Ever since Winsor McCay first introduced moviegoers to Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914, audiences around the world have been intrigued with tales of tailed reptilian critters from eras with funky names. In the years following Gertie’s short-lived success, dozens upon dozens of other dinosaur stories have graced movie and television screens alike, usually bearing the words “Lost,” “Land,” “Legend,” or “Last.” Most of these projects tend to meld two different world — that of modern human beings somehow meeting (and usually fighting) these big ancient scaly creatures. The UK series Primeval, which started airing in 2007, is no exception to the “clash of two worlds” motif.
The different thing about Primeval, however, is the manner in which it presents itself. Instead of going with the Michael Crichton “Eh, it could theoretically happen, I suppose” approach, Primeval transforms prehistoric beasts — as well as monsters from worlds and times as yet unexplored and unknown by man — into modern-day Great Britain via temporal anomalies, which are always great to have in a sci-fi series since you don’t actually have to explain them. The audience just says “Oh, OK” and enjoys the show.
And so, Primeval presents us with the adventures of a team of British scientists in charge of investigating the temporal anomalies. Well, they try to examine ‘em — mostly just have to battle the sudden appearances of dinosaurs and other weird and sometimes deadly creations from worlds away. Primeval: Volume Three is the latest series set to be released in the US by BBC Video, but don’t let the title fool you — this set actually contains the complete Fourth and Fifth Series, which both aired in the UK in 2011 (TV works a little different over there). Just so we’re clear on this, Primeval: Volume One housed Series 1 and 2, while Volume Two only contained Series 3.
If you’re not up-to-date on the show, or have never so much as watched it, though, you probably won’t have any problems getting caught up — as the very first episode in Primeval: Volume Three (the premiere of Series 4, if you’re doing your math right) contains a rather illuminating prologue on the show’s progress thus far. From that point, you’ll be able to proceed — providing you like what you see in the series, of course. I have heard a number of people talk about how they like Primeval, but I can’t say I was ultimately captivated by the show. It could just be a case of me stepping in at a moment after the show had jumped the megalodon (so to speak).
Perhaps it was the fact that the first episode reminded me too much of Land of the Lost (what’d I tell you about those two words?), while the second one seemed to have been heavily inspired by C.H.U.D. and Alligator. I can’t say that any of the following episodes found my G(eek)-Spot, either. Or, it might just be that Primeval isn’t my cup of tea, but I’ll have to check out some of the older episodes in order to know for sure. In the meantime, I shall be pretty impartial about this series, and will only say this: it’s a good show, providing the storyline is exactly what you’re looking for.
Primeval: Volume Three presents all thirteen episodes from Series 4 and Series 5 on four 50GB discs. On the technical side of things, the video presentation of this set is commendable, as it brings out all of the finest details the mostly-CGI monstrosities and antiquities possess. The English Stereo-only option is a little less awesome, as you’d expect a series like this to boast a full surround mix. Oh, well! Optional English (SDH) subtitles are also included, as are several special features: a two part documentary about the making of a webisode series that premiered before Series 4, followed by the actual webisodes themselves.