Tad awk­ward when wife shows up in time

Primeval 7.30pm, Nine

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Ian Cuth­bert­son

THIS is your last chance to see one of the fresh­est, most imag­i­na­tive shows to air this cen­tury. If it seems like only yes­ter­day we were re­view­ing Primeval , it was in fact six weeks ago.

That’s cer­tainly a fast turn­around for The Aus­tralian ’ s television pages, but there’s a good rea­son: this is the fi­nal episode. A short sea­son, to be sure. A sec­ond se­ries is in the works, to be shown in Eng­land on ITV next year, but the Nine net­work can­not say whether it has de­cided to buy it.

By Amer­i­can stan­dards, six episodes is a minis­eries. If the mak­ers of Primeval make seven episodes in the sec­ond se­ries, they will have a re­spectable 13, about half the run of Law & Or­der or Lost , which man­age about 22 shows a year.

Still, it can’t be easy to cre­ate a menagerie of mon­sters that in­ter­act al­most flaw­lessly with hu­man char­ac­ters on de­mand. Primeval was born of the creative pair­ing of TV writer Adrian Hodges ( The Lost World, Charles II: The Power and the Pas­sion ) and screen­writer and di­rec­tor Tim Haines, who made his name in BBC pop­u­lar science pro­grams such as Walk­ing with Di­nosaurs and Walk­ing with Beasts.

There was a hint of the hu­mour and imag­i­na­tion of Primeval at the end of the last episode of one of those quite se­ri­ous pro­grams, which used dig­i­tal me­dia to bring the di­nosaurs to life. Those who made it to the end of the credit roll were re­warded with a small but stun­ning en­core. A di­nosaur walked on with a cig­a­rette in one hand and a glass of cham­pagne in the other. ‘‘ You know what I hate?’’ he be­gan in a plummy, English ac­tor’s voice. ‘‘ An­i­ma­tors!’’

At the time I re­mem­ber think­ing that the mak­ers of the ground­break­ing se­ries were not go­ing to be con­tent to play sec­ond fid­dle to the science for long. Voila! Eight years later we have a bold, char­ac­ter- rich ensem­ble, set in the present with vis­i­ta­tions from the past through tem­po­ral por­tals.

Six weeks is a long time in pol­i­tics and it can be an eter­nity in TV. Lead char­ac­ter Nick Cut­ter ( Douglas Hen­shall), who was grief- stricken when he lost his ad­ven­tur­ous wife to the por­tal in episode one, seems to have fallen for a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful Home Of­fice of­fi­cial. Which makes it a bit awk­ward when the wife re­turns tonight. There’s a new preda­tor on the loose in Lon­don, but it’s not from the past. Now where else might a tem­po­ral por­tal open its un­canny doors? I can feel a sec­ond se­ries com­ing on.

Bril­liant: Han­nah Spear­ritt, Douglas Hen­shall and Ben Miller in Primeval

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