In the UK: Saturday 19th January, ITV, 9pm
In the US: Not yet acquired
Warning, warning! Anomalies are being detected. Holes are forming in the space-time continuum that are allowing TV shows from the past to travel into a present-day TV show called Primeval. Extras from Capital City have been spotted milling around and hamming things up in really bad business suits. An old camel jacket from Only Fools and Horses has been spotted on Dougie Henshall.
Even more terrifying, anomalies from even further back than the 80s have allowed Illya Kuryachin's haircut to materialise on Henshall's head as though it had been left uncut since 1965, while his on-screen wife, Helen Cutter, has had a costume and cleavage transferred to her from the iron age and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Plot (found in a smoky server room powering ITV1's web site)
Two new arrivals start to put personal relationships under pressure. PR guru, Jenny Lewis, immediately locks horns with Cutter while Connor’s potential new love interest, Caroline, gets Abby hot under the collar.
The team has to put its emotions to one side when a mysterious sulphurous gas engulfs a modern skyscraper. A group of firefighters, sent to investigate, soon comes under attack. By the time the team arrives the monsters have created havoc.
The bizarre shaped giant worms, some of which are large enough to consume a human, are ready for battle.
Is it any good?
Ooh dear. What a clunker. Oh my God, it's an attack of terrifying, man-sized worms that can hold their breaths.
How's that work then?
I'm also curious as to how you knock out a worm. Do you hit it on the back of its neck, hoping to paralyse its non-existent spine? Or maybe you're hoping to jar its non-existent brain against its non-existent skull. And why is it that everyone who gets attacked by a worm lasts three seconds if they're not on Team Cutter but can get swallowed by the toothy beasties and survive with just a bit of grossness on their clothes if they are?
Picky picky, hey?
Apart from the obvious problems with logic, science, elementary architectural design, health and safety procedures, computer engineering* and common sense, episode two of Primeval had a few good moments, mostly to do with the ongoing storyline.
Dougie's being all stalkerish, which apparently raises no real concerns at HQ. Despite the obvious issues that time travel could cause, no one believes his story that something's gone amiss and the wet fish of a woman whom he loved in a previous timeline has been inexplicably replaced with a complete idiot. Henshall does at least give these scenes some depth, despite the lack of actual depth in the script and Jenny the Brazen Hussy/Claudia Brown does the best she can, despite her character clearly only having one brain lobe in this reality.
The interplay between lego girl and twat boy is just horrific, but for the adults in the audience, Man Mountain Stephen and Helen 'Xena' Cutter do at least have something to keep you going, including nudity and the possibility of betrayal from within. Hooray! Mountain's philosophical musings on the nature of ecosystems and the anomalies do give you some hope that the scripts won't have devolved your brain capacity to the level of Australopithecus's by the end of the show, too.
There's also the revelation that last week's missing cleaner wasn't a plot loophole but might be a sign that Primeval HQ isn't as secure and as good at cover-ups as they'd thought. There's also the unbelievable revelation that twat boy might be attractive to a woman – or even Lego Girl as well. Since the new love interest loves crap sci-fi movies, is attractive and is willing to go on a date with him, even though he's still covered in worm goo, I suspect it's a bluff and she's with the undercover cleaner in trying to penetrate Team Cutter.
On the whole then, pretty stupid, not as fun as last week, but with enough vestigial signs of intelligence that it wasn't a complete waste of an hour.
*A server room for the whole building, including its environmental controls, that's on the 15th floor? What happens if there's a fire? Oh wait... And it isn't air-conditioned? What are they running? ZX Spectrums?
- January 28, 2008: Review: Primeval 2x3
A review of the next episode of Primeval