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Series: Primeval
aka: Prim Eval

Lester: You're aware of the work we do here?
Becker: You detect anomalies and fight dinosaurs, when necessary.

Primeval (2007-) is ITV's answer to the revived Doctor Whonote , with less traveling through the cosmos, but more death (of recurring characters, anyway) and more underwear. Or, more accurately, ITV's answer to the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.

Primeval involves a group of crack scientists and experts note  protecting modern Britain from trans-temporal threats. These mostly consist of extinct, usually prehistoric, beasties trolling around the South of England after coming through magnetic time portals known as "anomalies".

Actual dinosaurs didn't appear till the second season (despite the show being often initially billed as Torchwood with dinosaurs); Season One focuses primarily on the more ancient time periods, with some dodos, a pterosaur, a sea reptile, and a predatory creature from the future thrown in for flavor. In the later seasons, some completely fictional prehistoric species and more future creatures appear along with the dinosaurs.

The series launched in 2007 and ran for three seasons until its cancellation in 2009 due to budget problems. Two years later, it was revived and ran for two more seasons, the last of which ended in late 2011. A sixth season is possible, but not currently planned.

However, a Darker and Edgier Canadian spinoff, Primeval: New World, started broadcasting on Space on October 29th and is scheduled to air on SyFy and Hulu in early 2013. An American Big Damn Movie (currently in Development Hell) was also announced. Unfortunately, New World was cancelled in February 2013.

Episode Guide pages for both the main show and New World have started.

Spoiler Warning: The vast majority of the spoiler tags on this page relate to the finale of Season 3. If you are watching the series and have not got to this point yet, you do not want to highlight these. You Have Been Warned.

Primeval provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc
    • The Jenny/Claudia arc from series 1 and 2 has gone this way as of series 3, mainly due to Douglas Henshall leaving the show. The whole thing with Sarah at the end of Series 3. The creators couldn't have filmed the scenes with Sarah dying BEFORE moving to Dublin, could they? No, it doesn't seem like they could... so, she dies off-screen (we see a little of her death in the first webisode; she's in a car, trapped, mauled by a Future Predator and cries "Becker! BECKER!") in what was, apparently, her plan.
    • Jess moving in with Connor and Abby looked like the set-up for a comedy arc, then... nothing.
    • Nearly everything involving Cutter disappeared after his death.
    • Danny Quinn chasing Patrick Quinn through the anomaly. Presumably, they both died.
  • Action Dress Rip: Abby and Sarah in episode 6 of S3. "Great for dancing, not so much for cross-country."
  • Action Girl: Abby becomes one, YMMV on when. Emily from the Victorian era is also a notable example; when she returns to her era she becomes Spring Heel Jack to hunt down a Raptor, getting the blame for its wrongdoings, but is still capable at killing it.
  • Actor Allusion: Abby is played by Hannah Spearritt, who before this was best known for being a member of the band S Club 7. In the Season 4 premier, when she turns on music in an arena to distract a dinosaur, what plays? "Don't Stop Moving" by S Club 7.
  • Adorkable
    • Connor is a textbook example.
    • Jess Parker, who joined in between seasons 3 and 4.
    • Conner's New Dawn Assistant plays this up but is really just pretending.
  • Adult Fear:
    • A season 4 episode has a pack of prehistoric creatures loose in a school during Saturday detention. A parent who sent their child off to do detention in an empty school and find out that there is some kind of wild animal or dangerous person on the loose. To make matters worse, the teacher is the first to die leaving the students alone. To make matters even worse one of the children wanders off and gets eaten before the team can save her.
    • A season 2 episode has a little girl and her dog disappearing through an anomaly. The girl in question had lost both her parents and was being taken care of by her neglectful older brother. And she was outside and found the anomaly because he wouldn't play with her. Imagine having someone in your care lost somewhere where they can't get back as a result of you neglecting them.
  • Affirmative Action Girl
    • Sarah in season 3.
    • Jess and Emily in season 4.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Philip. Unlike Helen, who went crazy and tried to kill humanity, Philip really believed he was saving the future and only wanted to do good. After he realizes the mistake he made, he goes through a Villainous BSOD just moments before he sacrifices his life in an attempt to undo all the wrong he's caused.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Rex often exhibits some very doglike behaviour despite being a prehistoric Coelurosauravus lizard. He is extremely playful and curious, begs for attention, crouches low to the ground and quivers when scared, and frequently wags his tail and cocks his head in a doglike manner. Subverted, however, in that he displays just as many typically reptilian behaviours.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Connor —> Abby —> Stephen —> Helen —> Nick —> Claudia. At first, anyway.
  • All Myths Are True: Or at least some of them. The animals that travel through the anomalies explain gaps in the fossil record, Lazarus taxa, the Loch Ness monster, mermaids, chupacabra, dragons, sea serpents and other monsters, thunder birds, Egyptian mythical beasts and even gremlins and haunted houses.
  • All There in the Manual: Miscellaneous character trivia. Some of it (like Helen's maiden name and Claudia being a Lethal Chef) never showed up in the series proper, some (like Lester having kids) showed up in very minor ways, and some (like Stephen being in a relationship that ended badly: with Helen: prior to the series proper) played a role.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us
  • Always a Bigger Fish
  • Always Save Rex: Abby repeatedly goes back into danger to save Rex.
  • Anachronism Stew
    • In episode 4.1, a Spinosaurus is seen in the same forest as raptors and Pteranodons, although this is more a case of Misplaced Wildlife.
    • Also, in episode 1.5 a flock of Jurassic Anurognathus come out of the same anomaly as a Cretaceous Pteranodon (though they were apparently a new species evolved to feed on flesh rather than insects.
    • Though really it's possible that these can be explained by the anomolies, something that is mentioned frequently throughout the series.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Mostly played straight, but averted with the Mer; the alpha has noticeable small breasts.
  • Animal Nemesis: A minor example in the Canadian spin-off with Evan Cross and the Albertosaurus.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Many of the prehistoric creatures are larger than their real-life counterparts for Rule of Cool.
  • Animal Testing: Horrific examples of this take place in Project MAGNET's experiments in the Canadian series.
  • Anyone Can Die: At least four major characters and many minor characters died. Taken to the furthest extreme with the death of the main character in Series three.
  • Apocalypse How: It appears the future might hold a Level 2 or even 3 (probably 3a)...
  • Apocalyptic Log: In 3x06.
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: Orphaned sabretooth tiger upholds its natural instincts when it comes to the woman who raised it. At least for a while.
  • Artistic License - Biology: The creators do this knowingly and willingly for the sake of Rule of Cool.
    • Most notably, the Dracorex looks less like an ornithischian dinosaur and more like a dragon, with wing-like dorsal crests, exaggerated horns, and no cheeks.
    • Also, while the time for tranquilizer darts to take effect varies, it's usually more than ten minutes, as opposed to less than five seconds.
    • In the first episode, Cutter comes across a human skeleton. He is initially worried that it may be his missing wife, but he soon realizes that it's a male skeleton and thus can't be her. Fair enough, but the way he checks is by counting the number of ribs. Never mind that this is based solely on the Biblical account, which even then only affected one individual from who knows how long ago (it was never said to be a hereditary trait). Checking the shape of the hipbones would be easier.
  • Asshole Victim: The person who dies at the beginning of most of the episodes is usually exaggeratedly unpleasant for the sake of comedic effect.
    • Notable examples include the cocky golfer at the beginning of 1.5 and the obnoxious paintballer in 2.3.
    • The journalists from series 3.
    • Also, Christine Johnson, who was killed by a Future Predator after she was pushed into an anomaly leading into the future, by Helen Cutter. She had orchestrated a military takeover of the ARC, and was previously described by Lester as "like a Velociraptor, only better-dressed".
    • The guy on the beach in the penultimate episode of season 2, who refuses to turn down his loud music when asked, in fact turns it up, and draws a Silurian scorpion right to him.
