Monday, June 10, 2013

PNW Comes to Us at Last

At last, at last, Primeval: New World, the Canadian spin-off of the British series, has debuted in the U.S. The niche of Primeval fans here (yes, there are some of us) is ecstatic--we were absolutely jealous of all the other countries that got the show so many months earlier. Which, naturally, meant that some of us have in fact already seen the show--but we will be good and watch it on TV, too. I don't usually do that; in this case, I just couldn't wait.

In the spirit of keeping this show up front, hoping for a Season 2 renewal with the half-promised greater crossover with the British cast, here are some of my initial thoughts on the pilot episode. I may post about some of the future episodes, but probably not all of them. Since the show airs on Syfy every Saturday evening, that would be a bit much to post about, wouldn't it? (It's also supposed to be on Hulu, but the first episode isn't up yet--maybe in a few days?)

Right away, it's very odd not to hear British accents. The Primeval-verse without British accents? What, is that even possible? So you have to settle in and think about these new characters separately. And that can be difficult to do. When we've had time to fall in love with the British cast, it's hard to set up interest in a new set of people. The pilot didn't give me particular interest in any of them.

What is probably a more realistic take in this show compared with the British series is Evan's "undercover" investigation of the anomalies without any government control. In the British pilot, scientists (Cutter, Stephen, Connor), government (Claudia, reporting to Lester), and animal experts (Abby) all met conveniently at the same time in the Forest of Dean, eventually forming the ARC together. It makes a nice story for fiction, but PNW's approach makes more realistic sense. Both ways work for a show.

While I like that they took a different approach there, the plot theme of Evan and his wife is much too reminiscent of Cutter and Helen. Yes, the details are all different and Evan's wife is no Helen--but still. It's true that they organized this show so that you don't need to have watched the British series, but direct repetition is still a bad thing--especially when many of the people who have even heard of PNW are addicts to the original show, anyway. We don't want to see a repeat of the same story line.

The added detail, however, of the ARC jacket (that is my spoiler-free way of putting it) piques the interest and teases for a season-long plot line. It left me ridiculously curious. And Connor's cameo--his scenes were some of the best in the episode. We love the crossover.

Main point is, the pilot is a start. The pieces haven't all come together yet, but they give hope for better times ahead. My opinion, and the opinion of others, it that it takes a few episodes for Primeval: New World to really take off.

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