British monster show Primeval is coming back to BBC America this Saturday for its third season, and Egyptian gods and future gremlins are on the loose. We've watched the first couple episodes. Spoilers below!
BBC America sent us DVDs of the first two episodes of Primeval season three, and the show about monsters and rips in the fabric of space/time has continued to develop. The cast of monster-hunters is a bit different than in season one, and there are monsters from the future, plus there are mysterious artifacts, conspiracies within conspiracies, and a healthy amount of romantic intrigue.
In the first episode of the season, there's an ancient Egyptian shrine thingy in the British Museum, and it turns out the Egyptians trapped a hole in space/time, out of which come dinosaurs known as Pristichampsuses, which the Egyptians used to worship/fear as the demon Ammut. Basically it's a big crocodile terrorizing London, until it goes away agin. And then in the second episode, there's a haunted house, where a gremlin from the future has killed three boys, and our heroes investigate.
I had previously watched a couple of episodes of Primeval season one, and hadn't been able to get into it at all. So I was hoping things would be different this time around, and season three would suddenly electrify my brain. Sadly, that wasn't the case - the show still feels like a warmed-over copy of Torchwood to me. I couldn't get interested in any of the characters, from the moody scientist Nick Cutter to Connor, who inexplicably dresses like he's in a Thompson Twins video.
Oh, and in the first episode, they meet a cute Egyptologist, who's moderately useful since they're dealing with a monster that has a lot of ancient Egyptian lore about it - and then they recruit her to join the team. Because when you're coping with dinosaurs and "future Predators" every week, what you really need is an expert on Egyptian funerary practices. It makes perfect sense! Actually, there is a sort of explanation for their decision to recruit Sarah Page to the team - their leader, Nick Cutter, has decided all ancient myths are actually about monsters coming out of temporal anomalies. And he thinks that because Page knows about Egyptian mythology, she'll be able to help him chart every myth in the world.
The other thing that sort of turned me off the show originally, the copious amounts of goofy humor, are still in full effect, mostly centered on Connor. In the first episode, Page tells Connor that by touching some Egyptian thingy, he's incurred some ancient curse, and is now doomed to die, like her friend who died earlier in the episode. And then it turns out she was just joking. (But meanwhile, we get to see Connor "hilariously" freaking out about it.)
Anyway, I hate to be negative about this show - it does have some nice CG monsters, and there are some fun monster-hunting bits. The "future gremlins" are sort of spooky, especially when they camouflage themselves. All of the stuff about conspiracies and mysterious artifacts from a vaguely apocalyptic future is intriguing, and Wikipedia says it all gets a lot more intense later in the season. If you feel sad that there's not more SF on television, you could definitely do worse than curling up with Primeval this weekend.
But sadly, it just didn't excite me at all - even as the monsters from the past and future were being flung out of time to terrorize the people of London, it all felt like something I'd seen before.