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Primeval 4.1

Hmmm. Withholding judgement. There were some excellent bits. Ben Miller was, as always, fantastic. Abby was terrific. Jess seemed a rather bland riff on the geek chick, certainly as compared to Garcia in Criminal Minds or Abby in NCIS. Becker seems to have gained weight and gravitas - good, he needed it. Connor wavers between his old inept geek and the attempt at badass - and that attempt went badly wrong until saved by an accident that made no sense. Matt... I'm not sure about. He certainly didn't seem half as competent as he should be. Looks like he's being dumped, too.

Some of the dialogue was great, but the plotting wasn't anything at all to write home about. Plot, what plot, in fact. I fell about laughing at the idea that they had made the whole thing military because of their competence, when the military have never had much success against the incursions.

The effects varied. The photography was great, but there were moments when the creature effects were not as good as they ought to be - the usual problems with shadows and weight.

And, of course, it is now plain that this is an alternate universe. Room temperature superconductors, eh? So why are the electronics pretty much standard? Except, of course, for the super-duper tazers.

As I said, withholding judgement for now.

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I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to, but then anything is an improvement on S3. I pretty much agree with your character summaries, although I hope Matt does turn out to have more weight. As you might guess, the Connor stuff did nothing for me. He was asking Abby questions he should have known the answer to if he's that much of a genius!

What did you mean on Denial about the race stuff? Their inability to cast black and Asian actors continues to astound me.

I suppose Sid qualifies, doesn't he? Shane they didn't bring Caroline back - it wouldn't have been that hard.

Depends on how you look at it. I'd be inclined to say no.

In the very early days of this fandom, I defended the pure white casting decisions, on the basis that they reflected the racial make-up of the country (nine characters, and one in ten people of origin 'other than white' in the UK) and, in particular, of the highest levels of the Civil Service and the Biology departments of Universities. However, the loss of Sarah (and where was Lester's secretary?) and the failure to cast a single black person this season bothers me.

I find it inexplicable. And the black and Asian characters either have Anglicised names or get bumped off as red shirts.

As I understand it, biology departments are quite heavy with Chinese, Japanese and other Far Eastern origin students, some of whom are now quite far up the ladder. The physics and chemistry students have a bias towards the Indian sub-continent. In the Civil Service, there are very few people of ethnicity other than white at the highest levels, but the mid-levels are crawling with high fliers who are mainly women of West Indian origin and Asian men. Our department had one member of the Senior Civil Service who was an Anglo-Indian, which helped us enormously when it came to ethnicity comparisions. Then she retired...

Is having a half-Sudanese actor called 'Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi' in the show somehow not ethnic enough then?

Surely we're grown up enough not to have to have this politically correct token ethnic bollocks any more?

As I said, I defended that casting in first season, but as characters have come and gone, it seems very odd that of the three main characters who have vanished between seasons, two are black...

Is that Sid's full name? Wow. I only ever knew him as Siddig El Fadil. Hadn't realised he was half Sudanese. I always thought it was a pity he changed it to Alexander Siddig.

Yeah that's what I knew him as too. Isn't wikipedia wonderful? More trivia: he's married to Nana Visitor, aka Major Kira from DS9.

"Surely we're grown up enough not to have to have this politically correct token ethnic bollocks any more?"

That's one way of looking at it. Personally I prefer, "Surely we're intelligent enough to question the process and appropriateness of writing/casting characters that produces an almost entirely homogenous white show in a country where several large cities are about 50% non white."

No black/Asian/oriental soldiers? Scientists? Support workers?

I'm not accusing anyone of racism but, like Lil, it makes me a little uncomfortable

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Changing a policy that worked to one that doesn't isn't actually typical of government. At least, no in my experience of its internal workings.

OTOH, it's exactly my experience of the private sector...

It has to be said that my brother's tales of the arms industry stresses that both the MOD and the arms manufacturers are incredibly incompetent.

Of course, if they haven't enough money to continue the systems as before, the Civil Service will default to cheaper and less efficient options.

I liked it. And I always thought it was an AU after Cutter came back, to be honest, with those little bits of tech that were just a bit more advanced than you might expect. That's half the fun of the timeline change, and I wish they'd made a bit more of it.

I thought the CGI was good, an improvement on last year. Given the budget and other constraints they must work on, it's not half bad what they can come up with.

Lester was terrific, but he did sound a bit odd in the voiceover, not quite himself. Liked the new Becker a lot.

Still undecided about Matt. I do want to like him, and he's not uninteresting, but I think I need to see more of him.

I did enjoy it, though, loads more than I really expected to :-)

That initial Lester voice-over was very cheesy. I spy an info dump!

He got his one-liners later, though.

Yes, I suppose they had to get that out of the way :-)

He was back to his old self soon enough, very much on form.

I rather liked it, given that it was effectively a first episode and first episodes are rarely stunningly good due to the burden of setting up the premise, introducing the characters etc.

Becker had more personality in this one ep than he was given during the whole of season 3. No, the plot was a bit thin but, again, first ep, lots to set up or remind people of, new team members, plot probably went by the board. The writing seems to have improved since S3 but not yet back to S1/2 standards - but given the above I have high hopes.

Was better than S3 opener, certainly, though I liked that well enough. Becker was great, looking forward to seeing what they do with his character. They had a lot to pack in, and they did pretty well, I thought.

I liked the episode overall even though the plot was very thin and I agree with the comment that introducing a new base and characters had to be a big part of 4/1.

The thing that annoyed me most was that if Connor & Abby had spent a whole year stuck in the Cretaceous then they would have been much scruffier. Also, in an entire year somewhere with only one person for company, they would know everything about each other's scouting techniques, the immediate neighbourhood and everything in it.

Matt's Dark Agenda was very predictable as it seems to be the norm in tv drama these days to have one of the team have some secret extra curricular activity. I call it, "Mole Syndrome!"

Thought the CGI was pretty good but you are right, corners seem to be cut in post production.

I will keep watching to see how it pans out.

To be fair, given the standards of TV today, A&C could have come back spotless with beautifully blow dried hair (a la the peasants in Robin Crud). Let's be charitable and assume we met them on the day they'd risked a full bath and clothes wash in a lake... at least we saw Abby trimming Connor's beard! But, yes, I doubt modern clothes would have lasted anywhere near that long. Especially the shoes.

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