Probic Vent Ood For Thought

1Mar/100

Primeval

Three years ago but still fresh. TV reviews from my bro...

I was wrong about Primeval; I imagined it would be truly awful, whereas (judging by the latest episode) it’s actually a lot of fun. Provided, that is, you accept that it’s a load of old tosh, don’t look or listen too hard and overlook the interminable commercial breaks, which take up about a third of the supposed hour of programming.

In a nutshell, the main character, Professor Nick Cutter, is a government-appointed scientist who leads a team investigating a kind of rift which allows strange and monstrous creatures from the past to pass through into present-day England (sound familiar…?).

These CGI monsters are the least imaginative part of the show; they’re uniformly just big versions of creatures that live in the world right now. Ever wanted to see a giant woodlouse? Primeval will sort it for you. After they’ve finished rendering their hideous giant snail. Don’t forget the huge millipede. Or how about a vast and fearsome chaffinch? No, now I’m just being silly.

Cutter has his own problems – his own wife disappeared eight years ago and he’s just discovered that she’s alive and well on the other side of the rift. With these kinds of programmes, a lot of it’s about creating the mood of the protagonist. He’s usually portrayed as a kind of tragic hero with a large melancholy, slightly dubious streak waiting to burst forth at any moment.

Take Inspector Morse. He was beloved of old women across the country because he was a man of noble integrity (with a nice accent), but he was also mysterious. He wouldn’t’ve been so popular if he had been shown to be in possession of a large, well-worn stack of teenage porn.

Similarly with Cutter, you can only take such self-obsessive morbidity so far. It’d ruin the tone completely if halfway through there was dark, tragic tracking shot of Cutter silently flicking through the latest addition of Asian Babes, or despairingly shagging an inflatable doll in his living room by candlelight, aching tears streaming down his broken face.

Broken face isn’t stretching things, either. He looks and sounds like Ken Stott’s depressive kid brother. To say that he looks like he’s been swimming in the sea of heartbreak would be to do him the gravest injustice. His face is one big chunk of craggy, time-worn Scottish granite.

Which is a good job, cause the supporting cast is shite. There’re the usual suspects: the two-faced female civil-servant, the socially inept geek, the stupid, obtuse superior who’s obviously going to ignore every recommendation Cutter makes during the course of the series.

But then again, if he got his own way all the time, he wouldn’t be so miserable and there wouldn’t be a show. So, here’s to Nick Cutter. Let’s hope he gets a second series. He won’t, of course.

Noel Brown

Hush child stop addlepating me!

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