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Primeval 4.2

I am still ambivalent about this season. There was nothing in the least new in this episode. Elements have been drawn from a number of other episodes; Abby being kept on and Connor being sacked, but both reinstated (1.2), the pair of them going monster hunting by themselves (1.3), the special forces being incompetent (practically all of first and second seasons), being attacked in a small boat (2.4), a creature coming through an anomaly as a baby as growing up here (2.3), a big croc as the monster of the week (3.1), traitors in our midst (all of seasons 2 and 3), Lester being undermined from inside the Government (Season 3), appalling flat shares (Seasons 1, 2 and 3) and there are probably more that I can't be bothered to identify. Once again there was too much running around – please to be stopping copying Dr Who in this.

The sheer incompetence of this new team has not stopped amazing me from the first shot. That includes our new team leader, Matt, who does not seem to have any leadership qualities that I can see, and is either being misled or is a traitor. Charm is no substitute for competence - or for a personality. As for Jess, what personality she has is very, very annoying. She does not even have wit. And her clothes are worse than Abby's were in Season 3. Mr Burton is... interesting. However, that is not, as Ina has pointed out, how Public/Private Partnerships work in practice. Besides, how can you have a PPP where the staff has to be military? Then there was the idea that no-one in the government, social services or police would be interested in down and outs being killed and eaten – I, for one, am deeply offended at the idea that this might be the case.

On the other hand, there have been some great lines. Becker has developed a personality (Yay!), Connor has acquired a little bit more competence (though not a lot), and Abby has regained hers. Lester is just... well, Lester, and there has been a lot of him this season. Rex is back. So is the Mammoth, though both appear to be being kept in appalling conditions.

Yes, I'm still watching. Yes, this is better than last season, primarily because they have dropped the 'legends' idea which never made sense and have got rid of Cutter's cat's-cradle. Abby has so far not had an episode where she has turned incompetent to make Connor look good. Furthermore, there is more Lester-snark, and Lester-snark is always good. On the other hand, the plant-carrying-guy is a bit lame, which makes Matt look lame too, and though chasing monsters is fun, it was always secondary, for me, to the mystery of the anomalies. The sub-plots need to be much, much stronger.

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There is definitely still lazy scripting.

If what the FWIC said in the interview is true, we will be learning more about the anomalies and the anomaly cluster will be reappearing so I have hopes for that side of things.

The Lester snark and Becker growing a personality have been high points and I do like Matt, but he only seems to come to life when flirting with Becker.

I hope that what happens will tease and tantalise and come close, at least, to making sense.

Well, I can hope.

I liked the matrix :-) I wish they'd kept it. I thought the predictive aspect of it was a bit daft, but as a 3D representation of the known anomalies, it was great, much more interesting than some bland computer simulation. I'm working on making it make a bit more sense in some of my S3 fics.

Agree about the running around, we could do with less of it.

I think part of the problem with Matt is they haven't set his skill set up properly. Okay, he's ex-military (thought I don't find him all that convincing there) and some sort of zoologist/biologist type, but we haven't really seen anything of that being built up. That's one of the reasons I wish they'd carried on from more or less where they left off, rather than just jumping straight into it.

I don't think he's a traitor, though - my guess is that he and Gideon are trying to prevent the catastrophe we saw in S3, which Helen blamed on Nick and the future predators at the ARC. The plant obsession fits into that.

And let's face it, the plots have never been amazingly original :-) They don't have the length of series to play with that can be very subtle, but it's always worked well enough for me.

Kind of hoping Abby will make a fuss about the Mammoth soon, though. Cutter would never have let it happen...

The 'matrix' convinced me that Cutter was losing it.

Quite possibly :-) *beats off bunnies*

The matrix is basically a physical representation of what we see is in the artefact, though, which is basically a way of mapping/navigating the paths of anomalies, so it's not entirely crazy, I think. Had they not been getting rid of Cutter soon after, I reckon it would have been a lot better thought out.

