Friday, February 09, 2007
MONSTERS! Primeval, ITV1, Saturday, 7.45pm
Once again we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of not really wanting to recommend anything for Friday. Not because there's nothing good on, because of course there's Ugly Betty and American Idol, both of which are excellent viewing, but we feel like we've talked about them rather a lot lately, so we don't want to keep going down the same road. (And yes, we do have a large Hollyoaks-shaped caveat to that rule right now. Shut up.)
So instead we're going to discuss Primeval, ITV1's much-anticipated attempt to resurrect a bit of family viewing into its Saturday evening schedules. Now, it's perhaps fair to say that the bright shining star that S Club reached for back in the day is looking a little grubby: nobody bought Rachel's second solo album, even though it was awesome; Bradley had that brief, doomed second attempt at stardom with Upper Street; Jo is now a nasty dog-breeding racist...need we go on? So, our hopes that our entire late-teens and early-twenties weren't misguided are now lying heavily with Hannah Spearitt, because she's got a leading role in an important new TV drama, and she mustn't disappoint. If she does, we'll cry. And you don't want to see us cry; it's messy and noisy and there are huge heavings of snot everywhere. Urgh.
The good news is that we got a sneaky preview of the first two episodes of this, and Hannah is great in it. Hooray! She plays zoologist Abby Maitland, whose job is under threat of redundancy when she hears of an unusual species of lizard and heads off to investigate. Long story short, it's because of some kind of rift (or "Anomaly", as the given term in this show is) in space and time that's allowing prehistoric creatures to roam the earth in the present day. The one that Abby finds is cute and friendly. Some of the others are less so. Dino rampage, anyone? Giant spiders of doom? Oh yes.
If we may give our honest opinion on this, we're still making our minds up. There were parts of the first two episodes that we liked a lot (involving La Spearitt, mainly, because she really is worth the price of admission alone), but there were also bits we weren't sure about: a few too many hokey cliches (potential love triangles, spouses disappearing in mysterious circumstances, geeks with greasy hair and Oxfam coats and no social skills), a handful of dodgy effects (some of them are very good, others less so), and some proper clunkers of dialogue. However! You could have levelled all of those accusations at Torchwood and we watched that all the way through to give it a chance to improve (whether it succeeded or not depends on who you ask, really), so we're entirely willing to give this one the same sporting chance. It's got a lot of potential, fo' sho: the acting's generally pretty good, the series arc is reasonably compelling, the characters are, by and large, likeable. It just needs to pull its socks up a little bit. If they can get Tina to do a guest appearance, we're definitely sold.