Sunday, October 19, 2008
Have you ever watched a program that you aren't really enjoying, but yet keep watching in the hopes that it might get better? Or worse, you realize you've committed yourself to watching it and now you just want to see how it ends? If so, then you understand how I feel about the television show Primeval on BBC America, which has only two episodes left this season. It seemed like it was going to be exciting. Crystallized anomalies begin appearing that are dimensional gateways linking our time with periods in history when dinosaurs and other primitive creatures roamed the world. So now dinosaurs are stepping through and wreaking havoc on present-day England. Of course all the dinosaurs are violent creatures, and of course our merry band of palaeontological and zoological heroes always save the day. (OK, in all fairness, the episode with the pterodactyl turned out not to be violent, and that was a positive episode with its "let's save the animals" theme, but then again pterodactyls are my favorite dinosaurs.) The whole show is based on computer animated dinosaurs. In other words, it's a special effects show. Fine, no problem. But the acting is stilted, and the editing is often choppy in linking plotlines (you feel like you're missing something at times). Even worse, the writing is drab and uninspiring, and whenever it makes an attempt at emotions, it teeters on melodrama. And why do I have so many questions that I know they're never going to answer? For instance, why are the anomalies only reaching back to millions of years ago or potential futures? Why isn't Robin Hood coming through the anomaly? (Oh, wait, that's because he's on another BBC show.) And why only England? There are no other anomalies opening anywhere else in the world? There was only one major plot twist in the show that worked well: the "oops, we just changed our future" episode when a major character disappeared and no one but lead Nick Cutter remembers she ever existed. But of course how disappointing and predictable was it that they resolved this "mystery" with the return of said character as a newer, fresher, sexier, snob with a new name, just to confuse Cutter. And while I'm at it, why has no one commented on the fact that immediately when that plot twist took place, everyone on the program suddenly had a new hairstyle, including Cutter, who shouldn't look different since he was on the other side of the anomaly? Am I really the only one who noticed everyone looked different from before? Considering how successful the BBC has been in the US lately, airing its programs on BBC America and Sci-Fi and licensing new versions of shows in the US (e.g. the new ABC show Life on Mars was originally a BBC show), it's a shame to see how Primeval has faltered. Doctor Who it is not. It just goes to show that you can't depend on dinosaurs alone. They make terrible actors.