Primeval: Volume 2 (DVD)
Monster hit Primeval roars back onto the screens for an extended third series. Still reeling from Stephen's death and with the depth of Helen's betrayal now revealed, Nick Cutter must fight to re-focus his embattled team. Cutter's crew are joined by some new recruits in the form of maverick policeman Danny Quinn, sparky Egyptologist Sarah Page, and the new leader of the ARC's security forces Captain Becker. But as the anomalies continue to present an unrelenting series of threats, the task in hand seems almost insurmountable. It's not just deadly creatures the team has to contend with, they also face a threat to the future of not just the ARC but of mankind itself. Prepare for more explosive action as Primeval bares its newly sharpened teeth.
Mind you aren't standing next to an anomaly when one opens up; there might just be a Gigantosaurus sprinting out of it. The dedicated team of scientists in Primeval have long since learned this, of course, and it's their business to find the anomalies (glittery portals through time) and contain and study the dinosaurs. Volume Two of Primeval is actually season three of the British TV series, ten episodes jam-packed with ancient predators, time travel, and violent change within the team that goes well beyond new hairstyles (anybody in the cast is expendable, as we learn early in the season). Team leader Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) is dealing with new crew members as well as the genocidal vision of his estranged wife Helen (splendid Juliet Aubrey), who has literally seen the future and decided the planet would be better off without humans on it. Flirtation grows between Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Abby (Hannah Spearritt), the youngest and cutest members of the squad, and a cranky cop (Jason Flemyng) joins the team in a most dramatic way. The special effects are top-notch, and often imaginatively deployed (there's something about seeing a dinosaur clomping down an airport runway that hits you where you live), and the actors are a cut above what you might expect in a genre series. While not a kiddie show per se, Primeval is pitched in a child-friendly register, even if it has its share of scary, roaring beasts. The major cast changes result in the dropping of fruitful plotlines from the uber-story, and there's not enough Helen on view in season three, although the episodic stories are still fun. For the DVD, the ten episodes are supplemented by a helpful 20-minute interview with Douglas Henshall (with clips to help catch the uninitiated up with the first two seasons), and a featurette on the "Genesis of a Creature." Alas, the series was officially canceled by ITV in 2009, leaving its characters stuck in a rather hefty cliffhanger at the end of season three. Stay tuned for future evolution. --Robert Horton