First Watch: Primeval: New World – “The New World” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Once again, the U.S. has borrowed a show from the British. No, that’s not fair — it’s the Canadians collaborating with the British. For the fans of Primeval, a BBC sci-fi program(me) with five seasons under its belt, New World is the spin-off series that has been promised for more than two years. What a waste of time. As a science-fiction fan who has heard great things about the original show, this introduction to the universe has upset me. Don’t worry, the threat has been neutralized. Syfy is running this show in America currently, after being released more than a year ago on Space (the Canadian Syfy) — and promptly canceled after a single season. Is it worth reviewing a terrible show after it has already been canceled? If I watched it, I get to vent about it. Also, Syfy could save the show by picking up the second season; and we should be prepared for that horrifying scenario.

Initially, I was excited to see Niall Matter return to a sci-fi series as a cocky genius: Evan Cross. The joy was quickly marred by the pain I felt watching the opening scene. This was not an “Oh, Evan, how could such a fate befall you” pain, but rather a “Why is this slow motion so melodramatic” pain. As far as performances: the acting was not good to begin with, but the slow motion made Matter’s worse.

The CGI is inconsistent: occasionally what I’d expect out of a modern day Jurassic Park, but often only a few notches above Sharktopus. This motif screams laziness on the part of the graphics team. The characters are just as fake as the mediocre dinosaurs. I was hoping for a team of characters as real and connected as the team in Torchwood. The relationships are shallow, just like the dialog. They’re so forgettable, I have nothing else to say about them. With the exception of Lt. Ken Leeds (Geoff Gustafson), who sneaks his way into good graces early on with his boyish charm.

The most offensive part? The show sets itself up as a mystery, but is completely casual about any secret presented. Mac Rendell (Danny Rahim) was a bottom-level employee when the episode started, but, within ten minutes, he’s chasing dinosaurs. Nobody questions this. It’s like he’s a character there for the express purpose of proving the idea of dinosaurs and temporal rifts are common place. There is virtually no security in the facility where Cross works; no confidentiality. Compare this to another Syfy show, such as Eureka or Warehouse 13, and you’ll see Primeval: New World lacks the intrinsic care the other series’ universes take with protecting their secrets.

As always, though, I’ll be taking in a few episodes more; in hopes that this series grows on me. Feel free to use the comment section to tell me how much you enjoy Primeval (the original series), I need my excitement renewed and validated.

Rating: 1 out of 3

If you’re a fan of the original, and absolutely need to see an expanded universe, be my guest. I’m not impressed.

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