    • the Alpha Bitch who gets eaten by a Therocephalian.
    • Henry Merchant definitely counts.
    • So does April.
  • A-Team Firing: Lester tries to kill a Future Predator with an L110A1 Light Machine Gun. Despite firing an entire belt of ammunition, he only manages to hit it twice. Lester was a home office agent (the British equivlent of the CIA, FBI, and DEA) meaning he probably had light firearms training and could probably rock a 9mm or an smg — but those don't have the stopping power for a Future Predator.
    • Though that was probably more a case of the Predator being so fast that he literally couldn't hit it even with that many bullets.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Lester has done this at least once with every single other protagonist. For one of the best instances of this, take a look at how many times he asks about Abby and Connor in 4x01.
  • Badass Bookworm: Conner, after he gets a few levels of badass under his belt.
  • Bad Future
    • In the third season's future, hordes of Future Predators and huge insects called Megopterans have eaten humanity to extinction.
    • According to Matt, humans live underground, because the surface is sterile and can't sustain life anymore.
    • Even more worrying, it's implied that this Future was caused by Helen in her attempts to prevent a different Bad Future where humanity has mysteriously disappeared, Future Predators and giant wasp-like insects now rule the world, and there's evidence to suggest this was all the ARC's fault.
  • Bald of Evil: Captain Ross (one of Christine's soldiers) sports one.
  • Balls of Steel: Used in Series 3, Episode 7, where Danny tricks a knight with the old Look Up routine, only to discover out his groin is armour-protected.
  • Benevolent Boss: Lester, albeit one hiding behind a Jerkass Fašade. And if you think that the ARC employees don't know this, take a look at the round of applause he gets after his (forced) 10-Minute Retirement.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Threatening Rex will likely result in Abby beating the crap out of you.
    • Threatening Abby, or even just making her unhappy, will result in Connor coming after you with whatever he can find - oars, rocks, Becker, anything handy.
    • Lester is normally a very composed guy, who will nevertheless use every means at his disposal to take you down if you either a) usurp his authority or b) threaten his Jag. The former involves political connections and clever subordinates. The latter involves an EMD.
      • An understated bonus point: don't try to usurp his authority while simultaneously implying that the genius he's a bit of a Team Dad towards should fetch you coffee.
    • Even Team Pet Rex seems to have one of these. Call him "that thing" and he will bite your finger off, as Caroline learned the hard way.
    • Jenny, crash her wedding, and you WILL pay, as the Hyaenodon found out.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While she never exactly gets serious, it's probably not a good idea to underestimate Jess. She is able to keep relatively composed while being instructed to dismantle a bomb, she was able to shoot a two-inch beetle from about ten feet away while hallucinating and half-unconscious, and she even managed to, somehow, go from one side of the ARC to the other, while running into about four Future Predators, and with an injured Lester, and do all of this without getting so much as a scratch. And she also had to have switched guns between Point A and Point B, which is important to note because when the whole incident started, only one gun in the entire building was loaded.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: more than a few, including Carboniferous arachnids and a massive centipede, wasp-like Megopterans and burrowing beetles from the future.
  • Big Bad: Season 1 is the only one that doesn't have a main villain. Season 2 has Oliver Leek, Season 3 has Helen Cutter, Season 4 has Ethan Dobrowski/Patrick Quinn, and Season 5 has Philip Burton.
    • The novel Primeval: Fire and Water has Tom Samuels.
    • There are also one-episode Big Bads in each season: Connor's friend Tom in Episode 1.4, Valerie Irwin in Episode 2.3, Katherine Kavanagh and Mick Harper in Episode 3.4, Sir William de Mornay in Episode 3.7, Ray and Moria Lennon in Episode 4.5, and Henry Merchant in Episode 5.3.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Stephen is pretty much a walking Big Damn Heroes moment. Even comic relief Connor gets one of these moments in Season 2, episode 4.
    • Connor gets another in Season 3 when he saves Abby from a Raptor
      • Matt and Becker get several of these in Series 3 (Becker) and Series 4 and 5 (Becker and Matt).
  • Big Damn Kiss: Cutter and Claudia in Season 1. Connor and Abby in season 3.
  • Big Damn Movie: In an interview on Radio 2 the cast revealed a Big Damn Movie is in the planning stages.
  • Big Damn Villains
    • In the first season finale, the Gorgonopsid shows up at the exact right moment.
    • As does the Raptor in the third season finale.
    • The giant mutant ants emerge from the tunnels just in time to distract the Future Predators.
  • Big "NO!": Abby does this in S2, episode 4. Impressively enough, Hannah Spearritt actually makes it work.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The episode where Cutter dies.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: April
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: The "future predators" use echolocation, represented on-screen with distorted false-color imagery and concentric, pulsing rings of sonic energy. This is probably due to their bat ancestry.
  • Black Comedy: The death that takes place at the beginning of most episodes to introduce the creature is often Played for Laughs, often showing the victim screaming exaggeratedly and making them an Asshole Victim.
  • Body Horror
  • Bond One-Liner: "Good boy."
  • Boom, Headshot: The first Future Predator is killed in this way.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Well, Jenny did ask for Cutter's exact words...
  • Bring It Back Alive: What they do with animals they can't send back through their anomaly or are forced to kill.
  • British Brevity: Every series is six or seven episodes long, except series three which went for ten.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The whole ARC crew according to Lester (and probably Lester too, given his relations with Whitehall).
    Lester: You will be dealing with a highly strung and temperamental team of rank amateurs who just happen to be brilliant at what they do.
  • The Bus Came Back
    • Jenny reappears when the team detects an anomaly at her wedding. She is really not happy about that... the Anomaly, I mean, not the team; she doesn't mind seeing them, invites them to the wedding and beats a Hyaenodon with a candlebra.
    • Danny reappears at the end of season 4.
  • Butt Monkey
    • Connor... sort of.
    • Jack Maitland
  • Cain and Abel: Danny and Ethan. Because Ethan is Patrick, Danny's long lost brother.
  • The Cameo: Nigel Marven, star of Chased By Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Park has a nice cameo... in which he's eaten by a dino.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Helen seems to be trying to prevent the end of the world, but instead of explaining that to the ARC team she prefers to drop cryptic hints that serve only to antagonize them and hurt her cause. Probably because her idea of saving the world involves eradicating humanity.
  • Car Fu
    • Used by Stephen in the first episode against the Gorgonopsid. It saves Nick and Claudia from becoming monster food, but doesn't actually kill the creature. Liberal application of dakka is what kills it.
    • Used by Matt in Season 5 against a T. rex.
  • Cat Fight: Abby vs. Caroline toward the end of Season 2
  • Celebrity Paradox: The S Club 7 song "Don't Stop Movin" is heard in the first episode of Series 4, thus creating the possibility that Hannah Spearitt exists in this universe.
  • Character Development
  • The Charmer: Danny
  • Chekhov's Gun: The numbers on the artifact.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.
    • Helen Cutter at first.
    • In season 4 Danny's long lost brother returns (as does Danny himself)
  • Cliff Hanger
    • Season 1 ends with the disappearance of Claudia.
    • Season 2 ends with Helen creating an army of clones.
    • Season 3 ends with Connor and Abby stuck up a tree in the Cretaceous, Danny in the Rift Valley at the Dawn of Humanity, and Sarah having a plan to save them.
    • Season 4 ends with Matt leaving the anomaly to Victorian London (to which he had sent Emily back through) to plan his next move to save the future while Philip takes Connor into his automobile to discuss Connor's theory of convergence.
    • Season 5 ends with Matt being warned by a battered future version of himself that he has to "go back". A very bad place to leave it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Danny. However "Hey, You!" Haymaker / Groin Attack fails against knight in plate armor.
  • Container Maze: In episode 4.2, featuring an extended face-off against a Kaprosuchus.