Two wrongs (or two illogical bits of technobabble) do not make a right. You can't map four dimensions in three. At least, not with bits of string...

I thought it was a totally bonkers idea. There was no way at all of them predicting the anomaly at that house based on the available data.

I thought it was all do to the semi-mystical fantasy plotting that overtook us in third season.

I found first season realistic in a very British gifted amateur crisis management sort of way, with lots of mystery and lovely complex sub-plots.

Then they decided that that didn't work, so they changed history, gave us Jenny who was going to be sarky and particularly good at wearing short skirts, put together a high tech and overfunded organisation, but promptly played down the military side, which didn't make sense. A season that could not make up its mind; about Cutter, about Stephen, about Helen, about Lester, about Connor, about Abby, and about how to handle the creature incursions.

Deciding that wasn't good enough, they decided to emphasise the military a bit, added Becker, decided to go all mystical and start talking about legends so added Sarah, had Helen go completely bonkers, had Cutter behave stupidly enough to get killed so added a completely bonkers ex-policeman in Danny, who had no qualifications to work in the field except for the scriptwriters being on his side, went mad on the conspiracy theories, tried to make it funnier and failed, and threw special effects at everything.

This season seems to have decided to make the cast prettier and younger, pour on the sex and sexual innuendo, return to a much purer form of monster-of-the-week, replace thought with action, beef up the military even more, and bring in a different conspiracy theory.

I like some of what they are going, but continual experiment and change is not the way to hold on to your audience...

Well, you can map 3 dimensions in 2 (with height isolines and marks and colour-coding), and most of 3D-modelling is made on computers which have 2D screens anyway.

Our brains and eyes work well enough with 1 dimension loss (3D -> 2D and 4D -> 3D), but much worser when there are 2 dimensions to figure out (try to project 3D figure - cube, for example - into 1D line, and understanding the shape and order of its parts will be ways more difficult).

4D can be projected properly into 3D, and be far more exact and representative (and easy to use) than projecting 4D scheme on 2D computer display. Thus, Cutter's 'matrix' totally made sense in terms of 4D modelling. Dunno about its predicting abilities, though.

I thought the prediction side of it was stretching things a bit too far, but I loved it as a kind of Cutter-mind map of the anomalies. In my canon, it helps him work think :-) I adored the scene of him lying under it in 3.02.

Did you see any sign at all of fourth dimension coding on Cutter's model? Or any kind of coding on the straight bits, come to that?

It was a pretty simple model, not large enough even to model the anomalies seen during the series!

> Then there was the idea that no-one in the government, social services or police would be interested in down and outs being killed and eaten
that was Duncan's idea, though, wasn't it?

you have to regard that with a measure of salt, considering the source.

>There was nothing in the least new in this episode. Elements have been drawn from a number of other episodes;
> Once again there was too much running around – please to be stopping copying Dr Who in this.

and Who copied another show, who copied another show. let's just cut out the middlemen and ask Primeval to stop copying The Iliad, shall we?

as to your other point, if there was everything new, people would protest the lack of continuity. (and you don't like plant-carrying man, who is new)

The "too much running around" is a long term criticism of Dr Who. Primeval has been regarded as "copying" Who by a number of professional critics but they are wrong (aiming for the same demographic, yes) except in this particular respect. Also, it's bad writing, particularly when just used to fill time.

Point taken about Duncan.

I didn't know that; I thought it was only aimed (by one and all) at NuWho.

then again, I know of almost no discussions about Who before NuWho. (I just watch the DVDs)

> particularly when just used to fill time.
Quoted For Truth.

The problem with classic Who was an hour (fifty minutes) storyline was very unusual. Most ran for two hours or three hours (4 half hour episodes or 6 half hour episodes.) The result of this was there was often a fair amount of padding. Some of the serials were very slow, and enlivened by running down corridors...

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