Having been rightly admonished for not taking the ‘short’ part of this blog’s remit seriously in recent posts, here’s a ‘back to basics’ initiative with which to end the month …
All credit to Canadian cable channel SPACE for saving the Primeval franchise from oblivion, but I’m a little puzzled by what they’re really trying to do with it now that they have it. This is less of a continuation or reboot of the series than it is a return to and remake of the very first season that aired on ITV in 2007: a brilliant scientist (Evan Cross, played by Niall Matter) – complete with mystery over the fate over his dead wife – encounters time anomalies and duly gathers together a team of talented amateurs to investigate and to deal with the pesky dinosaurs that keep slipping through.
While the series now has a North American production style to it, in almost every other way Primeval: New World is unchanged from the earliest episodes of the original series (albeit slightly more adult and less kid-focussed) and after three episodes things have quickly settled down into the familiar old ‘monster of the week’ jeopardy/chase formula. The dinosaur FX are passable, but oddly despite the passage of five years feel at times less convincingly ‘real’ than the CGI in the 2007 show. The recurring cast here are also fine but less fun and largely unmemorable, with for me only the character of security guard Mac Rendell (Danny Rahim, ironically the sole Brit in the cast) standing out and making much of an impression so far. Others with potential such as Miranda Frigon as Cross’ icily deadpan business partner Angelika Finch and Geoff Gustafson as quirky army contact Lt. Ken Leeds have been sadly under-utilised.
The show is overall fine but unremarkable, a pleasant enough diversion for an hour but at the end of which it’s hard not to ask why it’s there and what the point of it really is. Hopefully, as the 13-part series rolls out, it’ll find an answer to that question. Or maybe not, since it took its predecessor long enough to find a satisfactory answer of its own.
Primeval: New World is currently airing on UK Watch on Tuesdays at 9pm. The first series of Primeval was previously reviewed here.