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30 Days Of Telly #11

Day eleven, a show that disappointed you. Oh, Primeval. For about six weeks, I loved Primeval; the entire, insanely short length of the first series. It was pretty much everything that I wanted to be watching. A fun gang of university types (three boffins and a student) find holes in time that lead back to various prehistoric ages. Giant prehistoric beasties! Rampaging through the Forest of Dean! Gods, it was wonderful. Giant monsters prowling through school corridors; enthusiastic amateurs thrown into the thick of things; gorgonopsids and pteranodons and dodos and mosasaurs and giant centipedes and basically many things with big teeth. Except the dodos. And the centipedes. And a few other things, but anyway. I loved Primeval, is basically what I'm saying. I liked the characters, too. Okay, so the student (Connor) was irritating, and could have done with a bit of being eaten. But the three boffins were brilliant. We had a good head boffin, called Nick, with a pleasing fondness for ammonites. We had a tough and capable lizardy boffin called Abby. And best of all we had a main assistant boffin called Stephen who, when he wasn't doing things in laboratories, turned out to be brilliant with guns, and spent much of his time chasing giant monsters. Also he was blatantly obviously in love with Nick, but that's by the by.

And then they "reinvented" everything for series two. Nick fell into an alternate universe, in order to rid the show of all the stuff that the producers didn't like (and, as it turned out, everything that I did). No more were the team enthusiastic amateurs. The university was gone, and in its place was a big government department. Political conspiracies abounded, where once had been boffins being pleasingly boffiny. Logic had been thrown out of the window, and in its place was brooding in shadows, and people being blazingly stupid, just in order to get them somewhere where a big monster could create a bit of peril. Central relationships, which helped the stories tell themselves, were all destroyed. Characters need relationships, but every single one of those that existed in series one was now gone, except the twee romance between Abby and Connor. Worst of all, the show didn't even make sense anymore. In series one there were soldiers around, to guard against prehistoric beastie incursions, and to protect the scientific department. In series two there were no soldiers. Presumably good sense gets in the way of big monsters creating a bit of peril. Or possibly the faceless government department had spent so much money building itself a giant glass skyscraper to base itself in, that it didn't have any money left for soldiers. It was stupid. And they ruined Helen, the brilliant evil genius who was busily being Up To Things in the background. That sucked a whole lot too.

British sci-fi has a long tradition of enthusiastic amateurs. Maybe it's an overused trope, but it allows for good characters. Switch to a faceless governmental department, and you've got... well, you've got a faceless governmental department, haven't you. Quirky, original characters give way to cookie cutter types. Also they killed Stephen. Really, really stupidly.

Oh, Primeval. I loved you, I really did. And then I didn't. And I still really regret everything that was lost. For such a brief time it was all so much fun. And then, all of a sudden, nothing.

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Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
emeraldarrows
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to try that show. I guess I'll safely stick to series one when I do since judging from this the rest sounds terrible.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
In the interests of fairness, I should point out that the later series do have their fans. I stopped watching before the end of series two, but I kept an eye on the show, and it looked like one bad decision after another to me. They couldn't keep their leading man, either. There were cast changes all the time.

Series one I very much recommend, though!
emeraldarrows
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
Ah, ok. Sounds like Sliders..that series had the same issues.

I'll definitely start with one when I try it.
eandh99
Jun. 21st, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to watch Primeval - and then stop when it gets bad LOL

Your mourning over Primeval - bit like me mourning the loss of a Nine-Rose-Jack second series of Doctor Who. For me, that first series of nu-Who was perfect, and I rewatch it more than anything else in Who, just as I prefer TW up to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and then stop - so that there are 5 people working at the Hub, the Hub is there with a pterodactyl in it, and nobody tell me different.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 21st, 2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, more Nine-Rose-Jack would have been wonderful. I wonder if Jack would have been immortal then, or if that bit was only added on later, after they knew that Eccles wasn't sticking around.

As for the Hub, how anybody could have thought that blowing up that gorgeous set was a good idea escapes me. I like to think that it was built with alien tech, and grew back; or that the Rift somehow brought it back. That doesn't help you with Tosh and Owen though, admittedly.
sarren
Jun. 22nd, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
Oh, hahahahaha, I broke up with that show, like, three times but my housemate loved it and kept dragging me back into it.

Connor got efficient and fit, which I liked. If I was an unfit, slightly overweight geek (oh wait) who's job involved running away from monsters with big teeth and occasionally lobbing heavy objects in their direction I'd start putting in time at the gym, too. Also he got slashy with Lester and Lester and Lester's sarcasm were my favourite characters (when Connor became homeless Lester let him (sekritly) live with him).

Also Becker was adorable and it had kickass women. Shame about the writing and the plots, really.

Ha, a little picspam I did during one my enthusiasic phases, only if you're interested.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 22nd, 2013 04:02 pm (UTC)
You made a good picspam! I'm always glad to see that people are enjoying the later episodes. I loved the show so much to begin with, and was so disappointed in the changes, that it lost me completely as a viewer, but I'm happy that it was able to continue for a while. I'd heard that Connor had become less irritating, which would certainly be sensible, yes.

Lester was a character that I liked. Even he seemed different after the revamp for series two, though. :(
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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