  • Continuity Nod: In 5x05, after dealing with a T. rex, Becker makes a comment about the EMDs actually being able to take one down. In the first episode of season four, while arguing with Matt over the effectiveness of EMDs, Matt said that they could take down a fully-grown tyrannosaur.
  • Cool Anomaly: It looks like shattered glass and is very bad luck.
  • Cool Car: In Season 3, the anomaly appeared at Racetrack full of Lotus Exiges.
  • Cowardly Lion: Connor, before beginning his installment course in Badass.
  • Da Chief: Lester slips into it every so often.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    • Lester gets the all best lines in the show.
    • Cutter and Becker have had their moments as well, but Lester is still the king of this trope.
    • Connor develops a tendency to do this under stress.
    Connor: That's funny Matt, I thought we could all just stick our hands out the portholes and paddle back to the 21st century.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Poor Tom...
  • Digging Herself Deeper: Jess discussing Becker's relationship status in episode 4x02.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The Dracorex was understandably mistaken for a dragon when it wandered through medieval England.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A parasite that causes its host to become very aggressive, spreads itself through bites and alters the colour of their eyes?
  • Doubling For London: Season 4 was filmed mostly in Dublin but is set in London. (In a particularly jarring instance for Irish viewers, the second episode of series has numerous shots of the unmistakable Poolbeg Power Station chimneys in what is supposedly London Docks.)
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: As befits an Anyone Can Die show, Primeval likes dropping bridges.
    • The most egregious example so far is probably Sarah, who was last seen saying she had "a plan" to get Connor and Abby back from the past. A year later, they get back on their own, to discover she died offscreen at some point, apparently in some undescribed attempt to save them. Yeah. As it turns out, her plan was to go to the future and find Abby, Connor and Danny... great idea! You die. In a car. Mauled by a predator, while crying out for Becker...
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Emily has one on Matt.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Nick Cutter bites it to make way for Danny Quinn early in Season 3.
  • Dying Declaration of Love
    • Matt and Emily, crosses "Now or Never Kiss".
    • Claudia and Nick in series 1.
  • Embarrassing First Name: When asked by a fan, ITV revealed that Captain Becker's first name is Hilary.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Word of God is that Lester's middle name is Peregrine.
  • Endangered Species: Until-recently-extinct species. Also, the dodo birds were endangered in the time they came from.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Lester and Becker end Christine Johnson's takeover of the ARC by recording her less-than-complimentary comments about the Minister of Defence.
  • Eureka Moment: Sarah talking Egyptology lets Cutter figure how to plot anomalies appearances, or at least begin to.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "All right, Leek. You've had your nasty little joke." This comes from Helen Cutter, of all people.
  • Evil Chancellor: In many ways, this is Leek's role in Season 2.
  • Evil Gloating
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Helen
  • Exact Eaves Dropping: Done enough times it is practically the preferred way of getting information.
  • Expanded Universe: There are four Primeval novels based on the TV series. The novels are canon, and each one is set between two episodes of the TV series.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Helen between Seasons 1 and 2, Nick between 2 and 3, and Abby between 3 and 4.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: The series veered into this pretty soon with either the mammoth on the (crowded) motorway, the Egyptian prehistoric crocodile on the rampage in central London, or at the very latest the prehistoric rhino stampede over a camp ground.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The anomaly detector in the ARC.
  • Face-Heel Turn: During Christine's takeover of the ARC, Becker switches sides and becomes her loyal soldier. Or at least she thinks he does, in reality he is a Reverse Mole for Lester.
  • Face Palm: Abby does this right after Connor throws dirt in the eyes of a raptor in the last episode of series three. "That was a stupid idea; I've just aggravated him!"
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner
    • "Oh, and one last thing? You really are a tiresome little man." Of course, Lester doesn't actually die, but still.
    • Cutter's death. "You know what, Helen? You're not as smart as I thought you were..." (Beat, then Helen pulls the trigger; even SHE is crying.) Note, these aren't actually his last lines, (which were, "Tell Claudia Brown ... oh, never mind ..."), as he had a conversation with Connor, but his last lines before being shot.
  • Famous Last Words: From Sarah... sort of. "I have an idea." Yeah... apparently that idea is getting killed! (Technically, according to The first webisode episode, she was trapped in a car, mauled by a Future Predator and her last words were actually "Becker! BECKER!") Also Cutter, "Tell Claudia Brown that....never mind, it doesn't matter."
  • Fanservice
    • Abby wanders around her apartment in her underwear because she needs to keep the temperature on high for her pet prehistoric lizard. Riiiiight. We stopped seeing this in Season 2 (after the actress found out what a big deal was made over what she thought would be just a short scene).
    • Then Helen took over that role. Sans any underwear at all.
    • Most of Abby's regular outfits qualify though, and her kickboxing practice affords many more opportunities.
    • Jenny's outfits in series 2 and 3 as well as her very short dress in series 4.
    • For the ladies, Becker taking his shirt off towards the end of 4.04. And how.
    • Same goes for Connor, three episodes earlier. Yum.
    • Actually 4.04 featured BOTH Matt AND Becker shirtless. (And the extent of Matt's state of undress is left to the audience to ponder.)
  • Fantastic Romance
    • For a show making use of Time Travel and with a few Official Couplesž, it's kinda strange that Matt and Emily in S4/5 is the first example. He's from the far future, she's from Victorian London, and they meet in the 21st century. It's all a bit "Time Traveller's Wife" isn't it?
    • One could argue the UST between Cutter and Jenny in Series 2 was a Fantastic Romance. It's certainly not normal for the main source of angst in a relationship to be that one party can't tell whether the other party looks lovingly at her because he actually loves her or whether it's just because she reminds him of the girl he loved in a timeline that he accidentally destroyed by changing the past.
  • Feathered Fiend: The phorusrachids, and to a lesser extent, the Hesperornis and the raptors, which did have some light feathers, which you will notice, if you look closely, enough. Also, the dodo bird (albeit only when infected with a fast-acting and deadly parasite).
  • Fish out of Temporal Water
    • Sir William in S3, mistaking modern London for Hell. Easy mistake to make, though. Not that it breaks his spirit much as he promptly shows a few minutes later as he scares the shit out of some allegedly badass bikers in a bar, forcing them to cower under the table.
    • Emily, a lady from the Victorian era, in modern London in S4. Her and Ethan also reference groups of time-displaced humans who wander through anomalies and manage to be every variant of Fish out of Temporal Water at once. However, Emily, since she was from a time closer to our own, and a time that wasn't as superstitious as the Middle Ages, became accustomed to life in the 21st century more easily than De Mornay did.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderization
    • James Lester originally was more serious while making a few sarcastic comments in Series 1. In Series 2 and 3, his sarcasm and comedy was a bit more obvious, but in Series 4 and 5, he is a complete goof.
    • In Series 5, Abby's tendancy to keep cool in tough situations disappears.
    • Connor was always very intelligent, though his intelligence was exaggerated in the fourth and fifth series, to the point where he can even create machines that can open anomalies.
    • Helen has also grown more psychotic as the series progresses.
    • It could be argued that her psyche is simply degrading, though, and she just does keep getting crazier.
  • Flynning: Danny and a couple of iron bars + Knight with broadsword = Flynning in large quantities.
  • Full-Body Disguise: A hologram that obscures the face with a totally different one, as used by Eve/Helen.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    Jenny: I have to get back to the ARC.
    Sarah: The Ark?
    Connor: Not that one.
  • Gallows Humor:
    Jenny: There was an eyewitness: a young woman in the museum.
    Lester: Well, you know, have her shot and dispose of her body discreetly. (as he's leaving) Just kidding.
  • Genius Bruiser: Nick Cutter
  • Genre Blindness:
    Lester: This isn't over, Christine.
    Christine: When people say that James, it usually is.
  • Genre Savvy
    • Cutter correctly assumes Leek keeps his cells bugged and uses it to convince an eavesdropping Helen that he still loves her.
    • Also:
    Danny: We should split up.
    Connor: Split up? I'm not splitting up! Have you not seen the horror movies?
