Primeval-The Complete Series One (2006)

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Released 5-Jun-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 274:33
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (24:25)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jamie Payne
Cilla Ware
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Dominik Scherrer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    So, you have made many successful and critically applauded documentaries about prehistoric creatures using breakthrough technology. Well, what do you do with that technology now? Use it to make a science-fiction action drama series!  

    Primeval was made in 2006 for British television by the people responsible for Walking with Dinosaurs and its sequels. It was shown here recently on the Nine Network (pretty much the only decent new show they have had this year). To my mind, it's a great idea to take a documentary style technology, combine it with an interesting fictional premise and come up with something quite original.

    The main premise of the series is that, in modern day Britain, anomalies in time are appearing all over the country allowing creatures from the past (and even the future) to come into the modern world. These creatures include dinosaurs, huge insects, dodos, sea creatures and flying dinosaurs. Obviously, people start getting killed or going missing and a team forms to investigate. Firstly, Professor of Evolutionary Zoology Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and his assistant, Stephen Hart (James Murray) are alerted to a possible hoax sighting of a huge predator in the Forest of Dean by one of their students, Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts). Connor is a dinosaur geek and Cutter does not initially believe him that it may be real. Eventually, they decide to investigate. Meanwhile, a young good-looking (probably a bit too good looking) reptile keeper, Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearitt) at the local zoo receives a letter from a young boy who has found what he thinks is a new species of large lizard. She goes to visit him in his house near the forest and finds that he has a small flying dinosaur which should be extinct. They name him Rex and he becomes an ongoing character in the series. The Home Office have also become interested in this possible hoax and have sent a junior officer, Claudia Brown (Lucy Brown) to take a look around. These three groups meet up and discover the anomaly, which is basically a hole which allows movement from one time in history to another. They also discover that the hole has allowed a large predator called a Gogonopsid to arrive in modern day Britain.

    The series contains six episodes (45 minutes each over 2 discs) which continue along similar themes with the teams discovering new anomalies which are allowing creatures from different periods of history to come into the modern day. The show has another ongoing subplot which involves Cutter's wife, Helen (Juliet Aubrey), a scientist in the same field who has been missing for 8 years. She went missing in the Forest of Dean. Two other important characters are Sir James Lester (Ben Miller who is an excellent comedic inclusion), who takes control of the situation for the government and Captain Ryan (Mark Wakeling) who leads an army detachment assigned to Claudia to protect the team and civilization.

    This is a very inventive series with an interesting premise. The team are interesting and have varying styles which keeps the interaction between them quite edgy. The writing is high quality and the shows are very nicely shot with lots of location work. As you would expect the CGI and visual effects are of high quality and the various animals are very realistic. This season leaves a nice cliffhanger at the end which augers well for the next season. Interestingly, in order to shorten the production time, they used two directors, one who shot the first three episodes and another for the last three. There is a difference in style between them and to my mind the second three are a step better than the first three. One part of the content which really doesn't fit is that there seems to be a policy of having Abby walking around just in knickers regardless of who is in her flat. This (despite its obvious attractions) doesn't really seem to fit either her character or the show. Also, Helen Cutter is very hard to fathom and her motivations are quite unclear.

    Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but somewhat disappointing for such a recent show.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio.

    The sharpness and clarity were somewhat lacking here, although certainly not terrible. Some passages seemed a little softer than most. The most significant issue was MPEG artefacts which are mostly restricted to some graininess in general, worse in darker scenes, however, this sometimes slipped into macro-blocking. An example can be seen at 13:40 in episode 1.

    The colour was very good, well representing the greenness of the English countryside and the barren desert of some of the pre-historic worlds.

    On the artefacts front, I also noticed some minor aliasing.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They were clear, easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word.

    The layer changes occur during the second episode on each disc. They were not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is surprisingly good considering its encoding.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. Even though this track is not actually surround-encoded, when played with Pro Logic II it is certainly quite immersive.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music sounds great on this transfer and is very suitable to the nature of the show, adding tension and excitement.

    The surround speakers added quite a bit of atmosphere when played with Pro Logic II. This soundtrack would have been a corker in 5.1.

     The subwoofer was used quite a lot for the creatures and other crashes and bashes. Obviously this is a function of my amp's bass management.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu included an intro, motion, music and is well designed but too LOUD compared to the show itself!

Packaging

    This series is nicely packaged in a cardboard slipcover hosing a double amaray. The slipcover features dinosaurs teeth and they are raised giving a nice textural effect to the picture.

Behind the Scenes (45:52)

    A comprehensive and highly informative making of featurette which includes interesting interviews and does not take itself too seriously. Discussion includes the style they were going for, filming problems, editing, CGI, the two-director approach, casting, the difficulties of acting with tennis balls, anecdotes, goofs, models and much more. Top extra!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series is available in Region 2. The Region 2 version is the same as our original local release. Not available in Region 1.

Summary

    A fun and exciting science fiction action series from the people who brought you Walking With Dinosaurs.

    The video quality is a bit disappointing.

    The audio quality is very good.

    One quality extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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