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Ariane DeVere
i haz a rant  
6th-Feb-2011 12:09 am
Primeval - Connor whole lotta WTF
An open letter to the Primeval Execs

Dear Primeval Executive Producers

I hate you. I really do hate you. When the show was cancelled after Season 3 we fans were sad, especially because the last episode had ended on a cliffhanger. When you managed to negotiate to get it recommissioned, we were thrilled and excited, and it seemed like we had to wait for So Long before the new episodes would be broadcast. But we waited as patiently as we could, and we understood that because Laila Rouass didn’t want to move her family to Dublin when the filming moved there, you had to write Sarah out. We understood that because Jason Flemyng had already signed up for other work, you couldn’t include Danny. We understood that you had to bring in new characters to replace them but we were OK with that: we’d learned to cope with departures and arrivals before; we’d learned to like Danny and Sarah and Becker, and to boo and hiss at Leek and Christine, so we figured we would learn to like or boo & hiss at Matt and Jess and Philip and all the other newbies.

And what did you give us? Six pretty boring episodes where the newbies’ storylines dragged on and on and on with no sign of resolution; where Matt was more tedious than a plank of wood; where Gideon was a total waste of space; where Jess was perky but wore ridiculously inappropriate skirts to work; where Philip was clearly Up To Something but we never got close to finding out what; and where the alleged action scenes mostly consisted of everyone creeping around corridors and alleys (after inappropriately waving their guns at the public) for ages and ages and bloody ages until there was a tiny bit of action; and where the military went on teabreak at all the wrong times so that Our Heroes could get into trouble with no back-up. And by the end of episode 6 a lot of us had reluctantly decided that Primeval had jumped the shark at the end of Season 3 and should never have been recommissioned.

And then you gave us episode 7. And it was totally BRILLIANT. I was on the edge of my seat for large parts of it, excited, engaged, and pretty much loving every minute, and I actually applauded at the end. So Where the bloody hell Were You before now?! Why didn’t you make this much effort for the rest of the season?! Why didn’t it dawn on you that if you had made earlier episodes as exciting and interesting and dramatic as this one, the viewing figures would have guaranteed you a sixth season? As it is, the upcoming fifth season – which will premiere on a tinpot little subscription channel watched by about fourteen people – will probably come to the terrestrial channel in Britain at 11 o’clock on a weekday night because the viewing figures for Season 4 were so bad by the end of it. And now you don’t stand a chance in hell of getting a sixth season, you utter utter idiots.

So I am really really angry with you, TPTB (or, as you’re known amongst the Primeval fans, TFWIC but I’m not going to translate that here). You can write and produce brilliance when you put your minds to it, but too late to save the series. So why build up our hopes at the end of Season 3 by fighting for a fourth season, only to dash them again with a lame, pointless season and then get us excited again with the final episode?

You utter, utter IDIOTS.

Yours sincerely, Ariane DeVere


6th-Feb-2011 03:14 am (UTC)
>where the military went on teabreak at all the wrong times so that Our Heroes could get into trouble with no back-up.
I thought that was the first 3 series too. :)
6th-Feb-2011 07:20 am (UTC)
IMHO, had ep. 3 been better written, it all would have worked out. It was so, so critical to get Ethan and Emily's introductions right, to make them important, and the script just totally failed on that count. Cilla Ware did everything she could to make it work, but it was such a clusterfuck that it just never got off the ground. And then we were left trying in vain to give a shit about them--and, by extension, Matt--and we were SOL.

Jess... Oh, what to say about Jess. Some of the younger fangirls adore her, but IDGI. And the Jess/Becker thing is so forced. So uncomfortable!

FWIW, though, I don't know that ITV's ratings are going to be quite as critical for the renewal chances as it might seem. BBCA's ratings for 4x01 were phenomenal (probably because they, unlike ITV, actually promoted the show) and since they're one of the key co-financiers, they might keep pumping money into it. Dunno for sure, but it's not a done deal either way, at least.
9th-Feb-2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
I know I've been watching on BBC America as well as online so I hope that channels numbers help the chance for a series 6! Do you know where you saw the BBC America ratings? I've been wondering how it was doing on there.
6th-Feb-2011 11:37 am (UTC)
Part of their difficulty was having to have so many characters, and so many of those characters being new ones, and only having 7 episodes to work with.

