Definitions

Primeval

Primeval

[prahy-mee-vuhl]
Primeval is a British science fiction television programme produced for ITV by Impossible Pictures. Created by Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines, who previously created the Walking with... documentary series, Primeval follows a team of five scientists tasked with investigating the appearance of temporal anomalies across Great Britain and containing prehistoric and futuristic creatures which enter the present.

First broadcast in the UK on 10 February 2007 and since expanding to an international audience, overall reception of the programme was positive during the first and second series, maintaining a 25% audience share in the United Kingdom during both series to date. Prior to its 9 August 2008 broadcast on BBC America, the program received generally positive reaction from American critics as well. A third series has been commissioned and is now in production for a January 2009 airdate.

Development

Production

The first series was filmed partly at Pinewood Studios, the Forest of Dean, London Underground, New Den Stadium (home of Millwall FC, although apparently the Matchroom Stadium, home of Leyton Orient F.C. according to the official website), Whipsnade Zoo, London Zoo, the Canary Islands, Thorpe Park and Bournemouth beach.

Filming of the second series completed on 1 October 2007, and was broadcast in early 2008. Caroline Steel and Oliver Leek, portrayed by Naomi Bentley and Karl Theobald respectively, are two new characters for the second series, both of whom are conspiring with Helen Cutter.

The penultimate episode of the second series was written by Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell.

A third series was given the green light by ITV.

Advertising

Primeval billboards and banners are often erected over London shortly before the airdate. Series 1 has several posters, most of which had exaggerated creatures from the show (the Arthropleura was depicted as being roughly human-sized in the show but was shown as being as large as a house in the billboards). Series 2 adverts also appeared shortly before airdate.

Episodes

Primeval's first series in 2007 comprised six episodes. Each installment contributed to a story arc which continued into the second series. The following series in 2008 was slightly longer – seven episodes – and has finished broadcasting. The third season is planned for a January 2009 airdate, and will have ten episodes.

Cast

The series features a cast of five main characters plus supporting cast who investigate time anomalies for the British government:

The series also uses several minor characters, some of whom appear in several episodes.

Plot

Universe

The series takes place in, and is just a small section of an extensive alternate universe, nicknamed the Primeverse by fans. The in-universe concepts and the majority of worlds featured are taken from pre-existing works, and are difficult to appreciate without some prior knowledge of real life palaeontology and other Impossible Pictures shows such as Prehistoric Park and the Walking with... series. Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges have added places and characters not covered there.

There is also the possibility that the Primeverse will be featured in future Impossible Pictures productions as writer Adrian Hodges has stated that he'd like to take the Primeverse "in another direction one day".

Timeline

This is a chronological list of the events and episodes of the show, although due to the time travel element of the show, many events take place on dates across a wide-spanning timeline. Not all of these events have a definite date, however, and as such there is some noted controversy over their placement; testament to the significance of the series' continuity and the chronology within its fandom. Similarly, Helen Cutter's stories, set during her eight subjective years of travelling through time, have no distinctly recognisable chronological place within the series' timeline.

Creatures

This is a list of species featured in Primeval. The list includes some imaginary species which are not prehistoric, but are nonetheless not native to the present era. For the first series, various creatures were re-imagined by the producers for dramatic effect. The series also features creatures from the future.

Merchandise

Toys

The master toy licence for Primeval was recently given to Character Options, the same company that created the Doctor Who toy line. The toy line is a co-production between ITV, ProSieben and M6. Jon Diver, joint MD at Character Group, stated that the series one toy line will be "extensive" and was scheduled for release in October 2007, followed by a series two toy line released in January 2008 to correspond with the second series. The toy line includes all of the main characters and a few of the creatures. A large plush toy version of Rex was also put into production.It is unknown if the toys will be shipped over to America.The chances are high because BBC America recently began airing Primeval. The Primeval Toy line includes: All Characters Anomaly Creatures(Rex, Dodo, Arachnids, Future Predator) Weaopons, Lights And one comes with a Anomaly

WowWee Robotics (the creators of Roboraptor and Robosapien) also created FlyTech Rex and Anurognathus, remote-controlled flying toys.

