Monday, January 14, 2013

Bio-Art: Primeval: New World.

Recently, I found out that one of my favorite shows, Primeval, was getting a reboot. In short, it's about a team tracking down anomalies - sparkly holes in time-space that, as Primeval: New World so delicately put it, "spit out dinosaurs." I then proceeded to watch one of the current 8 episodes every day. 

My main thought, so far, is this: It's not as good as the original. Here are just a few reasons why:

First thing's first: The leads are different in ways that affect one's view of the anomalies. Both of our protagonists (Nick in the original, Evan here) lost their wives to an anomaly. (Spoiler: Later in the series, Mack counts here, too.) This is a stable premise that I can't blame them for using again. It's how they used it in the new series that bugs me.

Here's a brief summary of what happened at the start of season one of the original: Nick Cutter, lost his wife Helen under mysterious circumstances eight years ago. After seeing her once again, Nick begins looking into the time-space anomalies for more hints, effectively founds ARC, and meets a team of various scientific professionals. Helen effectively leaves bread crumbs for Nick to follow through time and space as the series progresses. She turns out to be nothing short of an evil genius.

Compare this with the Nick-equivalent, Evan Cross. Evan and his wife wandered into an abandoned cooling area, chasing a magnetic field that made Evan's cell phone go crazy. His wife then got eaten by an Albertosaurus. Since then, Evan has been chasing anomalies with a big company and an odd bunch of scientists and hunters backing him up, including some people from the office who just so happened to take martial arts. His goal is to protect the public from anomalies and the things that come out of them.

So, problems: 1. Evan was an idiot, despite supposedly being a crazy genius at other times; 2. while his approach towards anomalies is understandable, it is not as efficient or sympathetic as in the original. This series was a little bit flawed from the start. It reminds me of "Ghostbusters-" OK, "Dinobusters." There's a bud of an over-arching plot in New World, but whether it will be as amazing as the first series's remains to be seen.

Another problem: I miss Abby. I also miss her Coelurosauravus, Rex, who was the mascot character for the entire series. New World has no mascot character to remind us that these animals need to be taken back home, not necessarily killed. In a series like this, they are almost literally morality pets. The humans have to keep reminding themselves that these things with menacing teeth and claws are just lost. Rage has already led to the death of two Lycanops; this lack of respect will likely get the new team into hot water.

Our "Abby" replacement is a woman in "Predator Control" named Dylan. Although I do see where her skills would come in handy, her know-how with large preds just barely scratches the prowess that the original Primeval team had with Abby and Nick put together. Abby had an extensive knowledge of both handling large animals and animal husbandry; Nick was an evolutionary zoologist, someone with an extensive knowledge of prehistoric life. It's hard to roll both of those into one individual.

Dylan tries to handle both Nick and Abby, researching dinosaurs on the internet and having experience with modern predators. The result either falls flat on its face or works ingeniously, depending on the situation. She is particularly insightful about animal behavior, but sometimes things do not come out right. No competent fan of carnivorids would ever call hyenas canines, unless I severely misunderstood that particular line.

This is not to say that New World is utter junk. It's still Primeval- that is, monsters of the week with quirky characters. Give it time; the previous Primeval was well-crafted. It's up to the two writers of this new, Canadian-based show to outdo it in roughly the same amount of time, which it has not had yet.  The twist at the end of 8 is promising, to say the least.

Is it as good as the original Primeval? No. Is it still good? If you want to understand the basic premise of Primeval and see some cool prehistoric animals, yes. Otherwise, go watch the original and wait for this one to get more episodes. . 

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