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YMMV / Primeval

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The Series:

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Connor's friend Tom who, despite being an annoying character who was Too Dumb to Live, got a shockingly sad death.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Helen Cutter: Incredible Jerkass and Straw Nihilist, or Well-Intentioned Extremist who went mad from the revelation that humanity wipes itself out and is caught in a nihilist Heroic BSoD?
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Sarah's casting was an attempt to combat accusations of Monochrome Casting in the first two seasons - where the series was set in London and Caroline was the only notable person of colour (and in a villainous role at that). Sadly she disappeared in Season 4, but the casting of Alexander Siddig as Philip helped alleviate some of it.
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    • Some fans were annoyed by a few problems in Season 4 - namely Matt taking focus away from the established series regulars, Conor and Abby not acting enough like a couple and cities seeming incredibly empty in most action scenes. Come Season 5, Matt was important but not the only one getting meaningful storylines - Conor's partnership with Philip actually taking prominence. Conor and Abby also got several little couple-y moments, as well as the episodes putting more emphasis on their emotional bonds. And more extras were seen in the street.
  • Awesome Music: Let's see...
    • The opening theme, a fast-paced orchestral piece complete with primeval screams and echoes. Here's the extended version.
    • Nick and Stephen playing tag with a raptor on motorbikes to the tune of Ready to Go by Republica.
    • More: the sad "Into the Late Permian", "The Mystery of the Anomalies" and the chilling "Infected". Then there's the music during the Series 4 cliffhanger (spoiler alert), and a theme for the future predators.
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    • It's a shame "All Sparks" was used only for the first season end credits. The later seasons, as well as the DVDs (presumably for legal reasons), use the opening theme instead.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Abby became a big one in Season 4, with many fans feeling she Took a Level in Jerkass and there was a lot of forced conflict between her and Connor - most of which was her being antagonistic towards him. This was fixed in Season 5.
  • Broken Base: The fandom can never agree where the show supposedly had a case of Growing the Beard or Seasonal Rot. It generally hinges on how someone feels about Cutter as the lead character or Matt as team leader.
  • Complete Monster (season 2): Oliver Leek is the ARC's treacherous second-in-command. Allying with Helen Cutter, Leek set about capturing dangerous predators from the anomalies and neural clamping them, intending to use them to Take Over the World. Amassing a secret army, Leek placed a dozen predators at locations across the UK, planning to release them and kill as many people as possible to cause chaos. Smuggling a future predator into the ARC, Leek massacred all of the staff present and then attempted to kill James Lester, toying with him the whole time to try and draw out his death as long as possible. As a demonstration of power, Leek then unleashed a deadly Silurian scorpion onto a crowded beach, killing numerous people. Abducting the team, Leek attempts to feed them alive to a Smilodon whilst forcing Professor Nick Cutter to watch the whole thing. His plans foiled, Leek then corners Cutter with his future predators and threatens to dismantle him joint by joint unless Lester calls off his men.
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  • Cool vs. Awesome: Brits vs Dinosaurs!
  • Damsel Scrappy: Rex. Especially after Series 3. If he wasn't getting himself into trouble, he was causing trouble.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Lester, due to him being a fountain of sarcasm and funny moments. His greater prominence and sparing but impactful badass moments as the series went on only made people love him more.
    • The Future Predators, at least before they got more prominence in later seasons.
    • Sarah was also very well received for her wit and knowledge on mythology. There were numerous complaints about her sudden offscreen death in Season 4.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Helen is a little older than most examples, but she always has just the right amount of dirt to make her look wild yet still groomed.
  • Fandom Rivalry/Friendly Fandoms: With Doctor Who. At first, there was some unease over the fact that the show was basically created to ride on that show's popularity, but it dissipated when people came to realize that Primeval was actually quite different, and told a respectable story of its own. Many people like both now.