Books

Ladybird Books has so far published 2 sticker books (one of which is a glow in the dark sticker book) a poster book, a tattoo activity title, a wipe-clean activity book, and a summer annual for children from 5–8 years old. They will also publish additional activity titles for February 2009.

Puffin Books are also publishing four Primeval paperback books named A Rip in Time, Dangerous Dimension, The Lost Predator and Fight for Survival. Several original novels have been announced, to behave more like extra episodes than novelisations, the first one being Shadow of the Jaguar, which revealed that anomalies do appear overseas. A second novel, written by acclaimed fantasy writer Paul Kearney, is entitled The Lost Island.

The books' canonicity in relation to the series is questionable.

Reception

Episode Overnight rating (audience share) Final Rating
1.1 6.7 million (29%) 7.09 million
1.2 6 million (27.5%) 6.29 million
1.3 5.8 million (25%) 6.17 million
1.4 5.6 million (24%) 5.81 million
1.5 6.2 million (28%) 6.46 million
1.6 6.1 million (27%) 6.52 million
2.1 5.8 million (26%) 6.32 million
2.2 5.6 million (25%) 6.05 million
2.3 5.7 million (26%) 6.27 million
2.4 5.7 million (24%) 6.39 million
2.5 5.8 million (26%) 6.33 million
2.6 6.0 million (27%) 6.44 million
2.7 5.6 million(26%) 6.20 million

The first episode gained a final viewing figure of 7.09 million people. The series averaged 6.39 million viewers. When shown in Germany it gained a total audience of 2.78 million viewers.

After all 7 episodes series 2 has averaged 6.29 million viewers, making a very small drop (100,000) from the series 1 average.

TV critic Charlie Brooker reviewed Primeval in the final episode of his BBC Four show Screenwipe, and gave it a rave review saying that it was "far better than Torchwood for instance" commenting "I hope you're listening, Russell T Davies". "Unashamedly Saturday night populist viewing for the masses" with "some of the best special effects I've ever seen... in a British TV show" he went on.

First broadcast on BBC America on August 9, 2008, Primeval met with generally favorable views among American critics, earning 73 out of 100 on the aggregate review site Metacritic. Calling the show both child-friendly and entertaining for adults, Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune noted the unusual date of the premiere, stating that "most networks...have shied away from launching shows during August, when the Beijing Olympics are expected to dominate the TV landscape. Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised Primeval's special effects and sense of humor. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times criticized the music and emotional direction of the narrative, saying of protagonist Nick Cutter "I know your wife has been missing for years, but ye gods, man, that's a bloody dinosaur.

Comparisons have been made between Primeval and the popular BBC series Doctor Who, which is famous for its use of time travel. The producers of Primeval have consistently resisted comparison of the series with Doctor Who, calling Primeval more "reality-based." Actor Douglas Henshall instead compared the series to The A-Team, calling Primeval an ensemble piece featuring characters with different backgrounds who must work together. Torchwood creator and Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies blasted the show in 2007, saying "[Primeval's] lack of ethnic casting is shameful," but then adding "apart from that, I think it's excellent.

International broadcasts

Country Network First broadcast

ITV 10 February 2007

Nine Network November 14 2008
één 7 September 2007
Space 4 April 2007
ProSieben 4 June 2007
TVB Pearl 14 February 2007
TV2 11 July 2007
Canal+ & Cuatro 2007
Kanal 9 3 September 2007

Jimmy 28 December 2007

M6 29 December 2007
HBO Latin America 2008
RTL Klub 6 January 2008
Danmarks Radio 21 February 2008
Kanal 1 10 March 2008


BBC Entertainment 15 May 2008
HRT 7 July 2008

BBC America

9 August 2008
RTP1 2 August 2008

References

External links

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