Sunday, March 29, 2009

TV: Primeval 3 Kick-off Leaves Me P...

Well there's only one way to finish the title, isn't there. I CANNOT believe that the creative folks behind the British TV series Primeval STILL can't get an intelligent person or two to PROOF READ the scripts before they get filmed and have them point out obvious flaws!

The kick-off to the new season Saturday introduced some neat new SF elements into the time-traveling show (well, at least the baddies and the monsters do a fair bit of time travel). The team is back, intact, which I'd heard was not going to the case. The one exception, Steven (James Murray), is gone the way of the dinosaur, literally, but Prof. Nick Cutter (Doug Henshall) and assistants Abby (Hannah Spearitt) and Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) haven't forgotten him. In addition, we have two key government figures still around, the helpful Jenny (Lucy Brown) and the snarky, one-liner machine, Sir James (Ben Miller). Because we don't have enough dark-haired beauties in the show, Sir James has a new boss with an agenda (Christine Johnson, played by Belinda Stewart-Wilson) instead of his flunky with an agenda, Leek, from last year.

Right off the bat, we are introduced to the new head of the security team, Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield) and I'm thinking my main complaint from last year will be addressed. The soldiers ALWAYS disappear when things with the monster of the week get interesting. I KNOW it's a budget issue. But it's completely and utterly idiotic that the professor and his two young assistants would be in the lead position of tangling with the multi-ton nasties they encounter each week. But it will be different this year. Right?


A gator on steroids comes through a portal and lands smack dab in the middle of a museum. It gets out cuz somebody opens a door. Isn't that ALWAYS the way things go? It kills the boss lady, but finds her red outfit disagreeable and decides not to eat her (as good an explanation as anything else), before setting off for more agreeable food. It kills a few times more, but apparently has a no-munching policy.

The captain appears and disappears during the subsequent chase, while ALL OF HIS MEN congregate back at the museum. If they are there to stop further intrusions from within the anomaly, they do an INCREDIBLE job of being inconspicuous doing it.

Meanwhile, the gator thing is being chased by the unarmed professor and Abby, who sports a dart gun and a mean karate kick. After the obligatory tour by the monster through a local mall (same as last year) and the obligatory ride in the elevator (same as last year), the chasers and the chasee meet up. And SURPRISE!, the monster escapes. The gator has had enough and goes back to the museum to seek a way back to the warmth and time of its own. It takes the river route again, even though Abby DOES point out the river must feel like a cold shower, since it's been apparently hanging around the Nile River back in its own time.

And here's where sanity REALLY comes off the hinges. It comes back THROUGH A DIFFERENT DOOR. Not just to the room where the the anomaly is, but to the museum ITSELF!!!! Just how many doors does a museum closing for the night HAVE OPEN?!?!?

You think THAT'S BAD? It gets worse. The gator's in the room with the squadful of soldiers (who have been otherwise hiding since they entered the museum), and seems determined to cause a ruckus while it seeks the exit back home. It snaps and snarls and makes like a dumb brute. The captain wants to shoot the thing. Good idea? Yes. But the newest member of the team has a better idea. Not Captain Becker, but Dr. Sarah Page (Laila Rouass). She suggests they BOW DOWN in supplication to the monster. She's an Egyptologist and more or less, thinks this monster is the living embodiment of an ancient Egyptian deity, despite being told minutes before, it's a refugee from 55 million years ago. Abby agrees, suggesting a wounded, violent animal my not be moved to violence by the offering up of heads on a platter. The gator thinks about it for a second, everybody gets to bend back from the green screen, and then it turns around and heads for the anomaly exit.


I know there is a really lame attempt to cover up for this inanity later in the show and start the series off onto a different path. Cutter has a EUREKA! moment and decides all the monsters of myth are probably based on past anomalies allowing creatures from different time periods to pop up and give substance to their legends. The team will be tracking down the old monsters of myth and try to find the anomalies that allowed them to come through. Or something like that.

But monsters used to having people prostrating themselves before them? And too picky to satisfy a hunger? And gifted with GPS? And ... why oh why do they have to screw this up so royally?

Oh, and yes, nasty old Helen (Juliet Aubrey) makes her end-of-show appearance to complete the existing cast's return. Just like last year. ARRRGGHHHH!!!!

I loved the first season of Primeval. There were a handful of good episodes in season two. But I'm thisclose to calling it quits before the writing on this show sends me 'round the bend. We'll see next week.

1 comment:

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