Wednesday, 25 March 2009


The series 3 of Primeval had its premiere in Germany on Monday, March 23, five days before ITV1.

A new series of the show created by Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges is an event not only for sci-fi fans because it's a high-profile show with production costs we can imagine up to the spectacular sequences Impossible Pictures, which produces for ITV and satellite "Free tv" German Network ProSieben (which runs Primeval - Rückkehr der Urzeitmonster), delivers since 2007. Remember that the estimated budget of Series 1 was of £ 6 million (with French private channel M6 co-producer at the time).

Professor Nick Cutter (the excellent Douglas Henshall) and his team investigates on "anomalies" in time which allow prehistoric creatures to move into modern England. They operate for the ARC (Anomalies Research Centre) under the direction of James Lester (versatile and talented Ben Miller), a cynical elegant government official. Cutter's wife Helen (Juliet Aubrey) is no stranger to some of the events leading to the intrusion of creatures of the past and the future.

Riveting Series 2 cliffhanger concluded an incredible seven episode story-arc, with the dramatic demise of Stephen Hart (James Murray) and the revelation that Helen Cutter- who makes The John Simm version of The Master look like a sane and well-balanced person - lead an army of clones of her "Cleaner" paramilitary.

ITV expects a lot from Primeval 3, after the costly Demons and Philip Glenister minus the Quattro but with "that accent". The prestige of Primeval is the perfect ticket to rating redemption as the show is a global hit and even impressed US viewers (thanks to BBC America). The third series is one of the most awaited UK shows of the Spring season with Ashes to Ashes Series 2 and a Doctor Who special. ITV/AMC remake of The Prisoner being lost in South African sands until november.

The masterminds behind Primeval are the champions of the radical format surprise (see what happened after Series 1 cliffhanger) but the Series 3 opener, with its mythological if not esoterical orientation, leaves the mixed feeling that we're watching a certain well-known North American tv sci-fi franchise. The monster of the week is linked to an Egyptian monument in the British Museum and Sarah Page, an egyptologist (Laila Rouass), earns a job at the ARC with a scene which could easily get the Shark Jump Award - ex aequo with the sequence with the elevator (sorry).

Other casting newbies are Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield), who will certainly not replace Stephen Hart (is he really dead, anyway?) and ex-MI6 Christine Johnson (Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Ben Miller's wife), the new boss of James Lester with the usual hidden agenda a la Spooks. And Helen Cutter has something she's desperately seeking but for what purpose? The ending with Helen is really impressive and is the sole reason in this episode to keep hope that the show will not completely morph into "Primeval SG1".

Till now Primeval is a great television series, we'll see in the next episodes if Series 3 has jumped the shark, should that shark be from the future or the past.

Post-scriptum: Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) is, er... "connoresque" at a gratuitous level, and Abby (Hannah Spearritt) suffers from the Sarah Page introduction.

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