Tag Archives: Primeval

Good…could’ve been great

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.

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PrimevalFor 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.

What I’m Watching, May 2011

What I'm Watching, May 2011

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have cable and we live too far out in the country to pick up any digital signals with our antennae, even with a converter box. So, we watch things on video and through Netflix instant streaming. (The instant streaming is awesome, by the way. It’s no extra cost to us and we can finally watch shows we missed.)

So, here’s a list of TV shows I’ve been watching in the past few months

  • That 70’s Show
    We watched the first few seasons of this show when it originally aired and liked it well enough. We moved a few years into its run and since we couldn’t get Fox to come in at our new house, we never watched it again. So, when we saw it was on Netflix instant streaming, we put it on the queue. 

    It’s not the best or most original situation comedy, but it was enjoyable enough and despite some pretty bad acting (especially in the beginning) there were some very memorable characters.

    We watched it all the way through to its last season. It had its ups and downs but pretty much kept a consistent quality throughout. Losing its two most popular teen characters in the last season did hurt it a bit but not as much as I expected.

  • Bones
    When this procedural show premiered, neither my husband nor I had much interest. I’m not a big fan of procedural shows unless there’s a nice twist or interesting characters (i.e. “Castle”) and my husband is not a big fan of David Boreanaz. 

    However, I kept hearing good things about the show and how well Boreanaz was doing (I do like him and have always found him quite charming despite the husband’s sometimes-intense dislike) so I tried out an episode on Hulu. I watched a few more and decided it was a show that I would like to try. I also thought that it was something the husband would like as well if he could get over his Boreanaz-hate.

    I finally convinced him and it didn’t take long for us both to become hooked. It’s a procedural but mixes the approaches of other crime-fighting shows. While “Castle” focuses on motive and “CSI” focuses on forensics, “Bones” focuses on both. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, finds the physical evidence while FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth focuses on the heart of the matter (murder).

    The other characters that assist Brennan are just as (and sometimes more) interesting as the two leads. We’re both eagerly waiting for the next season of the show to become available.

  • Flash Forward
    My husband writes a DVD Review column and he received the first half of this show’s one and only season for review on DVD so we checked it out. 

    The premise was very intriguing – everyone in the world blacks out at exactly the same time for a few minutes and sees the future for a specific date and time.

    The show focuses on the FBI agents in charge of investigating the incident, how it came about, who’s responsible and how to prevent future blackouts.

    I’m not sure that it deserved future seasons but I liked it well enough to finish the program. It’s not going to go on any of my favorites list but I don’t regret spending the time to watch it.

  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    I’ve been a fan of the Monty Python group since my college roommate introduced me to them in the early 1990s. They had my heart the second the Frenchmen flung the cow over the castle wall. 

    However, I had never seen the original “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” television program and that’s just inexcusable.

    So, we’ve been watching these sporadically over the last few months. Like any other sketch comedy some skits are good, some not so good, but more often than not these guys have me cracking up at the silliest things.

  • The Office
    I like Steve Carell. Some of his movies are shit (excuse my bluntness, but they are – Almighty Evan, anyone? Ugh.) but I like Carell despite some of his career choices. I honestly find him very sexy. 

    I had heard of “The Office,” of course, and knew that it was very popular but I never had the chance to watch it. Netflix has it available on instant streaming so we gave it a try.

    Ugh. That first season was so bleah. It wasn’t awful but neither I nor my husband could figure out what the big deal was. What is so funny about a man making a fool of himself and his subordinates making faces at a camera?

    But, we stuck it out and continued to season 2. (Fortunately, season 1 was very short). Starting with the very first episode of season 2 it all seemed to click and we’ve been hooked ever since. The characters started doing more than making ‘isn’t this guy an idiot?’ faces at the camera and became defined characters with their own strengths and flaws which, in turn, made Michael Scott (Carell) more tolerable.

    And not only is it freakin’ funny, it has a lot of heart without being sentimental. There’s always at least one moment in each episode that’s a bit touching and it never seems forced or unrealistic.

  • Party Down
    We checked this show out because of who created it and some of the cast members. We loved, loved, loved “Veronica Mars” and “Party Down” was co-created by Rob Thomas, the brains behind “Mars.” 

    It starred Ryan Hansen from VM along with several other actors that we like (Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Lizzy Caplan) so we decided to check it out.

    It’s not great, but it has some truly funny moments. It follows the (almost always pathetic) lives of a group of caterers and the hijinks that ensue at their various jobs around Los Angeles.

    It’s not a laugh-out-loud type of comedy but it can be quiet entertaining.

  • Penn & Teller’s Bullshit
    I’ve only seen a few episodes but so far I’m liking this one. Penn Gillette can be rather acerbic, but he seems to be honest and fair when he tears certain things down such as the Boys Scouts, the Obesity epidemic and Prostitution. 

    It certainly helps that more often than not, I agree with them 100 percent.

  • Phineas and Ferb
    I’ve written about this show on this blog already, but I have to mention it again. 

    Pure Awesomeness. (Yes, I meant to capitalize both words.)

  • The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    Being fans of the original films (I don’t even hate the third) this was a no-brainer. Closely following the film’s continuity, this show covers the time between the second and third films following the adventures of Sarah Connor, her son John, another Terminator sent from the future to protect them and John’s uncle also sent from the future to help. 

    What I particularly like about this show is that it shows how John Connor turned into the hero that we all know he is to become. I like him on this show much more than any of the movies in which he appeared.

    (NOTE: I have not seen the fourth movie yet, with Christian Bale. That’s on our list and we plan to see it after we’re done with the series.)

We have recently (last night, actually) started watching “Primeval” but I’m not sure if I like it yet or not. The premise is interesting but so far, I don’t like the characters very much. They’re all very cliche right now but I’m hoping that will change soon.