  • Getting Hot in Here: Abby keeps her flat at high temperatures during Season 1 for Rex's comfort, so she goes around in her underwear (even when she has company...). This is also Helen's excuse for frequently stripping—she travels in time periods with higher temperatures than the present day.
  • Giant Flyer: Giant Flying Praying Mantis' from the future in Season 3 and the Pteranodon in Season 1. Also subverted the predatory subtrope by not having the big Pteranodon as the human killer, but small, probably-insectivorous Anurognathus. In the Canadian series, the species of Pteranodon featured was deadly during its mating season.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Phillip's Security Lockdown program. It locks down very well... UN-locking, however...
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals: Animals from the past are good, though they may be panicked in their new environment and likely to strike out. Animals from the future are evil monsters bent on exterminating humanity.
  • Government Conspiracy: Tossed around a few times.
    • Subverted in Season 2. Leek wasn't stockpiling creatures on behalf of the British government, he was just creating a small conspiracy ring within the ARC and the government.
    • Done a little more deliberately in Season 3 with Christine Johnson's plan to take over the ARC and gain power.
    • Finally played straight in a spin-off book of all things. Primeval: Fire and Water has a conspiracy within the government to use anomalies to go back in time and get oil from the past, using an oil refinery in South Africa as a front.
  • Guarding The Portal
  • Hand Behind Head: Connor and, lately, Abby seem quite fond of this.
  • Happy Ending Override: Lester fought against Christine's plans in Series 3 to insist that the ARC team be replaced with military-trained soldiers. In Series 4, we learn that he put the same rule in place himself after Connor, Abby and Danny got stuck in the past. Needless to say, Connor and Abby were not pleased when they got back.
  • Happy Place: Abby encourages Connor to find his when they're both stuck in a Cretaceous tree. She suggests a beach and Connor runs with the idea: He starts with the beach, adds Abby to the Happy Place, makes the water warm, and then puts Abby in a bikini. She's mildly amused, while we get pissed cause we know we're never going to see it.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: In the pilot and 3x01.
  • Heel-Face Turn
    • Helen flirts with this trope throughout Season 3 and even briefly plays it straight to save some campers from stampeding prehistoric rhinos, but in the end it's all a fake as virtually all the other spoiler tags on this page confirm.
    • Played straight with Caroline.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: For the most part. They're just as prone to panicking as any animals, though, which can cause them to become violent at times. The Dracorex and Pachycephalosaurus are prime examples.
  • Hero Antagonist: Philip Burton. He does have his villainous moments: trying to blow up the ARC team to prevent an infestation of beetle monsters, leaving Connor trapped in a car while prehistoric monsters are roaming around: but they're all done in the name of saving the world from the threat of Anomaly Convergence. When it turns out he was duped by Helen, and that in saving the world he opened a stable Anomaly leading to a Bad Future full of Future Predators and toxic winds, he attempts a Heroic Sacrifice, proving that even though he is willing to let people die to save the world, he's at least decent enough to include himself in that.
  • Heroic BSOD: The time-displaced Sir William has one during the episode with the Dracorex during which he briefly becomes a Death Seeker. He is redeemed by The Power of Love though (and a Stable Time Loop).
  • Heroic Sacrifice
    • Stephen in the finale of Season 2.
    • Season 3 finale: Connor is prepared to pull one of these to save Abby, but Indy Ploys his way out of it.
    • Becker a couple of episodes earlier, but he's Not Quite Dead.
    • Phillip tries to perform one at the end of Series 5, but it isn't enough.
    • Matt riding off into an apocalyptic anomaly. Fortunately for him, it wasn't actually lethal.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In the first episode of Season 2.
  • High Heel-Face Turn: A particularly jarring example in Caroline who was clearly depicted as amoral and even outright sadistic (including stuffing Rex into a fridge) but then suddenly developed sympathetic qualities.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Invoked by Carter in season 2 when a "Cleaner" mook is killed while infiltrating the ARC. He states that it has to be Helen, and that it's always Helen.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Oliver Leek, the villain of series 2, is killed by his own army of mind-controlled Future Predators after the mind-control device is broken.
  • Holy Backlight: When Emily goes back through the anomaly in series four.
  • Honey Trap: Caroline for Connor in season two. (She's working for Leek.)
  • Honorable Elephant: A Columbian mammoth once saves James Lester's life.
  • Honor Before Reason: Nick Cutter
  • Horrible Judge of Character
    • Stephen. What else can you say about a man who trusts Helen Cutter?
    • Nick is a minor example of this, at first. He pretty quickly stops trusting her.
    • Connor in Series 4-5. Stops trusting him [Philip] in episode 4 of series 5.
    • And Philip himself is yet another guy who trusted Helen.
  • Hospital Hottie: Abby is a qualified vet.
  • Hot Scientist: Sarah Page; Connor; Cutter...
  • How Do You Like Them Apples?: Helen often eats an apple with the help of her oversized knife.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Which is why Helen wants to kill us all.
  • I Call It "Vera": Danny's stick is called "Molly". Not sure if he's still sane; he's been gone almost two years...
  • Identical Stranger: Jenny Lewis and Claudia Brown. Justified by In Spite of a Nail.
  • Idiot Ball: The defining plot point for almost any given episode.
    • Stephen is saddled with a particularly egregious one in Season 2. (See Horrible Judge of Character.)
    • Connor in Series 5. He's working on creating Anomalies... despite knowing that they are in some way tied to both the Artifact and Future Arc he himself witnessed in Series 3. Well done Connor, you probably just took everyone one step further to whatever accident caused them to appear through history in the first place!
    • Special mention should go to the idiot in the fungus infection episode who, stumbling back through an anomaly after being infected, choking and unable to speak, calls his boss instead of the local emergency number.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Passed over from Nick to Connor.
  • Improbable Age: Jess is just 19 and holds an vital post in the super secret ARC. It's said that she's a superb team co-ordinator but while she certainly seems capable enough she hasn't displayed the sort of brillance that would justify someone so young holding a position like hers. In fairness she does seem excellent at keeping an eye on the ARC operatives and making important connections. 5x05 shows us that she's really, really good at what she does. She sets up multiple tactical teams in minutes and coordinates all of them, only losing her cool briefly. She's quickly talked out of her panic by James Lester, and goes right back to work.
  • Improvised Weapon
    • Connor does this a lot.
    • He's not the only one. Golf club, anyone?
    Claudia: Hole in one!
    • Once again, Lester and the mammoth count. Sort of.
    • I think a 15-ton charging mammoth with 10-foot tusks is just as, if not more, an effective weapon than any firearm, especially considering that Future Predators seem fast enough to dodge bullets.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Connor does one (sans going back for anything) in S2, episode 1.
  • Indy Ploy: Several, but Danny Quinn hijacking a helicopter to lead the Giganotosaurus back into the anomaly is the most well-known example. Hell, virtually any and all episodes with Danny Quinn in them. He carries this trope in his pocket.
  • Infant Immortality: Children and cute animals don't die. Even if they wander into the Silurian or are directly in the path of a Columbian mammoth. Subverted in Season 4. Therocephalians are loose in a school, and one of them kills a child before Matt and Becker can save her.
  • Innocuously Important Episode
    • Season 3 episode 7 re-introduces the concept of a Stable Time Loop with Sir William's grave, and the finale takes it to its logical conclusion with the fossil records in the rift valley.
    • Episode 2 of series 5 directly references what happened to Emily when she returned to the 1860s, but also indirectly references the murder spree of "Spring Heel Jack" at the same time. Both these things are hugely important in episode 3.
  • Inspector Javert: Danny is introduced as one of these. He gets better.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Leaving baby Future Predators in the past specifically switches Claudia Brown with Jenny Lewis, introduces Oliver, and gives the team a new home base? Okay. Lampshaded repeatedly. Early on, Stephen points out how odd it is that so little changed, as do several other characters (including Cutter) later on. Toward the end of Season 2, it's suggested that the sheer implausibility of it all is significant to the understanding of the anomalies.

