Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Primeval Season 3 Finale: To Helen Back Again

(Previously, the title of this post was ‘Pre-emptive Disappointment’)

Okay, okay, that’s probably what’s known as prejudice, as in pre-judice, pre-judgement. But the track record of Season 3 has been unrelentingly dismal. One glance at the wikipedia page of series 3 episodes reveals that Adrian Hodges has written not ONE of them. This seems very weird to me; if I were the main man and originator of a TV series which becomes very successful after two seasons, the last thing I`d do would be to drop the ball like this. My spidey senses tell me that there’s something going on behind the scenes which has led to what is in effect a complete revamp of the cast and the direction and the intent that is driving the programme.

To repeat what I know, apparently the concepts/ideas for each episode are put together in-house at Impossible Pictures who then hire writers to flesh out the ideas into workable shooting scripts. Steve Baillie, who wrote the daft runaround of episode one, has also written tonight’s season finale. God alone knows what idiocies will be shoehorned onto the small screen, but at least I know that, for myself, this’ll be my last Primeval analysis – heck, life is too short, donchaknow.

(More later, ie tomorrow)


If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I just wouldn’t have believed that  a scriptwriter could dare employ such a technically ignorant plot solution. But they did, right there, in full view of the audience. Look, it’s like this – the very notion of powering a large desk-sized megaprocessing device, complete with fancy holographic projections, off a pile of car batteries is, to use an analytical term, bollocks. Sure, many mainframes have what’s known as a UPS, an uninterruptable power supply, fed from battery cells in the event of a break in the mains supply, but these are only meant to keep the system going for several minutes while essential filesaves and backups are made. Not, as seems clear from last night’s finale, running Diabolical Helen’s big fancy cyberanomalydesk for, what, weeks? months? Years, even? And then to suggest that a small heap of TORCH BATTERIES will spark it up and get it running is nothing short of totally sodding demented.

And did you notice that the batteries were stacked next to each other then had a strip of duct tape wrapped around them, which had me wondering if they were going to wire them up in parallel or what, and why? Then I stopped and remembered, hey, the entire notion is complete pants – you may as well try to run an industrial power lathe off a coupla PP3 batteries, or knock up a handy, DIY gene-splicing kit from the stuff in Abby’s pockets, or slap together an animatronic version of Danny Quin using his jacket, half an Ikea bed assembly kit, and 3000 calculator batteries (or did they do that?). Point is, its fatuous and insulting, and illustrates the programme makers’ attitude as this – “Well, we think that Primeval’s general viewer profile is someone aged roughly 8 to 10, in terms of a rational ability to spot complete bollocks, so yeah, we`ll go with the batteries idea. Cool!”

There were numerous other clanging duds in this extravagantly clodhopping dudfest, like the usual Abby & Connor duet romsitcomflop (now a regular and deliberate suckup feature for the Abby-hearts-Connor crowd), with its deadass dialogue and meaningful looks. Or Becker and Sarah scurrying around in Christine Johnston’s now cavernously empty Evil Genius hideout, evading a bunch of plot devices sent thr0ugh from the future. Or Danny Q getting the drop on Diabolical Helen in her future, battery-powered Lair of Evil, by holding a gun on her; only it seems that Danny Quin has forgotten everything he learned during police training cos he lets her shuffle up close to him with the gun pressed against her forehead, just close enough…for her to taser him. Yeah, makes sense, if I had in my sights an evil genius known for her perfidy and ruthlessness, I would certainly let her get within arms length of me and not notice what she has in her hands.

As if.

Then there’s Danny chasing after Helen through the Great Rift Valley, to stop her wiping out Humanity’s ancestral hominids (and thus the human race) – only it ends with Diabolical Helen being chomped by a velociraptor which just happened to follow the Quinster through from the Cretaceous. Nah, sorry, this was about as dramatically unsatisfying as it is possible to be – after all that Helen had done, all the betrayal and intrigue and killing Nick, for her to end that way makes all the other effort and struggle seem pointless. She may as well have just tripped and fell and broken her neck, for all the actual human dramatic impact that it had.

There is a quote from the writer and poet, Ben Okri, which goes -

“To poison a nation, poison its stories. A demoralised nation tells demoralised stories to itself. Beware of the storytellers who are not fully conscious of the importance of their gifts, and who are irresponsible in the application of their art.”

As you might gather, story telling and writing is important to me – I try to do the best I can in my writing by first not committing obvious errors, by not choosing a safe, easy route. Primeval season 3 is full of lazy, negligent writing and, sadly, I have to say that I hope that there isn’t a season 4.

