The dinosaur-chasing saps of Primeval return, having stepped through one of their own anomalies (perhaps) to end up on Watch, rather than their usual ITV. So has their move to the lower end of the freeview spectrum left their budget gutted and the whole show in tatters, or is it business as usual for the strangely-attractive government lackeys?
And is that necessarily good news, as the last series was rather ho-hum?
I started watching this show for review purposes earlier this year, and swiftly concluded it was a half-baked ITV attempt to move into the BBC-dominated family adventure market. The concept could have worked, but the episodes themselves were riddled with awkward dialogue and storylines ending with “…and then they rushed in and shot everyone”.
So it gives me some pleasure to say that this first new episode is quite good. Not brilliant by any means, but there are some intriguing subplots, and the Story Of The Week carries some weight for once, rather than feeling half-done.
In fairness, the ongoing storylines were the stronger part of Primeval last time too, so the amount of space devoted to them here might be why I like it. Once business as usual resumes next week, I’ll probably return to swearing at my TV and picking at the ropey special effects.
The prime ongoing story is the secret future-changing mission of Matt, revealed in the series 4 finale to be the Primeval equivalent of Kyle Reese from The Terminator. Ciaran McMenamin, the pleasingly non-robotic chap playing him, is very good in these parts, displaying advanced acting skills like charisma and gravitas.
We also get a comedy subplot featuring Ben Miller’s character, and about time they let him have some fun. The comic relief moments that don’t involve Miller are as clodhopping as ever, but thankfully there aren’t many.
In short, then, a surprisingly tight episode, more satisfying than last series’ finale, in which virtually nothing of substance happened. In fact, this would’ve been a better ending. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and perhaps series 5 of Primeval won’t be the grand slog I was expecting.
This is the point where I’d usually link to an on-demand version of the episode, but Watch don’t appear to offer one. Still, those of you who have seen it, what did you think?