    There were also other things that changed, or may have, that were never mentioned. Abby has a different apartment, no longer walks around in her underwear, and seemed to have no romantic feelings for Stephen. Connor seems a bit more shy: compared to him asking Abby for a kiss is Series 1: and his friends are never mentioned, which could imply he never had them One of them (ie, the surviving one) pops up in 4.2. His taste in clothing also changes as instead of button downs and sweaters/sweater vests, he wears mostly tee shirts, hoodies, and button vests. Also, instead of being a dinosaur expert, he instead becomes a computer genius. Lester's suits are a lot less tacky, and he's no longer a knight (check the credits) or an asshole. There are other things as well (the gorgonopsid never died, the scutosarus never returned to its time, etc.).
  • Irrelevant Side Quest: In the Season 3 finale, the second anomaly at Christine's former HQ is a Red Herring to justify the team splitting up and Becker and Sarah staying behind.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet
    • Where are all the predators?
    • In episode 1.5, Abby notes that they can't hear any birdsong... out in the country... on a clear day.
  • Jerkass: Leek, Christine, and Helen. Jack Maitland, a little, albietly unintentionally in 3.8 as he's not sad about Becker's apparent Death.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Both Cutter and Lester are examples of this trope. They aren't expressly unlikable people, just a bit acerbic. Cutter seems a mild example of a Jerkass Woobie later on in the series.
  • Jumped at the Call
    • After learning about the existence of the anomalies, Danny went out of his way to pester the ARC crew until they let him join.
    • Connor did this, too, in Season 1.
  • Karmic Death: Several.
    • Mick Harper and his boss, Oliver Leek, Christine, and finally Helen herself.
    • Philip Burton pulls a vaguely-Heroic Sacrifice in the final episode of series 5, and is killed by the anomaly he created.
    • Henry Merchant. Should have paid more attention to the raptor instead of threatening Matt and Emily.
  • Kick the Dog
    • Caroline's treatment of Rex
    • A presumably unintentional one, but in Episode 2 of Season 4, a woman finds a small reptile-like creature in her house at night. Being Too Dumb to Live, she tries to pick up the wild animal with visibly sharp teeth, and it bites at her. She responds to this how? Trap it under a box? Call the RSPCA? Of course not. She grabs the little thing and flushes it down the toilet. Bitch. Hasn't she ever heard those sewer gator legends? They all start with baby alligators being flushed down the toilet.
  • Kill All Humans: What Helen is really up to.
  • Killed Off for Real: So far, Cutter, Stephen, Helen, Ryan, Sarah, and a whole host of minor characters.
  • Killer Bunny
    • In a way, the hyaenodon pups. They are absolutely adorable, but wherever they are, their ferocious parents can't be far behind. However, the worst the pups themselves do is playfully tug at Connor's ankles.
    • Also, the juvenile raptors from the final episode of season 3. In the words of Danny Quinn: "They don't look too bad". Really, Danny? Really? In case you didn't notice, they were eating one of their own pack mates!
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted, as the fungus monster reproduces faster when exposed to high temperatures. "DO NOT USE THE FLAMETHROWERS!"
  • Kill It with Ice: Works on the fungus monster. Almost works on Connor. Sorta works on Jenny. Oddly no-one thought of fungicides or even bleach.
  • Knife Nut: Emily; Helen
  • Knight Templar: A literal one in Sir William's case. A straighter example of this trope in the case of Helen Cutter, who eventually ends up as a Nietzsche Wannabe.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The giant pre-Cambrian worms.
  • The Lancer: Stephen. Abby occasionally slips into this trope, too.
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Used to blow up a phorusrachid, as well as Captain Ross.
  • Last Name Basis: Nick Cutter, James Lester, Oliver Leek, and both Captains. Each of these have exceptions. Understandable in the case of Becker, given that his first name is Hilary.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "Smells like... something rotten."
  • Lingerie Scene:
    • In the first series, Abby has to keep her flat very warm for the prehistoric lizard she is keeping as a pet, so at home she usually wears a T-shirt, knickers and nothing else.
    • When staying at Abby's flat, Connor also tried stripping down to his undershirt and boxers. This was played more for comedy than for Fanservice.
  • Lizard Folk: Episode 4.3 features Treecreepers, apelike theropod dinosaurs. They are implied to be at least semi-sentient, as they travel in family groups and communicate in primate-like hooting and chittering.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Lester keeps Connor and Abby in ARC employment after they return in season 4. Since they were employed before the military background rule was implemented, and technically never quit, it doesn't affect them.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Not a person, but Team Pet Rex, lost by Abby's brother in a poker game.
  • Loveable Rogue: Danny Quinn
  • MacGuffin: The Artifact.
  • MacGyvering: Fixing Helen's Omniscient Database with torch batteries, amongst other things.
  • Mama Bear
    • Mama Embolotherium in this case.
    • Abby's relationship with Rex sorta counts, too.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Oliver Leek
  • Masquerade: The team uphold it the best they can, but you can't help but wonder when it's going to come apart at the seams. Mammoth — hu, escaped large circus elephant on the M25, anyone?
  • Meanwhile, in the Future: Mostly averted.
    • A notable exception is in season 4 episode 3, where a creature is shown stalking Matt in the Cretaceous after he goes into an anomaly, while repeatedly cutting to the present where it shows Connor and Abby arguing with Becker over whether they should open it to let him out.
  • Mega Neko: The Smilodon.
    • More an example of Panthera Awesome, since Smilodon is of the standard big cat variety.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: An egregious user of this trope, especially early on. All deaths in the first series (whether special forces or civilian bystanders) are male and it takes until the third episode of the second series for a female one-shot character to die. And even though she's a villain responsible for several deaths her own death is apparently so much more tragic than the two men that die in the same episode that Cutter goes into Heroic BSOD. A few episodes later a giant scorpion attacks a beach. Despite the dozens of women around the only visible victims it eats are men. The show's been getting better about this: one episode of series 4 has the heroes fail to save a girl while managing to save two boys, although the heroes are upset about their failure, they don't dwell on it too much.
  • Metamorphosis Monster: In season 3, the team encounters a nastily infectious fungus that converts its hosts into hideous mutants which of course are infectious as well.
  • Mid-Season Twist: The seventh episode of series 4 (which like Doctor Who is the finale thanks to British Brevity — 4 and 5 are treated like one large series) reveals that Matt Anderson is from a future Earth that is a sterile wasteland (except for a few lifeforms), and that he and his father came to the present to prevent the disaster that destroyed the Earth. Connor also finds out that the anomalies are growing more frequent.
  • Mission Control: In the revival the ARC employs Jess as the Voice with an Internet Connection variety.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Becker. Stephen and Connor normally get this treatment too.
  • The Mole: Connor's girlfriend in Season 2.
  • Monochrome Casting - Until Sarah, and then again after her. This was Russell T. Davies' single criticism of the series, who otherwise called it excellent.
  • Monster of the Week: Just what will come through the Anomaly this week? Gorgonopsid? Mammoth? Velociraptor? Future predator? Knight in Shining Armor? The show also has a Story Arc that ran parallel, with the heroes battling human villains while still handling the Monsters Of The Week, who filed both sides under "dinner".
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 1.4 contains this: the tension is broken when the dodos come through. Then Tom gets infected, and the show goes darker than it's ever gone before when he dies.
    • Episode 3.3: the first half of the episode is very light-hearted with non-violent cute creatures running around a hospital whilst Cutter and Abby successfully help a woman give birth. The mood changes when they return to the arc to find that Helen has taken it over. Helen then proceeds to blows the arc up and kill Cutter.
  • Morality Pet: Jess acts like this for No-Nonsense Becker, as notable in the episode he's almost crying when she nearly dies from her allergy to bug bites.
  • More Expendable Than You: The reason behind Stephen's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Becker is a strong advocate of this approach.