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Other Posts of Potential Interest:

  1. Primeval Season 3: A Brief Summation
  2. Primeval S3 Ep6: Turkeys Of Doom
  3. Primeval Season 3: What The Hell Happened? – Updated
  4. Primeval Season 3 Episode 3: Why It Sucked
  5. Primeval S3 Ep 9 – Attack Of The Zombie Dialogue Monsters!

17 Comments already, do join in...

  1. Primeval fan Says:

    June 7th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I think Primeval series 3 clashed with Surviviors and Adrian had to work with Survivors as that needed a fesh start. And, after seeing all of the episodes, season 3 has been the best by far.

  2. rockitboy Says:

    June 7th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    That’s the spirit, keep on whistling!

  3. Primeval fan Says:

    June 9th, 2009 at 4:53 pm


  4. rockitboy Says:

    June 9th, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Yeah, I know. Sorry. It’s just that pesky bias of mine, you know, the one where I’m biased against poor writing.

  5. Primeval fan Says:

    June 10th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    You see poor writing where there is none.

  6. rockitboy Says:

    June 10th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Ah, a technical judgement. And you base this upon what experience, exactly?

  7. Primeval Fan Says:

    June 13th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    You don’t need to be a published author to see that there are no plot holes in a show.

  8. rockitboy Says:

    June 13th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    True, but opinions are like arseholes – everyone’s got one, therefore in deciding which opinion comes closer to the truth, the track record of the Opinionator is what generally carries weight.

    Or do you think anyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s?

  9. Mark Chitty Says:

    June 15th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I must admit that it didn’t do much for me this series, a shame because the general idea is one that _could_ work well. Plus the new characters just felt wrong.

    I’m pleased it’s been cancelled though (http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news.....cancelled/), ITV needs to invest money in better shows, hopefully some scifi/fantasy…

  10. rockitboy Says:

    June 15th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Yes, just found out this very nugget from my editor – and while I agree with you, Mark laddie, let me add a wee revision there -

    ‘ITV (or rather Impossible Pictures, the prodn company) needs to invest money in better writers’.


  11. Sarah Says:

    July 2nd, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Thats really damn…..season 3 is the best……. i don`t now what you see !!!!

  12. rockitboy Says:

    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting viewpoint, there. I`ll bet that you find a lot of really great stuff on TV all the time, then! Y`know, stuff like Big Brother, Gladiators and Dawsons Creek….

  13. Sean Says:

    July 26th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    There were definitely a million holes this season, particularly (but not limited to) in the finale:

    Why did Helen bother to push Christine Johnson into her demise in the future if she was going to wipe out the entire human race anyway?

    By destroying the one group of Hominids, Helen would still have altered the destiny of a large percentage of the human race, since she notes there are only a limited number of groups she must kill to eradicate mankind (unless you buy that, since there really is a site 333, wherein no less than 17 – the 13 number referenced by Connor has long been discarded by experts – perished from a single, unknown source, Helen did not alter history, she was always intended to poison them).

    Why didn’t she just take the artifact with her, instead of tossing it to the floor?

    Why didn’t she smash her computer setup before departinng?

    What kind of idea could Sarah possibly have at the conclusion of the finale?

    What was the point of Becker and Sara even going to the Johnson site; they were quickly scared off by the winged predators (who still maintain control of the center) and never followed up with the anomaly: all three of their teammates and Helen could’ve been just inside.

    Does anyone really believe Cutter would’ve really gone back for Helen (who might just as well have already left through another anomaly or via a different exit in the ARC)?

    I could go on, but let’s just start with that. Nevertheless, I still find the show entertaining and hope they find a way to make a season 4 (or at least a movie), if for no other reason, I’m always going to feel bad that Claudia Brown has been completely wiped out of existence.

  14. rockitboy Says:

    July 26th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    There are so many really clever things that could have been done with the anomaly concept, and the cliffhangers in the first 2 seasons each raised the prog to a new level. But season 3 was little more than hackwork, unfortunately.

  15. Sean Says:

    July 27th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    P.S. How did Connor come to possess the device that eventually allowed him to open the anomaly to follow Helen. He’d only just seen the handheld when Helen used it to fend off the prehistoric Rhinos, even expressing amazement at it. He never had an opportunity to examine it in the ensuing hours before Helen’s escape back to the future ARC, much less actually develop a similar one.

  16. rockitboy Says:

    July 27th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Didnt he pick one up in Helens Lair of Evil? Amazes me how Connor went from hat-wearing dino-geek to Super-Science Boy, capable of operating mysterious teknogizmos after a mere cursory glance.

  17. Sean Says:

    July 28th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Oh, I thought he whipped it out of his pocket. If you’re correct, let’s go with the uestion: “Why would Helen leave a duplicate around for him to find?”

    As Cutter described Connor to Lester, “He looks like a half-wit, but he’s got a really big brain.”

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