Thursday, June 27, 2013

Primeval: New World

You gotta hand it to SyFy. Why spend your own money making an expensive supernatural or fantasy show when you can just get some Canadian stuff cheap and slap it on your network as an "original series?" And let's be honest, they totally blew their allowance making Defiance which probably costs 1 million dollars per episode in silicone prosthetics alone.

I know about prosthetics because I watch Face Off!

In the past few weeks, SyFy debuted two new summer series, Sinbad (which fellow TV Slut Arsenic Pie will be reviewing soon) and Primeval: New World. Both are international imports like Lost Girl, but unfortunately, both are kind of terrible.

If a show called Primeval seems vaguely familiar to you, it's because it was first a British series. It lasted several seasons and involved a group of scientist and military types that investigated fractures in time and space (called "anomalies") in London that allowed prehistoric creatures to wander into our modern era. Basically, someone at the BBC was like, "we need a show about dinosaurs rampaging through downtown London" and this is the concept that was agreed upon.

The original Primeval was actually a fairly entertaining program. It was fun escapism and the characters were interesting. Also: dinosaurs. They are always a good thing. CHOMP. The original Primeval also managed to pull off one of the most ballsy, unexpected storyline twists in its second season that had me breathless. Even if you didn't like the changes (I won't spoil anything here in case you want to check the series out on Netflix streaming), you gotta give the show props for being willing to go there.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Primeval: New World. I don't think Primeval was all that successful in its 62 episode run, but apparently the people in Canada really like dinosaurs. So they just took the same basic concept (anomalies opening up with dinosaurs coming through) and moved it across the pond. There's some attempt to connect it to the original series, one of the characters show up in the pilot and in later episodes, but for the most part, Primeval: New World is operating independently.

"Oh, excuse me sir, you dropped something back there...."

And that's kind of the problem. In the original British series, you followed a cohesive team of people trying to contain the monster threat. But on Primeval: New World it's just a bunch of random people all running around trying to figure out why there are dinosaurs in Canada.

The main character, Evan, first encountered the anomalies six years earlier when his wife was eaten by  T-Rex. Whoops! Good thing he's a millionaire with his own tech company and can create a special R+D division dedicated to investigating the anomalies. He's aided by some folks from within his company and a few people from the local Predator Control division (is that a thing?), but they aren't a coherent team by any stretch of the imagination. This means that the first few episodes basically consist of everyone conducting their own investigation and then running into each other at the anomaly sites being all, "what are you doing here?" I'm sure the point of the first season is watching them all come together into a badass group of dino hunters, but who's got the time for that?

All in all, it's somewhat entertaining I suppose, but the didn't hold my attention. The acting is kind of hit or miss and like I said, there are some basic plotting problems. You're much better off watching the original Primeval which is available on Netflix streaming.

Well, they get points for putting feathers on their dinosaurs. Science!

Primeval: New World airs on SyFy Saturday nights at 10pm.


Clovis said...

"The main character, Evan, first encountered the anomalies six years earlier when his wife was eaten by T-Rex."

Am I a horrible person for thinking this should really be the first line of a summary of a new wacky sit-com?

Also, I was surprised to read this entire post and not see a single "Clever Girl" reference. Step it up, Maggie Cats. If we can count on a Jurassic Park reference from anyone, it's you.

Maggie Cats said...

Eh, it's too obvious.

Also, nobody in this show is clever. Not the dinosaurs or the people.

Though I am rooting for the dinosaurs.