  • Must Make Amends: Connor does this in episode 5 of series 5, though he shows the intention a little before hand.
    Connor: I helped build this. I need to make it right.
  • My Car Hates Me: Jenny tries to start up her car. There is a Giganotosaurus trying to eat her. Predictably, the car fails to start.
  • My Favorite Shirt: Connor, Danny and Abby lose Becker's favourite gun.
  • My Future Self and Me: Matt is warned to "go back" by what is apparently a battered future version of himself at the end of Season 5.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Phillip when he realises Matt's predictions were right and his anomaly is going to destroy the world.
  • Never Say Goodbye: Between Danny and Sarah when they split up to tackle two separate anomalies.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The show features a Pristichampsus in episode 3.1, and later includes a Kaprosuchus in episode 4.2. Both are large, prehistoric terrestrial crocs. If you thought crocs were bad in the water, just wait till you have to deal with them on land.
  • Nice Hat: Connor's brown trilby.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • season 5 episode 3, they accidentally send a raptor back to the Victorian era. Matt has to go in after it, which results in his being reunited with Emily.
    • Also, Connor throughout season 4 and up to episode 4 of season 5, by helping Philip who was tricked by Helen Cutter and almost destroyed the world.
  • Night Swim Equals Death: A couple is swimming in a public pool at night, when a mosasaur joins them...
  • No Peripheral Vision
    • Seriously. It's like Predators have the ability to turn off their target's peripherals or something. Amusingly Lampshaded by Helen, who states that the Predator has "an almost supernatural ability to stalk its prey."
    • A human version pops up late in series 5: a Mook manages to catch Matt completely off-guard by running straight at him from the side. Emily's attacker grabs her from behind, saving her from being a victim of this trope.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: A few minor characters in seasons 4 and 5 don't bother attempting accents and we have a strange situation in one episode where a son has an English accent but his mother is Irish. Could be justified for episodes in the city since Britain does have a lot of Irish immigrants.
  • Not Important to This Episode Camp: The Season 3 finale sent Lester to this.
  • Not So Abandoned Building: Most prominently in Season 3, with the vacant house taken pretty much straight out of American Horror Story. It is, of course, inhabited by a creature, that may or may not have gone mad during its long stay in our time period.
  • Not So Different: Connor says he's taking risks because he's like Cutter, who wanted to change the future.
    Abby: No he didn't. He really didn't, Connor. That was what Helen wanted
  • Not Using the Z Word: Future Predators could totally be called Chupacabras. The dodo worms? "Mongolian" death worms.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Between Matt and Emily in series 5, right before Matt runs off to drive an anomaly into another one in order to blow them up.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Leek puts on a convincing show of incompetence during his employ at the ARC which disguises his true intentions.
  • Oblivious Janitor Cut: In the pilot.
  • Odd Couple: Implied, when Connor briefly moves in with Lester. We don't get to see much of the shenanigans, but we see plenty of exasperated Lester, which is just as good.
  • Oh, Crap: The expression on Helen's face just before her Karmic Death by Raptor. Beautiful, just beautiful.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The music (name unknown) that accompanies the Alpha Mer-creature.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Season 1 has two characters named Tom. They both die.
  • Only Sane Employee: Becker is flat-out told that this will be his job description by Lester. This is fair description of Lester's role, too.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The "Camouflage Beast" of Season 3 is an intelligent primate-like creature with highly advanced camouflage that lets it all but disappear at will. They also speak in creepy whispering noises. They are implied to be the basis for legends of ghosts, spirits, poltergeists and demons.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dracorex in Season 3 is a kind of dinosaur that gave inspiration to the actual dragons of medieval myth after they made a habit of traveling to the Middle Ages through an anomaly.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The "Mer" creatures are seal-like marine apes. Cutter jokingly suggests that they may have evolved from humans.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Helen, after she blows up the hotel in Episode 5. Nick does something similar in Season 3.
  • Pac Man Fever: Averted. Connor plays The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on the Xbox 360 at one point with actual gameplay and sound effects.
  • Paparazzi
    • Journalist Mick Harper in Series 3. Fortunately, he only bothers the team for a few episodes, before he and his boss suffer a Karmic Death while Going for the Big Scoop.
    • The masquerade finally is bust right open in season 5 episode 5, when a T. rex attacks London city centre.
  • Papa Wolf
    • Subverted with the raptor in the Season 2 premiere: It eats the baby raptor after the little critter gets used as bait to try and draw it out.
    • Played straight with the Future Predators.
  • Perma Stubble: Cutter
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Valerie mistakenly thinks the Smilodon is this.
  • PietÓ Plagiarism: Connor, when Nick Cutter dies. His expression makes it so much worse.
  • The Plan: Most characters are pretty good at this.
  • Plausible Deniability: Jenny Lewis' job is to maintain this for Lester. Which she does mainly through Blatant Lies. People seem to buy it, though. Possibly because the reporters that didn't ended up getting eaten by a Giganotosaurus.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Connor
  • Plucky Girl: Taylor in 2x05.
  • Portal Cut: Happened once, to a dinosaur.
  • Portal to the Past: Time on either side of an anomaly is synced until the anomaly evaporates (when you are dealing with multiple interlinked anomaly trips try not to think about it).
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Connor in Season 3, episode 8 after Abby kisses him. Finally.
  • Praetorian Guard: In the Season 2 finale, Oliver Leek refers to the small army of Future Predators he's gathered as his "very own Praetorian Guard". Of course, as soon as they're free of his control, they promptly eat him.
  • Precision F-Strike: "You know what I'd forgotten, Helen? Sometimes you can be a real bitch." Not exactly the grade of swear that's often used, but the profanity in this series generally doesn't rise above "Damn it!", so it probably qualifies.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Subverted. While most of the creatures have some dangerous aspect to them, they tend to be presented more as lost and frightened animals than as rampaging monsters. An exception can possibly be made for some of the large predators, but even they are not quite portrayed in a villainous manner.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Pteranodon from Season 1 is actually quite accurate, if a little large. In Seasons 2 and 3, they are shown to be aggressive toward humans only if their eggs are in danger. The little Anuragnathus aren't as friendly. In the Canadian spinoff, a far more aggressive species of Pteranodon appears, though it was only killing humans to collect things to decorate its nest with.
    • Furthermore, the pterosaurs shown are all bipedal and lack pycnofibres (though the anurognathids are at least quadrupedal enough to duck under a door in episode 5.5 of the original series, and the Pteranodon from the spinoff does have a few pycnofibres if you look closely).
  • Put on a Bus: Jenny puts herself on one, Connor's two geeky friends are either Put on a Bus or have a bridge full of prehistoric parasites dropped on them. Either way, they are gone. Until the second episode of the 4th season which features Duncan...as a homeless wreck tracking creature sightings. Yay?
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
  • Raptor Attack: Season 2 has the first one; a few minor examples occur in other seasons. The raptors are never named on-screen, but are variously called Velociraptor, Dromaeosaurus, and Deinonychus. Seasons 4 and 5 feature a featherless monkey-like tree-climbing "raptor" with a stick-thin tail still capable of lifting a human off the ground and lynching them effortlessly. In the Canadian spin-off, the raptors are confirmed to be Utahraptor and are marginally more accurate than the original ones.
  • Redemption Equals Death
    • Stephen at the end of Season 2.
    • Philip as well at the end of Season 5, though, unlike Stephen's, his was all in vain.
  • RedShirt: The ARC goes through a few of these.
  • Redshirt Army: Christine's security forces
  • Redshirt Reporter: Not being smart enough to come in out of a storm is one thing, but not being smart enough to run away from a rampaging Giganotosaurus? Come on!
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted with Rex, who is easily one of the cuddliest reptiles you'll ever find in Fictionland. However, the crocodilians and carnivorous dinosaurs fit this trope nicely.
  • Ret Gone: Claudia's fate and Helen's plan for humanity.
