About five years ago, the BBC came up with a wonderful storyline for a great sci-fi show, and there are new episodes premier this week on BBC American in fact. There are time anomalies popping up randomly over the British Isles, bringing in creatures from various parts of the prehistory. Permian period reptiles, giant insects from the Upper Carboniferous Period, even Cenozoic Saber-tooth cats show up. A team of experts and government officials are keeping the creatures from getting loose on the public. As with most things brought into an alien environments, when they come through the anomalous rifts, they get confused, and some get hostile. That’s when, ARC, Anomaly Research Centre, sends their best into the field to deal with the creatures.
I’ve only seen a couple of these shows, and I really like it. The effects are on par with many of the documentary shows done on dinosaurs at the science and history networks. BBC has most definitely given Primeval a good budget to work with. This was the first time I had gotten to see one of the shows all the way through, and I was lucky enough to see the very first episode from 2007.
In this episode, we see a woman in a shopping centre parking lot running from what looks to be a carnivorous dinosaur. She tries to get the man polishing the floors in the supermarket to let her in, but he goes back to listening to his reggae music, and she runs and hides behind some cars. The nasty beast is still trying to get her. The scene cuts off and we are outside of a university eight years later, where Connor Temple (Andrew Lee Potts) is trying to get the attention of Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and Stephen Hart (James Murray) about mysterious creatures running around in the Forest of Dean, which where Nick’s wife disappeared eight years ago, and he has never gotten over it. Nick thinks there might be some clues to her disappearance there, and they go to investigate. They meet with trucker whose meat truck was torn up by something with huge claws. Later, Cutter meets with Claudia Brown (Lucy Brown) of the Home Office. it seems they want to know more about what is going on in the Forest of Dean as well. Meanwhile, reptile expert and zookeeper, Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt) has been sent to bring in an exotic pet lizard that a boy has had trouble with and bring it to the zoo. Abby goes to see the boy, Ben Trent (Jack Montgomery) and his lizard, Rex. It turns out that Rex is a Coelurosauravus from the Permian period. Ben takes Abby into the Forest of Dean to show her where he found Rex, and the boy finds a shimmering sphere-like portal. He goes through it, and sees a desert-like environment, but there is very green vegetation, and active volconoes as far as he can see. Ben has walked gone from the Forest of Dean to the Permian period!
The Home Office team runs into a Scutosaurus, an herbivore dinosaur, also from the Permian period, and thus learns that the stories are true, and that there is no hoax. This is the very beginning of a very successful series that deals with rifts in time from many points in prehistory, and even recent history to our own time now. Primeval is now in its fifth season, and I am surprised that I let a gem of a show like this get by me, since I have been a fan of time travel stories since I first saw the 1960 version of The Time Machine. If you think good sci-fi is hard to find, it isn’t. It just needs to be imported, and the U.K. is the best place to start.