I think Matt might have worked better as an outsider, not the team leader. I did actually like him after a while, and I thought Gideon was great - Anton Lesser made a lot out of him, considering how little he appeared.

The whole backup thing was daft. Particularly in this ep. And if they weren't going to have backup with them when hunting Ethan, Becker should have gone back to his Mossberg.

But overall, having rewatched most of the series back to back last week, I really enjoyed it. There were faults which I wish they had rectified, and they should certainly have sorted out the introduction of the characters better, but I was more enthused by it than I'd expected to be, after the less than happy experience of S3.

HOwever, I don't think they've done enough to get S6, which is a pity
6th-Feb-2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
I was with you up to the comments on Epi 7, because I don't think that they did redeem themselves. Yes, they completely dropped the ball - largely, I suspect, because the show was written for TV execs and not for either the fans, the general viewers or (most importantly) the writers!
6th-Feb-2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Especially when TFWIC are, by all accounts, pretty enthusiastic about their show, and really want it to succeed, if the interview The Hound did is anything to go by.

The move to Dublin, for cost reasons, I could understand. The failure to pick locations that looked like England, I couldn't, nor the way they didn't bother to remove the Wicklow mountains from the shots of Matt's view from his flat, which surely wouldn't have been that difficult. The lack of extras was obviously down to costs, and the plethora of Irish accents likewise, but they surely could have managed to come up with a few extras for the soldiers who should have been, if not prominent, then reliably in the background. And if not, an excuse/reason of some kind for not having them.

Things like the EMDs, the black boxes and so forth I thought were inevitable, given the work they're doing, but they weren't always well-used, and no one seemed to have given much consideration to the progression of time from ep to ep. The events should really have played out over weeks or even months, but it seems like it all happened in a week, which is just crazy given the plot developments.

*sigh* I love the show, but they do make it bloody hard sometimes.
6th-Feb-2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
This is pretty much my opinion of the entire 4th series, which is a crying shame, because it could have been so much better with just a smidgeon of effort. There was just so much wasted potential, especially for a show that got the kind of second chance too many other shows haven't.
6th-Feb-2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Well, it was better than Series 3 - just.

Matt is indeed a plank of wood and Jess is simply around to show leg and make a pretty couple with Becker...

But in the first part of the season Becker developed a personality, which was good, and there was much Lester snark, which was also good, Abby was, for the most part, competent, as in first season, but Connor was all over the place.

Jenny was terrific in her episode.

Now, however, I have run out of nice things to say. The monsters of the week of been just that, monsters, with no particular individualism and less interest. Plots have been dragged, screaming and kicking, from earlier series. No sense of place, no sense of menace, no sense of character.

6th-Feb-2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Yes! Although I was pretty bored by last night's ep. The pacing has been off all through the series -- they haven't driven the plot along to keep us hooked or to explain the characters' motives.

And if you're going to introduce lots of new characters, at least give them each a personality.

The only reason to keep watching for me has been Lester, with occasional flashes of a personality for Becker! Jenny was awesome in her ep. Abby and Connor and the sodding UST has bored me spitless!

6th-Feb-2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
I won't lie, only the promise of ep 7 really kept me going. Well, and Becker's pretty. <3

I really think Matt's character was the make-or-break with this series, and I'm voting "break", too. SO bloody boring, and bringing back Danny in all his crazy vibrant yoppishness only made Matt seem MORE boring.

Terminator jokes abound.
6th-Feb-2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
I was hoping for exciting things from ep 7 as well. Apart from Danny coming back with his big stick (ooh err!), I was pretty disappointed. And as cliffhangers go at the end, it was rather a damp squib.
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