  • Fanon: A surprising number of people believe that Jess is either Lester's daughter or his niece. This is due to her actress's young age (nineteen in Season 4!) and works as a Hand Wave to explain how she got employed at the ARC.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: Abby's look in the first two episodes of Season 4 - which was brought on by her being stuck in the Cretaceous Period - is very flattering on Hannah Spearritt. Admittedly she looks very good for someone camping in the wilderness for a year, with only mild Unkempt Beauty. Conor's beard was met with similar responses.
  • Foe Yay
    • Helen lives and breathes this trope. There seems to be more sexual tension with her husband when she's his enemy than when they were together!
    • The relationship between Lester and Christine Johnson. They used to be married in real life.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show is much, much better known in America than in its native Britain.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Sarah complains about being left out of the action in Season 3, with her often trying to convince the others she belongs in the field. It's this attitude that leads to her implied death when a predator savages her in between seasons. What's more is that Laila Rouass would be caught in the 2017 Barcelona terrorist attacks, hiding in a fridge to survive.
    • A recurring arc across the series is Connor and Abby slowly falling in love, with a proposal happening in the last season. It initially paralleled the real-life romance between their actors, but they split up in 2013. This adds more real life subtext to Connor being the only one to appear in New World.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Nick and Stephen are pretty well suited for this. Especially given that Stephen's fairly quiet and has known Cutter for roundabout 10 years and thus has an interesting tendency to communicate with him via long, meaningful gazes.
    • Connor and Stephen in 1.3, lampshaded by the latter. In fact, Connor was just asking if Stephen really had a girlfriend, because he had a crush on Abby (who was interested in Stephen), but it ends up sounding like something else.
    • And in Season 5 Abby's disapproval of Connor spending so much time around Philip is played a bit like a Love Triangle.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The show has been incredibly consistent in its portrayal of Time Travel, and Stable Time Loops being the result of any action. This means that unless there is some major asspulling, humanity is screwed and we are all going to get eaten by giant bats and mantids in the next hundred years or so. Well, they managed to change the present (by accident), so the future shouldn't be off-limits... a Meta-Stable Time Loop is more consistent with.
  • Moral Event Horizon: For Helen, her MEH is either when she kills Nick, after he came back to rescue her from a burning building or when she kills Christine which shows that while she's usually willing to murder many for her means before, but this was arguably the one point she clearly favored sadistic torture over just getting the job done quick, or her plan to wipe out humanity before it even starts
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Well even though she's played by the same actress, Jenny Lewis is better remembered than her predecessor Claudia Brown. As a PR person completely out of her depth, it lent itself to many funny moments and characterization beyond Cutter's love interest.
    • Becker who showed up in Season 3 is more remembered than Captain Tom Ryan who was there in Season 1.
  • Narm:
    • In the last episode, Matt says "Nothing can survive out there, except for those ugly freaks".
    • Matt's knife fight with the Treecreeper in the Cretaceous was also pretty silly. Could be Narm Charm if you find the scene awesome.
    • Hearing Nick Cutter shout can rub off as this, if only because we're so used to him being quiet and brooding.
    • Abby's weird little argument with the knight in Season 3. "Oh yeah, I'm a demon alright".
  • Narm Charm:
    • Abby has to walk around without pants in Season 1 because Rex needs warmth and she has to have the heating up to the extreme. It's a rather laughable reason to provide Fanservice but it is part of the show's charm.
    • How does Abby stop a dinosaur in the Season 4 premiere? By playing S Club 7 "Don't Stop Movin'" - which is equal parts ridiculous and awesome.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Any and all appearances of the future predators. They've done a very good job of avoiding Villain Decay, despite the fact that they're clearly not impossible to kill.
    • The dodo parasite from 1.4. For that matter, the fungus creature from 3.5.
    • The Mer creatures, particularly their angelic singing. Cutter speculates them to be the descendants of humans.
    • Pretty much any creature qualifies for either this or regular Nightmare Fuel for someone.
    • Helen Cutter can be very unnerving, considering her evil plan is to poison the ancestors of humans - meaning that the human race never even exists!
