Saturday, May 12, 2007

Primeval (Episode 3)

If Primeval does fun and adventure well then it's weak spot is emotion. Episode Three begins with a swimmer diving from a springboard and being snatched out of mid-air by a great big sea-beastie, this spectacle is later followed by a plumber being devoured in a suburban basement and a prehistoric underwater battle for Doctor Cutter. In these scenes the show is successful as usual. The monsters interact with the actors and the setting realistically; although the water Abbie and Connor were stuck in with the monster did seem a little shallow to hold a creature that big. More fun is to be gleaned from Mark Wakeling's team of Special Forces soldiers containing Prehistoric threats, this week in the style of 24.

Also as usual Spearritt and Lee Potts are having fun. Their interplay sparkles and counterbalances the rather dreary turns from the rest of the cast. Ben Miller seems to have mistaken this programme for The Chucklebrothers while Douglas Henshaw does emotionally scarred by speaking softly and looking a bit sad. It's not that he's acting badly but that the Professor seems to be the least developed character in the series. This is a flaw when he's the lead role. James Murray too is back to a one dimensional performance this week after showing some spark of personality in the previous episode.

The emotionally fraught scenes concerning Cutters realisation that his dead wife is not so much dead as living in the prehistoric age (same difference?) slow the story down and show up flaws in the script that excitement and slick editing otherwise mask. For example how does Cutter know where this temporal fault line is? Come to that why does a zoologist know so much about space/time mechanics? How has Helen Cutter survived for eight years in a prehistoric world full of carnivorous beasties with only one change of clothes? Would even the geekiest of geeks really be looking forward to watching Battlefield Earth with directors commentary? Perhaps the writers have confused geeks with Scientologists?

Next week the Home Office interrogate Helen Cutter while she threatens the country with Sabre Toothed monsters. Howsa..? Let's hope there's more tooth and less jaw.

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