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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

don’t miss ‘Primeval’ starting on BBC America tonight

I’ll tell ya what happened: Some exec at Britain’s ITV took a look at how the BBC was printing its own money these days and started screaming at his underlings: “Get me a Doctor Who! Or least get me a Torchwood!” And one of the guys who made those way-cool Walking with… nature documentaries, in conjunction with one of the guys who created Rome, came up with Primeval, which is kinda Torchwood meets Land of the Lost, with a little bit of Stargate and The X-Files thrown in for seasoning. Six episodes were broadcast in early 2007, and another seven in early 2008, and now all 13 are coming to BBC America, starting tonight at 9pm Eastern.
I got a sneak peek at the first two episodes, and I’m hooked. Actually, I was hooked from the opening moments of episode one, in which a big-ass carnivorous dinosaur is chasing a woman around a shopping mall parking lot — that hooked me because it’s exactly like nightmares that I had as a kid, about dinosaurs roaming around in our world today. Well, they were nightmares, but they were cool nightmares that I loved having.

I won’t spoil too much, because a lot of the fun I had with these two episodes was discovering just what the hell the show was going to be about — all I knew was what I had gleaned from the ads driving around on the sides on buses in Manhattan: a couple of cute guys in adventure-type gear, and behind them are both a hugely fanged dinosaur and the modern London skyline. How and why these two could come together was a complete mystery to me, and I’m glad I waited till I saw the actual show to find out more. I have a vague memory, too, of someone at a science fiction convention recently telling me, after a panel I was on about cool British science fiction TV, that I needed to check out Primeval, so that may be why the show’s title rang a bell. Whoever it was who gave me the tip, thanks.

I think I’ll probably write more about the show, and more in-depth, as the series unfurls on BBCA, but for now, trust me: Give it a shot.

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