Airing between 2007 – 2011, Primeval was a sci-fi show that was set in present day UK and had a very simple (at first) premise – the UK was having a rash of temporal anomalies that connected back to various prehistoric eras, which were then investigated by a small team comprising of Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall), Stephen Hart (James Murray), Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt.)
During the first series, two plot points come up with shifted the feel of the show. The first was that the anomalies didn’t always lead to the past but also the far-future. The second was that Cutter’s wife Helen, thought dead, had actually discovered the anomalies eight years earlier and knows a heck of a lot more about them than the team.
The second series saw another shift change, caused by Helen’s meddling. The little, barely-official office of the first series is now a fully-fledged research centre and Claudia Brown, briefly Cutter’s love interest, has ceased to exist. Although there’s a woman named Jenny Lewis who looks remarkably similar…
The plot gets more complicated, with shadowy government officials that want to use the anomalies to their own ends, Helen causing further ructions, and the shark warning that is the Future Era. The team takes losses. New players come in. And the end of the world keeps looking very possible.
Primeval is surprisingly character-centric despite the external plots, with the first series featuring the budding romance between Nick and Claudia. Connor is also clearly smitten with Abby, though she only has eyes for Stephen – at least at first. Each character is well-rounded and the team plays off each other brilliantly. The camaraderie manages to survive some major changes, and by the end of series 5 there’s a definite family feel.
My absolute favourite is Lester. He has the clearest arc; going from a stuffy civil servant who resents his assignment and barely gets on with those he’s in charge of, to the man who blatantly lies to keep them from trouble and the ARC out of “enemy” hands. Someone who, with no military training, manages to survive a targeted attack from the Future Predator, and who defends – almost to the death – ARC operator Jess. He also has some of the best lines, specialising in snark and dry wit.
The moment I fell for him is easy. Betrayed by Leek and with the entire ARC empty, James finds himself face to maw with the Future Predator. Evolved from bats, and able to sense body heat and heartbeat, the creature is the perfect killing machine. And its got James on its radar…