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Ruth Bradley, who plays Emily in Season 4, would soon reach fame in Ireland for starring in Love/Hate and Rebellion, as well as the Channel 4 sci-fi series Humans.
    • The submarine episode has Officer Leonard played by Allen Leech - just as he got his breakout role in Downton Abbey.
    • Jason Flemyng had been working steadily in the industry for years before starring as Danny. However he soon started popping up in Clash of the Titans (2010), X-Men: First Class, Jamestown, Hanna etc. In fact he couldn't return in Season 4 because he was so in demand in America.
  • The Scrappy:
  • Seasonal Rot: As noted above under Broken Base, Season 3 is this for some with Season 4 being a return to form though others aren't fond of Season 4. Many see Season 5 as a large improvement over both but even then quite a few view 5 as the worst season.
  • Special Effects Failure: The first few episodes had relatively conspicuous CG creatures, particularly the Gorgonopsid. This disappears midway through the season, though, and the special effects quickly become Visual Effects of Awesome.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Charlie Brooker, while discussing the show on Screenwipe, felt that this was a better Doctor Who-esque series than Torchwood. El Sandifer argued that it was an update of Sliders.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Episode 3.3. The Monster of the Week? A family of Diictodons! The central conflict? A baby is being born! But then Cutter dies.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Sarah was quite a fun character - with knowledge about various myths and legends, and how they related to the creatures from the anomalies. Unfortunately, she's only in Season 3. This is due to Laila Rouass not wanting to move to Ireland to film after production changed to the BBC. So she's killed offscreen between seasons.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The issues of Cutter being attracted to Jenny as a Replacement Goldfish don't get much of a chance to be explored, as both Douglas Henshall and Lucy Brown leave the show in Season 3.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Caroline's story. She's being paid an absurd amount of money by Leek to do... well it's never clear exactly what she's supposed to be doing. In one episode Leek says she's supposed to delay them from responding to the anomaly and sometimes she hints at taking pictures of Rex and busting Connor and Abby for keeping him. Yet all she seems to do is hang around their flat for no defined reason. Then her last episode shows that she had no idea what Leek was really up to and was horrified by it.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The baby future critters at the end of S1.
    • The gremlin in 3.2.
    • The Diictodons in 3.3.
  • Uncanny Valley: Several creatures are meant to invoke this.
    • The Mer creatures aren't too bad...until you hear them singing and wailing in this dreamy, angelic melody, identical to what you'd hear in a church.
    • The Treecreepers, carnivorous dinosaurs with a humanoid muscle structure that communicate with a high-pitched chatter similar to language.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The effects are by Impossible Pictures (and Framestore). This is to be expected. The anomalies, in particular, look amazing.
    • Hell, the title sequence. Even moreso in Seasons 4-5.
    • Seasons 4 and 5note  got a bit of a visual touch-up with a more HD quality, in order to regain audience attention.
  • The Woobie:
    • Cutter is the most well-known example, having believed that his wife was dead for 8 years before meeting her again but finding that she'd become Ax-Crazy. Later he tries to get over it by forming a romance with Claudia Brown, but then she gets erased from history and he spends the whole of season 2 trying in vain to find any trace of Claudia in Jenny Lewis, her double. And if that wasn't bad enough, he loses his best friend and finally is killed by Helen in Season 3.
    • After losing Danny, Connor, Abby and then Sarah, whilst on a mission to rescue the former three, Becker certainly qualifies for this. He's practically in tears in the first episode of the extras on ITV's website.
    • Connor and Abby after their year in the Cretaceous.

The film

  • Complete Monster: Harry is a low-level government functionary in Burundi who is actually "Little Gustave", a warlord in the brush who commits acts of horrific violence solely because he loves the power of being like God to the ones he terrorizes. Responsible for atrocities during the civil war, Harry fills up mass graves with his victims, killing those who speak out against him and sometimes throwing the corpses into the river to be fed upon by the mighty crocodile Gustave, his namesake. Harry later takes a shaman who spoke against him and kills the man with a machete before murdering his family as well, later trying to attack the journalist heroes and torture and murder them to obtain the footage of his crimes.


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