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Primeval 1 [DVD] [Import]
Primeval was created by Britain's ITV as a big-budget primetime Saturday rival to the success of the BBC's Doctor Who. But unlike some efforts to buy big ratings, there's actually a lot of entertainment throughout the series. The crux of the show surrounds a series of strange creatures from both the future and the past who appear to be roaming around in the present day. So what's going on? And what can be done about the dinosaur-esque creatures, big insects, and assorted parasitic life forms that are suddenly roaming the Earth? That's where professor Nick Cutter and his team come in, and the fun really begins.
A surprisingly human action-drama, Primeval clearly draws influence from Doctor Who, and while it never really threatens to rival it, it is nonetheless a good show in its own right. The special effects are suitably smart, but, more importantly, there's also a half-decent script at the heart of things, and that really does help lift the show.
The second season finds Cutter and his team once again dealing with creatures quite literally out of their time. But this time, Primeval has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Because while the convention for much of season 1 was that the creatures that faced Cutter and his crew were arriving from the past, this time round there are monsters from the future to worry about too. Cue the likes of a woolly mammoth on the motorway, and a raptor-esque chase around a shopping center. The show then blends in some twisty narratives surrounding the characters themselves, which--while not particularly intricate or surprising--do keep up the fun, and it does its best to throw as much at the screen as it can. Primeval is very good fun, worth rewatching, and suitable for family viewing too. --Jon Foster
Superb as the gleefully bad, inimitable Helen, see Juliet Aubrey as a whip-welding denizen of Midsomer County, before she became a scary paleontologist, in "Country Matters," Midsomer Murders: Barnaby's Casebook, Volume 4.
Series 4 and 5 are available, it turns out, in badly labeled Primeval: Volume Three! Just found out that Primeval: Volume Three actually is REGION 1, Season 4: Episodes 1-7, and Season 5: Episodes 1-6. It was released Jan 10, 2012. Many fans are upset, as the product description made us think this was the old 3 we already saw, and that we had to buy the U.K. version to get anything past Series 1, 2, 3 of the first two volumes. But Volume Three isn't Series 3, it's the NEW Season 4 & 5! Sadly, the show suffers from the lack of the villainous Helen, the excellent Alexander Siddig isn't given much to chomp on. Some of you may enjoy old-fashioned fare from a previous era: Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Story 71). It's the one with the wonky dinosaurs, so be sure to watch the Specials on Disk 2 first, for a great making-of (bemoaning the "special effects"), and an interview with the late Elisabeth Sladen. And also features Jon Pertwee, the closest thing to David Tennant's intense Doctor Who. Enjoy!
I've seen parts of this series on BBC-USA, and had to get the whole thing.
If you are into Doctor Who and some of the other BBC Sci-Fi high-quality productions using computer graphics integrated onto green-screen to enhance the story and the acting, then this series is a must-see.
If you don't want to watch the usual mainstream American TV, try this. You won't be disappointed.