First off, a site note: The site looks wonky because I’m in the process of redesigning. I’m testing different things out so things will keep changing until I’m happy.
For the past few weeks The Husband and I have been watching the British science fiction drama “Primeval.” We had heard many good things about it and wanted to check it out. Despite the low picture quality via Netflix streaming we started watching.
The premise: All across the world (although primarily in Britain, apparently) anomalies have started appearing in all their glowy, crystally glory. Through these anomalies creatures from the past pop in and out. Each anomaly goes to a different time period and in the beginning there was no way to tell where they were, when they would open and where they would lead to.
A group of scientists lead by college professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) are assigned by the government to check out these anomalies, identify any creatures that escape and get them back through to their own time. In addition to this task, they have Cutter’s (believed-to-be-dead) wife popping in and out of anomalies wreaking havoc with the groups mission and their lives.
With this premise I could have really loved this show but sometimes I can barely tolerate it – and here’s why: for characters that are supposed to be so smart, they are so damned stupid.
After a deadly spore that is spread by touch is brought through an anomaly, any self-respecting scientist would approach the next anomaly with some kind of protective gear, right? Apparently not.
After deadly creature after deadly creature strolls through the glowing spheres, any intelligent human being would bring backup or at least wear protective clothing before getting near it, right? Wrong again!
And after going through an anomaly to almost die from an attack by a pack of ferocious, nasty, future beasties, the next time these geniuses went through the same anomaly you would think they’d bring along an army, wear copious amounts of body armor and carry more than a backpack full of stuff that they can’t reach without stopping and pulling it off first, right?
I think you get my point. For characters that are supposed to be the smartest in their field, they don’t learn anything. And it all comes down to lazy writing. If these characters behaved ‘in character’ it certainly would make the writers’ jobs much harder to get them into nearly-unsolvable situations. They only act smart when it fits the plot.
I like a good overall plot – and Primeval has that – but for me to really like (or love) a television series, the characters have to be strong or at least consistent. The 80’s are over – this kind of writing should not be making it to the air.
The ‘mythology’ of Primeval is strong and that is why I continue to watch it, but I often make fun of the characters as I do so – and not in a fun way. We watched the last episode last night (a new season is apparently planned) and when they walked through that anomaly without a shred of protection on their person other than their oh-so-stylish flannels and t-shirts I said, “They all deserve to die and I don’t think I’ll care if they do.”
That is not how a show should come off to a viewer, especially one aimed at sci-fi geeks who are notoriously loyal.
And when a major character dies – especially THE main character – I should at least think “Gee, that’s sad,” instead of . “Huh. Didn’t expect that. Oh well.”
That being said, I will continue to watch through Netflix but this is definitely not a series I will ever need to own.