  • Re Tool: At the end of Season 1 the creators took the opportunity to tweak the casting slightly, give the team a wider scope, and gift them with a new base. More slight tweakage occurs in Season 3 where they quietly drop the Claudia/Jenny arc in the wake of Cutter's death.
  • Revenge: Danny's brother was killed by a gremlin. Danny kills the gremlin. Except Danny's brother wasn't killed...
  • Reverse Polarity: How Connor's device works to freeze the anomalies.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter
    • The Diictodon. They're basically the Adipose of Primeval.
    • Rex, too.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Cutter recalling Claudia.
  • Roadside Wave: Done to Connor in Season 2, courtesy of a roller coaster.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In episode 4x02, Connor's friend Duncan has been keeping track of creature sightings on a Wall of Crazy in his flat.
  • Rule of Cool: While the show's website (at least the older version of it) and interviews makes it clear that the filmmakers do their homework, they occasionally enlarge the creatures for dramatic purposes (Pristichampsus, for instance, was about ten feet long in real life, but the creators acknowledge that they enlarged it for the show). They had raptors chasing characters who were riding motorbikes through a mall. Rule of Cool indeed.
  • Sacrificial Lamb
  • Season Finale
  • See the Whites of Their Eyes: "Don't fire 'till you see the whites of his teeth."
  • Selective Magnetism: The Anomalies tendency to emit magnetic fields as and when the plot requires it.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Matt and his father Gideon came from the future to prevent destruction of mankind by stopping the one who is responsible for it.
  • Shell-Shocked Senior: Season 2 Cutter has definite elements of this. Comes of being the only one with Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory. It's fully there in season 3, after Stephen's death.
  • Shout-Out
    • The future predators are quite similar to the nightstalker of After Man: A Zoology of the Future, which are also blind, flightless futuristic bats. Incidentally, the author of the book, Dougal Dixon, was pretty much of an influence on speculative creature concepts (as Peter Jackson can tell), so its likely that the authors of Primeval got the idea from the book.
    • The Anomaly Research Center (ARC) is shaped like a large ship.
    • Episode 5.6, James Lester gets a call from the Minister, who reports that a train left from King's Cross Station and disappeared into thin air.
    Lester: Sorry, does that sound familiar to anyone...? (beat) ...Anomalies! Chop chop!"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: From the episode 3 of season 1:
    Helen: I offer you the Key to Time. The Key to Time, Nick. And you turn your back on it. Call yourself a scientist!
    Cutter: I call myself a human being.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss
    • Connor and Abby leading to the aforementiond Post-Kiss Catatonia in a textbook perfect example of these tropes.
    • 5.06 gives us one involving the "finger to the lips" gesture between Matt and Emily. It crosses a bit with Now or Never Kiss.
  • Sinister Subway: Season 1, Episode 2. It was full of big bugs.
  • Skyward Scream: Lester waits until he's in his office before letting out one, when he realises that the person the government want to give a Knighthood to is Philip Burton and not himself.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: In spite of the Anyone Can Die status, high Karmic Death count and Bridge Dropping, Primeval manages to stay pretty well on the Idealistic side of the scale.
  • Smug Snake: Leek. He would be a Magnificent Bastard if he didn't sneer quite so much. We're almost sorry when he meets his death at the the teeth of his own predators.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb
  • Protosolifugids Are Scary: Especially when they're a meter across and falling on you.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Connor and Abby. Their relationship is the only subplot with no direct relation to dinosaurs or anomalies that lasts more than a couple of episodes. By Season Four, they're arguably the main characters, even if they're not in charge yet. The first two episodes of Season Four are largely devoted to their return from the Cretaceous and reintegration with the new team.
  • Stable Time Loop
    • Originally, the predators and Megopterans may have been a result of this. A few hundred years in the future, humanity is eaten into extinction by these creatures. Where did they come from? The future, through anomalies opened by the ARC. They then hung around until the anomalies appeared to let them into the past to eat humanity in the first place. Something similar happens in the alternate timeline of Seasons 4-5, also with the predators and other future creatures. It's confirmed that all life on Earth died out with the exception of three or so carnivorous species, which would eventually starve to death from lack of food, and that's only a few decades in the future—they couldn't have evolved in that time.
    • The campsite seen in the first episode was left there by the cast in the first season finale. The camera taken by Nick was later used in the finale to take the exact pictures that were downloaded from it in Episode 1.1, then left there alongside Tom Ryan's skeleton for Nick to find.
    • Sir William knows to go back and marry Elizabeth because the writing on his own grave tells him to.
    • And also because of Helen, the totality of human history.
    • Connor also figured out how to create Anomalies, thus potentially being the cause of the very reason he joined the ARC in the first place...
    • Episode 5.6: The Bad Future that Matt came from is caused by the anomaly that Phillip opened expanding and swallowing up the entire planet. Said anomaly opens to... Matt's Bad Future.
  • The Starscream: In Season 2, Helen spends her time playing the Starscream to Leek.
  • Stealth Insult: Subverted, as Claudia spots it.
    Helen: You know, I can see why Nick likes you... you're his type, Claudia. Strong, independent, reasonably intelligent...
    Claudia: Shall we stick to the point?
  • Stock Dinosaurs: This show actually manages to play this trope totally straight while averting it at the same time; While almost all of the prehistoric creatures to appear are more obscure than those seen in most media, the first actual dinosaurs to appear are the ever-popular raptors. (Unless one counts the birds from Season 1, Hesperornis.)
    • Averted in Season 3 with Giganotosaurus, used instead of T. rex because it's bigger, faster and meaner. Later in the season, a Dracorex shows up.
    • Connor runs down a list of popular dinosaurs they might bump into in S3's finale including T. rex, Raptors, Spinosaurus and Giganotosaurus. Turns out to be raptors again
      • Spinosaurus does show up in the premiere of Series 4.
    • There are quite a few Stock Not-Dinosaurs used, however. Cases in point: Pteranodon, Smilodon, Mammoth (although not a Woolly Mammoth), and Mosasaurus.
    • Series 5 features a T. rex.
  • Stock Ness Monster
    • The Mosasaur.
    • Liopleurodon appears in one of the novels and in episode 5.2.
  • Stock Scream: Used liberally. Every episode of the first two seasons has a "Wilhelm".
  • The Stoic
    • Cutter after Season 2.
    • His clone is an even bigger one.
  • String Theory: In Season 3, Nick creates the Matrix, a three-dimensional map that attempts to chart the anomalies across time and space. Later, the team discovers an artifact from the future, referred to, in fact, as the Artefact, which, among other functions, projects a holographic map of all the anomalies encountered by the future ARC.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Implied with the Anurognathus, but there's a Gory Discretion Shot, so it might not quite be all the way to the bone. Likewise implied with the Jurassic beetles, future beetles, and Daemonosaurus.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Summon Columbian Mammoth.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Despite Primeval being an Anyone Can Die this is pretty much averted with the exception of Becker replacing Tom Ryan (this could be a Justified Trope as the role is (para)military minder so you wouldn't expect much variation).
  • Suspiciously Stealthy Predator: It sometimes gets hard to believe that displaced creatures aren't showing up on youtube or the evening news every day.
  • Team Pet: Rex
  • Teen Genius: Jess is just 19 but is the head ARC team coordinator.
  • Television Geography
  • Temporary Blindness: Claudia
  • Tempting Fate
    • Done repeatedly, although the stand out moment is Becker hoping that getting to Christine's anomaly is as easy as getting in the unguarded gate. It isn't.
    • Poor Connor seems the victim of this more often than anyone else. The monsters seem to wait on cue for him to say something reassuring.
Connor:I think we're all right.*giant worm swallows his head*
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Lester is forced into one of these during Season 3. His return was both a Crowning Moment Of Sarcasm and a Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming.
  • Terse Talker: The clone of Cutter, most likely due to Helen only bothering to teach him the bare minimum to communicate.
  • They Do: Connor and Abby, and Matt and Emily. UST is now being provided by Becker and Jess.
