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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Monday, January 19, 2009

Privemal

Primeval is a British science fiction show which made its UK debut in February, 2007, and its BBC America debut in August of 2008. Two seasons of six and seven episodes, respectively, have been shown, with a third season to air this year.

The starting point for the series is this: rifts in time are allowing creatures from the past and future to visit present-day England and almost all of these beasties are unwelcome guests. Especially the ones who want to chow down on people.

Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall), a zoologist whose wife disappeared years earlier, falls into investigating the rifts and beasts for the government. His team consists of his longtime assistant Stephen (James Murray), enthusiastic geek Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts), and capable, cute-as-a-button Abby (Hannah Spearritt). Representing the authorities are Claudia Brown (Lucy Brown), who is actually quite courageous and helpful, and Sir James Lester (Ben Miller), her superior, who is neither. On the other hand, he does provide an occasional giggle, such as when a small flying dinosaur poops on his expensive suit.

Primeval didn't strike me as breathtakingly original. The characters, how they relate to one another, and their quick-thinking heroics are fairly common for the genre. Still, they are a likeable bunch and the series does offer its viewers creatures beyond the usual T-Rex, raptors, and pterodactyls. The opener gave us a Gorgonopsid (carnivorous), a Scutosaurus (herbivorous), and a Coelurosauravus, the afore-mentioned flying dino. The next episode had giant spiders, but it also had a giant centipede that was quite nice in a icky and scary sort of way.

Two other elements are worth noting. The opening episode had several truly chilling moments when the Gorgonopsid got a whiff of a young boy's blood and hungrily followed the kid to his house and school. Also, Cutter's wife [Juliet Aubrey] is missing by design. She travels freely through the rifts and is clearly up to no good. The Professor feels guilty for not having been with her when she "disappeared" and is determined to find her, but I think their eventual reunion will not be a happy one.

Overall, Primeval is a fun show and, as such, it earns a perfectly respectable three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

******

ADDENDUM

The above review was written in mid-August of last year, then posted to the Comics Buyer's Guide forum at:

www.cbgxtra.com

Over the next two months, Primeval continued to rise in my estimation. By the middle of October, it was my third-favorite TV show, trailing only The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Life.

Here's what I wrote about it at that time:

"Primeval airs on BBC America. It's the best science-fiction show on TV, featuring a team of scientists and government bureaucrats dealing with randomly appearing anomalies (basically time portals) and the creatures who travel to the present through them. I wrote about the show at length here.

"The show is in its second season and, because I don't want to spoil a moment of this series for you, all I'll say is...it had the best season finale of any show I watch...the best second season opener of any show I watch...and that Lucy Brown is one of the best actors on television."

Primeval got better and better throughout that second season. Juliet Aubrey's character got scarier and scarier, with the revelation of an affair with a member of Cutter's team leading to dire events. And, much to my delight, Ben Miller got an episode in which he wonderfully showed new dimensions to his stuffy character. Episode after episode, this terrific show continued to surprise and delight me.

Although I haven't seen an announcement as to when it will air here, the third season of Primeval has been completed and is currently scheduled to start in England on February 14. There are ten episodes and creators Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines have said they already have ideas for a fourth season.

After watching the first two seasons of Primeval, I'm now giving the series the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 01/16/2009 | 01/19/2009 | 01/20/2009 >>

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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