This weekend saw the grand finale of our favourite Saturday evening dinosaur bonanza, as Cutter’s team (should that be Cutter’s Crew…or would that infringe 1980s rock band copyright?) finally put all the pieces together and bring down Helen and Leek’s plans for global dino-domination.
After last week’s realisation that the dinos from the series have all been caught and contained by Leek, the team are trapped underground and it seems are all on their way to becoming attractive sabre-tooth snacks. Split up, not trusting each other and with no chance of escape, the outcome looks bleak. Will the team overcome their differences realise they have been played and escape alive? Well season three has been commissioned, so you work it out.
They escape Leek’s pretty-easy-to-get-out-of trap, and while he is doing the whole ‘I am going to take over the world’ clichéd speech, it gives everyone enough time to run around some corridors, confuse guards and eventually, with the help of Rex, who didn’t die after his tennis-based bashing last week, make their escape.
Again jam-packed with film homages, the entire show is just one long rummage through the best bits of movies you have seen before. From Alien to Jurassic Park to The Matrix, the show’s snaffling of plot devices and set ups is surely tantamount to intellectual theft. However it’s all done so convincingly badly that Spielberg and co. would get nothing from suing ITV.
And it’s the cliché-ridden badness that really makes the show so fun. From the Predator-like chase between Cutter and the Future-Predator thingy, to a bit of Doom, the Gladiator set piece with Abby and a Sabre-tooth tiger, through to the Tremors homage on what looks like Southend beach with Stephen and a giant underground based scorpion, the set pieces work. They’re fun, and even though you have seen them before in other things are great entertainment.
If you ignore the fact that the episode made little or no sense plotwise, and also the fact that Leek is the world’s most unconvincing bad-guy … oh, and that Helen’s motives are well… just plain insane, then Primeval does hang together. It never pretends to be anything it isn’t, it’s not going to win any Baftas anytime soon and the guys at ILM really have nothing to fear as far in the CG department. Yet the show is unashamedly entertaining, with the actors obviously having fun whether it’s crawling around air-vents, short circuiting entire computer systems with a well aimed throw or fending dinosaurs.
Primeval is, ultimately, a cheap, cheerful bundle of fun that will be missed on Saturdays, with the only thing now worth watching being Harry Hill, as the horrific forms of Ant and Dec return to our screens and convince us all to get ready earlier and get out to the pub quicker.
Now why can’t they get eaten by a raptor?