Have you ever felt like a little vacation from reality? Primeval is a British science fiction show that didn't get the attention it deserved compared to Dr.Who and Torchwood. I will say Primeval doesn't require any deep intellectual commitment on the viewer's part. Actually, it would be best if you can forget to think at all while watching this. It's all light and fluffy fun, something you can enjoy and relax with. Okay, light fluffy fun that involves the occasional person being eaten by dinosaurs. But sometimes part of the fun is guessing who is going to scream horribly and die tastefully off screen.
I didn't see Primeval while it was on the air, but I'd heard good reviews so when I saw the library had the whole series I decided to put the first volume on hold. I had the second on hold before I finished the first DVD. There's a decent story arc, the characters are enjoyable, and the writing and acting is solid. It was funny in parts, tugged on my heartstrings in places and even surprised me a time or two. The special effects are a bit spotty, so if you can't stand CGI dinosaurs and the occasional funky cartoonish background, this isn't for you. But if you can forgive or even enjoy the dinosaurs, giant insects and future predators, it's good fun.
The story? Holes in time have appeared, allowing dinosaurs, mammoths and monsters to roam through modern day England. The holes lead to the distant past and not distant enough future. Various villains are seeking to use the holes to further their agendas. Our heroes run around trying to close the anomalies and get the monsters back on the far side, all while trying to figure out what's causing them to appear in the first place. The extras mostly run and scream. Sometimes the extras even run fast enough. Our heroes are fairly archetypal: there's the professor/team leader with some truly grim relationship issues; the action hero/gun boy (someone has to shoot the monsters); the feisty, clever girl (if there's only one female lead in a genre show she must be gutsy, smart and cute); and the socially inept, klutzy, technical genius (because someone has to be comic relief). Despite the archetypes I really liked a couple of these characters. They felt right for the show and the character interactions were enjoyable.
Now that I've watched the whole thing in rapid succession I was happy to read that they started filming series 4 and 5 in March 2010 and will be airing the 13 new episodes in 2011. I'm also glad I watched it on DVD. I won't have to wait as long to see what happens next. Like U.S. science fiction shows, it had the 'is it canceled/is it not?' drama we all know and loathe. Fortunately, the viewers of this show aren't getting left up the timeline without a plot.