Sunday, 16 January 2011


Primeval - Series Four, Episode Four. Saturday morning detention at McKinnon School turns unforgettable for three kids... as their teacher is killed by a prehistoric creature.

Meanwhile, anomaly traveler Emily (Ruth Bradley) is with Matt (Ciarán McMenamin) at his appartment and, at the ARC, Philip (Alexander Siddig) announces to Abby (Hannah Spearitt) that all the creatures of the menagerie should be destroyed. Which puts Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) in an awkward position.

Axed by ITV but resurrected by a funding deal involving UKTV's channel Watch and BBC America, Primeval is back for 13 new episodes split into "series four" and "series five" and filmed in Dublin with incentives from the Government of Ireland. It cannot be denied that the fourth series often shouts "cost containment" and that in it the good city of "London" looks as empty as in an episode of The Avengers. But for now this new series is definitely a MAJOR improvement from the calamitous previous one.

Screenwriter Paul Gerstenberger (note that name) delivers a pleasant "The Breakfast Club meets The Lost World: Jurassic Park", an episode starting like a John Hughes movie with three teenage kids in detention - two boys and a girl (« Im' going on X Factor and then I'll be famous. ») Then the script toys with what you may fear from a vending machine. And the one who gets the food at the end of the pre-credits sequence is not the kids'teacher.

Apparently Philip Burton holds a grudge against Rex since the previous episode and wants to put down all the creatures of the ARC's menagerie. Which complicates Burton fanboy Connor's relationship with Abby but he must go a huntin' with Becker (Ben Mansfield) and Matt Anderson - who doesn't want to talk about his school days. Lester (Ben Miller) is back after a one-episode absence and has a great scene with Philip (« Burton the dinosaur killer »). We'll see if Burton is another Christine Johnson or if his company is not named "Prospero Industries" by chance.

Young actress Lauren Coe, who plays Beth, has her Molly Ringwald/Mia Sara moment (« Outside of a Seth Rogen film is a girl as hot as me really going to fall for a tragic geek like you. ») and who could believe her character would... [Awmygod alert] Ethan (Jonathan Byrne) surfaces again and thank you to the "Next Time" trailer for ruining the effect of the last scene of the episode (« Please Ethan. »)

A very enjoyable variation on the "Monster-of-the-week" chase from writer Paul Gerstenberger, directed by Cilla Ware. Great score by Stephen McKeon. And Brendan McCormack plays the unfortunate teacher, "Mr George". Shopping mall security personnel must have a break sometimes.

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