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Primeval, Volume Two (Series 3) by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
BBC Warner DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B002D1XKB0
Date: 14 November 2009 List Price $39.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com / Seasons 4 & 5 Info / Show Official Info /

I was intrigued from the moment I watched the very first promo spot for Primeval and once I began watching it, I was hooked on the show. Over the course of the six episodes of Series One (Season 1) and the seven episodes of Series Two (Season 2), I convinced friends and acquaintances to give the show a try and they all became fans of the show.

Although Series Three (Season 3) brought about a number of unexpected changes to the cast, it also brought new human villains to bedevil the team as they dealt with new and exotic dangerous creatures.

Knowing what high production values were involved in making the show a success, I was very eager to see what bonus features would be added to the DVD set.

Creators:
Tim Haines
Adrian Hodges

Series Cast:
Andrew-Lee Potts... Connor Temple
Hannah Spearritt... Abby Maitland
Ben Miller... Sir James Lester
Juliet Aubrey... Helen Cutter
Lucy Brown... Jenny Lewis / Claudia Brown
Douglas Henshall... Nick Cutter
Ben Mansfield... Captain Becker
Laila Rouass... Sarah Page
Jason Flemyng... Danny Quinn

Series Update (from Wikipedia):

    After the Series 3 finale had aired ITV announced that the series had been canceled as the network was struggling to find money for its programming. This decision was overturned on 29th September when it was announced that the show had been recommissioned for two more seasons after a deal between ITV, the digital channel Watch, BBC America, German broadcaster Pro 7 and the show's production company Impossible Pictures. It was also confirmed that the main cast will all return. Season 4, with seven episodes, will air on ITV some time in early 2011, followed by Season 5 with six episodes being aired on digital channel Watch before a showing on ITV later the same year.

First of all I remembered Jason Flemyng (Danny Quinn) from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where he played Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde. Seeing him as a stubborn police constable was unexpected but pleasant.

That's more than I can say for Belinda Stewart-Wilson who played Christine Johnson, an ambitious and extremely ruthless bureaucrat with an agenda of her own. No doubt she was a direct descendant of "Carcharodon megalodon", a giant shark from the Palaeocene era.

I enjoyed all the episodes, but Episode 3.2 with the camouflage predator didn't appeal to me beyond the fact that it introduced Danny Quinn. In addition, Jack Maitland, Abby's younger brother, would have to be my nominee for the Darwin Award. Watching Episode 3.7, I found that the ending was absolutely priceless.

I very much enjoyed all three Commentaries, the first one most of all, and only a small drop off in enjoyment from first to second and second to third.

Episode 3.3 ends with the heroic death of Professor Nick Cutter and in the Commentary, Haines, Potts, and Hodges provide an entertaining running commentary, liberally sprinkling tidbits about shooting this episode with funny and incisive anecdotes.

In the Commentary for Episode 3.5, we discover that Theo Cross (son of Ben Cross) played the curious young aide who initially touches the superfungus. Bradley, Brown, and Miller were slightly more low key than Haines, Potts, and Hodges in the Commentary from Episode 3.5, but were equally entertaining and informative. Around the 35:00 mark, they are joined by Jason Flemyng who plays Danny Quinn, an equally capable quipster. Just in case you thought that Ben Miller was as humorless and anal retentive as Sir James Lester, the character he plays, he's not. In real life, you can hear the humor in his voice as he quips during the Commentary. In the beginning I didn't care for character of Sir James Lester, but after watching the DVDs, I have a much better appreciation for this career bureaucrat.

In the Commentary for Episode 3.10, Tim Bradley (Series Producer), Adrian Hodges (Co-Creator / Executive Producer / Writer), and Jason Flemyng (Danny Quinn) are quite amusing but I don't remember anything earth shattering in new information. I did love hearing about the alternate ending that had them going "Ding dong, the Witch is dead" after the demise of Helen Cutter. Then again, perhaps she will come back - after all, the Cleaner died and has come back as an army of clones controlled by Helen Cutter.

Furthermore, the two extra features were worthy additions to the 3-DVD set.

In "Cutter's Odyssey", Douglas Henshall talks about playing Professor Nick Cutter and his relationships with Claudia Brown / Jenny Lewis, Connor Temple, Abby Maitland, and Sir James Lester. It was equally very interesting listening to him speak about how he missed his cast mates when he left the series.

By far my favorite feature was "Megaoptra: Genesis Of A Creature" where Carim Nahaboo, the 16 year old winner of the 2008 competition to design a new creature for the show was followed around by a film crew as he meets and speaks with the show's creators, producers, various department heads, cast members, and some of the geniuses at Framestore, the Visual Effects house used by the production company. I most enjoyed the part when Christian Manz was showing the creature with various types of lighting to Carim Nahaboo. It was a mini lighting clinic for budding cinematographers, videographers, and photographers.

Go out and buy the 3-DVD set of Primeval, Volume Two (Series 3), but if you haven't watched all of the first two series (seasons to us), I strongly recommend buying and watching the 4-DVD set of Primeval, Volume One (Series 1 and 2) first.

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