  • Those Two Guys: Geeky Tom and Duncan.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Ran into this early on with the Jenny/Claudia thing, but this got lost in the Aborted Arc, so presently the show is remarkably consistent in it's portrayal of Time Travel. You Already Changed The Past, it's just the characters aren't quite aware of this yet. When time travel is explained by such lines as "The creatures are proof that the past exists as a fourth dimension..." you know that nobody knows what's going on.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Any and all deaths at the beginning of the episode to introduce the Monster of the Week. These are intentionally moronic to make it funny.
    • The best one? The business agent from 3.5 entering the anomaly and, instead of hurrying back into the present, putting his face directly over the fungus.
    • The guy in the same episode who got the fungus virus. After he sneaks into the ARC's lab and finds the fungus growing inside a sealed container, he sticks his hand inside and touches it. Because he clearly couldn't just find a pair of gloves lying around.
    • The reporters from season 3 insisted on filming the Giganotosaurs that was trying to eat them, standing directly in its path and practically begging for it to eat them. Predictably, it does.
    • Valerie, although she wasn't exactly in a good frame of mind.
    • The real estate agent from 3x02. Connor and Abby find him hiding in a bathroom screaming and tell him to be quiet so he won't alert the gremlin in the house. After he nods and shuts up, what does he do? Run down the stairs screaming like a moron. The gremlin quickly pounces on him and claws at his back.
    • The fat guy at the barbecue in 5x01. If you see a gigantic insect coming out of the ground and slowly moving towards you, get off your ass and run away. Do not offer it your half-eaten hot dog.
    • The girl running from the T. rex in series 5 should count, since she basically makes all of the wrong decisions when it comes to surviving, but Matt manages to save her.
    • One of the most hilarious examples occurs in series 5 episode 4. An ARC employee flings a beetle back through Connor's New Dawn prototype which it emerged from. Almost immediately, thousands more start literally pouring from the anomaly. What do you think the guy does? He frickin' stands there and watches as they move toward him in the millions. He does panic once they start to crawl on him and eat him alive, but anyone in real life who wasn't commiting suicide would have reacted sooner!
  • Trapped in Containment: Season 3, episode 5. With The Virus.
  • Tsundere: Jenny Lewis (Type B) is clearly cut from this mould (making her relationship with Cutter the ever-popular duo with Belligerent Sexual Tension, albeit cut short by the events in season 3). Abby occasionally acts like this towards Connor.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Season 5, episode 5.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted; whatever Sarah's plan was to get Danny, Connor and Abby back, it doesn't work and gets her killed offscreen. (Prequel webisodes show that she and Becker went into the future anomaly, where Sarah gets trapped in a car and mauled to death by a Future Predator.)
  • Villainous Rescue: Helen does this to Claudia once.
  • The Virus: The fungus in S3.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The future Predators hunt by echolocation, which opens up some avenues for a canny ARCer to get the better of them.
    • Lester turns an iPod dock up very loud, which briefly causes the Predator extreme discomfort, allowing him to escape.
    • Cutter comes up with an even cleverer solution: when cornered by the Predator in a greenhouse, he shoots out the glass, causing the poor Predator to go nearly catatonic with confusion.
    • In the Season 5 finale, Abby plays a sound on a laptop at a certain frequency, which causes a Predator to literally freeze where it is, until Becker blasts its brains out.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist
    • Helen in Season 3. Her motivation is to stop us from wiping ourselves out with Future Predators, by doing a Ret Gone to the entire human race, apparently. Shame that when we say "Well-Intentioned Extremist", we really, really mean the "extremist" bit.
    • Philip Burton. He genuinely wants to help the world solve the energy crisis, however he's going to do with a machine that will draw power from Anomalies. Possible side-effects may include accidental creature incursions, temporal paradoxes and The End Of The World AS We Know It.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • So, Rex is still hanging around the ARC, but we've not seen a peep out of Diictodons Sid and Nancy. It has been confirmed by the producers that Sid and Nancy are currently "keeping their heads low" in the menagerie along with the Dracorex and the Mammoth.
    • The room full of all the various monsters in Leek's secret base. Certainly, most of them will kill each other, but there may well have been a last monster standing which now has a plentiful food supply and, if it is a Future Predator, problem-solving intelligence.
    • Various examples of people getting attacked with no resolution. One example was 3.5 where one of the soldiers was infected by the Future Fungus. Although the team knew how to stop it at that point, they were a long way from any treatment and the Fungus moves very quickly. The last we ever hear of him, a containment unit is being called for him.
    • Also Captain Wilder, last seen glaring ineffectually as Helen kidnaps the woman he's supposed to be protecting. There's a throwaway line later that all Christine's people have been stood down, but nothing specific about Wilder, who was conspiring with Christine against a lawful Government department.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The end of Season 1, where Nick gets back from the past and finds Claudia has been Retgoned.
    • The finale of Season 2, with Stephen's redemption, Heroic Sacrifice, and Cutter's salvation.
    • A rare mid-season example - 3.3, where Nick is murdered.
      • Then there's 3.10, with Helen's plan to wipe out the human race, her death, and Connor, Abby & Danny being trapped in the past.
    • The finale of Season 4, when Ethan's identity is revealed, Danny arrives back through the anomaly to the past, and Matt reveals his identity to Emily.
    • The penultimate episode for Series 5. Anomalies open all over the world. Connor's attempts at stopping Philip fail, and he gets sucked into the future.
      • And then, of course, the finale of the entire series. Specifically, the end.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Quite a few of the extras from season 4 onwards where the show was filmed in Ireland so you get some pretty woeful attempts at English accents. April from season 5 is probably the most glaring example.
  • Where It All Began: The Season 1 finale.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?
    • Sarah really doesn't like insects.
    • Abby isn't too fond of spiders either.
    • Connor has expressed fear of rats, museums, and a Zombie Apocalypse at different points. He apparently had a phobia of bathrooms for a while, too, but was forced to get over that.
    • Jess hates insects, but she has reason: she's allergic and almost dies in one episode.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Helen is pretty much in the perfect position to shoot Christine in the head point blank, but finds it much more befitting to send her to be killed in the dystopia she caused. Inverted in that this actually works.
  • Wild Card: Helen Cutter
  • Wire Dilemma
    • Connor says to cut the red one. Cut to a cluster of a dozen red wires. (The Incredibly Obvious Bomb is actually disarmed when Cutter rips out the car battery, depriving the bomb of its power source.)
    • Repeated in 4x06, with Jess trying to defuse Ethan's bomb.
  • The Worf Effect
    • The Future Predators have fallen into this; they often get used simply to make something else scary or awesome.
      • Ironically, they were initially established as formidable using this same trope, when the first to appear in the series took a full-grown lion as its first present-day meal.
    • If it is a human threat, then professional soldier Becker will be the one to get beaten up and/or shot to show how dangerous things are.
  • Wormsign: The Silurian scorpions.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: A particular gift of Helen Cutter and Oliver Leek.
  • You Can Keep Her: Lester tells Helen she can shoot Christine, but since he is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold he was only joking and does tell his men to lower their weapons. It doesn't save Christine from getting chomped to death by a future predator, though.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: As Helen finds out the penalty for trying to is death by raptor. However, in Season 1, the characters were able to successfully (albeit unintentionally) alter the past and come home to a different present day. Also, the future has been altered a few times, most prominently by means of New Dawn.
  • You Already Changed The Past: Helen's grand plan to destroy humanity only contributes to its history
  • You Need to Get Laid
    • Danny's response to Becker having a "favourite" gun.
    • Also one of the many ways that Cutter tries to blow off Connor in Season 1 Episode 1.
  • Zerg Rush: The Anuragnathus, future beetles, and prehistoric beetles feed this way.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Well, there's two instances that could have turned into full-scale variations: a parasite that spreads through its host biting people and a fungus that spreads incredibly rapidly, turning its host into some kind of... fungoid... thing.

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