[Review] - Primeval: New World, Season 1 Episode 2, "Sisiutl"


Courtesy of Impossible Pictures
The second episode of this new Primeval shows signs of improvement, but this is still only a shadow of a show. The characters remain empty skins, with none demonstrating individuality, and only present to exchange bits of exposition, in order to move the action along to the next creature bit. If everybody moved their dialogue one character to the left, nothing would change. There are no personalities at play, and nothing to make the characters endearing, so they can largely be ignored.

And considering the tepid pace of the action, so too can that. Which really makes one wonder, if you can ignore the characters and the action, is there a point in watching the show at all? If these two episodes are indicative of the rest of the series, I'd say no.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that were initially mistaken for an eel.

We'll start, as ever, with the creature. I say creature specifically because every single character on the show insists on calling everything that falls through the anomalies as "dinosaurs." In fact, the word "dinosaur" is so over used, I'm starting to think the shows writers don't actually know what it means, and just overheard someone smarter using it at a dinner party. In two episodes, three creatures have appeared out of time. Exactly one of them has been a dinosaur. Pterosaurs were flying reptiles, and this week's creature was a Titanoboa, a 50 foot long predator that lived just on this side of the K-T boundary, and the largest snake that ever lived.

There is no evidence that the Titanoboa was semi-aquatic. Not even a little. They most likely lived in forested areas, like modern boas, relying on trees and ground foliage at hide and hunt. Certainly their size suggests that they would not have been able to swim as motionlessly as the shows CG suggested. Because of the heat regulation issues of cold blooded creatures, especially those native to tropic locations, as Titanoboa was, they would not have been able to last for very long in the cold ocean waters off the coast of British Columbia. If the show was determined to have a water monster episode, why not choose one of the hundreds, if not thousands, exciting aquatic reptiles that lived in the ancient past? If they wanted to do a snake episode, why include the water elements, especially ones so poorly rendered in CG as these were?

As for the rest of the episode, it was a showcase of mediocrity. The acting on display is in name only, completely lacking of any sense of honesty. The actors aren't inhabiting these characters; they aren't even on the same block. The words are obviously stilted and ridiculous when they appear on the page, and inspire no commitment from those asked to perform them.

The worst scene was between the Animal Control officer and the homicide/missing person/we can only afford one cop character officer, which was woefully melodramatic, and possibly the only time in television history in which being an animal control officer is both treated as a sacred calling, and as one of the most important jobs a person could have. I couldn't take a single word of the scene seriously, as this police detective waxes about how the job was her calling.

Clearly, anyone stupid enough to put into an official report that a dinosaur attacked someone isn't suited to operate a toll booth. Of course they would suspend her, and force her to take a psych evaluation (not, I assume, a standard procedure in animal control, excepted in this universe, where it is a higher calling). If I walked into work tomorrow and claimed I saw a dinosaur on the way to work, people would think I was joke. If I were a cop, and did the same thing, they'd take away my gun. It is good sense. Even in a science fiction universe where ancient creatures travel through time, that is crazy talk.

The rest of the episode was so bland I barely remember it. What does stand out is the uselessness of the Project Magnet officer, which was a real thing despite the dumb name. He appears here, apparently to antagonise the main characters, despite being the most sensible and logical character, offering genuine help, and dismissed for no clear reason other then to manufacture some conflict. The Mulder-esque character also seemed to know that the protagonist (whose name has completely disappeared from my memory, but I'm not going to look up because that is the shows job to make me remember, dammit) had a wife eaten by an Allosaurs. How, and if this is common knowledge, went unexplained, as did anything else about last week's "cliffhanger" involving the deep freeze in the basement.

I did start off saying that this episode showed improvements over the last. Honestly, I've forgotten what any of them were.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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