Ethan'Leek

Dawn- Faemelody - 15+yrs,longer - s5.6spoil,alt - other,DannySarah,CutterClaudia,BeckerJess,Lester, MattEmily,Stephen,Jenny,Helen,Leek,Ethan,Phillip

Inside The ARC Armoury- saresare - 11+yrs,shorter - s5.6spoil,canon? - (All)

'These creatures...in a fair fight, humanity wouldn't stand a chance.'

'Well speaking as a mammal, i'm all in favour of cheating.'

'We prepare for every scenario up to and including alien invasion, then this happens. So much for thinking outside the bloody box!'

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