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November 20, 2012
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I haven't been quite active on deviantART in the last few months, reason being that I've been living with relatives in Texas and didn't have my personal computer with me so I've been unable to produce publishable artwork. But I am home now, and I say that even more officially because the day after I flew home from Texas we took a family trip down to Cadillac, Michigan (which is in Lower Michigan, I live in Upper Michigan) and I had to endure an eight-our round-trip. Needless to say eight hours in a car is extremely abusive without entertainment. So, I brought my laptop with me to kill time. Though before subjecting myself to the vehicle for eight hours I examined my DVD collection and decided to bring the first two seasons of Primeval (the original British); between the two I knew I wouldn't get bored. The two episodes I watched before my computer auto-hibernated were the first and last episodes of Series 1 because they flow together, what with the Permian anomaly/Forest of Dean/gorgonopsid badassery.

Raving about how awesome the car ride was isn't the point of this journal entry though. Something happened while I was watching S1E6 (Series 1, Episode 6), an epiphany you could say. Admittedly, I haven't watched the earlier Primeval episodes in some time and I have since learned a lot more about character and story development than I then knew. Watching S1E1 and S1E6 back-to-back revealed to me precisely how fantastically the plot was laid out. The first episode introduced characters that nobody knew and it didn't take long for the plot to be wrenching the audience with sheer complexity. The characters were deep, the story was compelling and the action was dark and intense. But after watching S1E6 for the first time in a while it has become my favorite episode in the whole of Primeval. Here is why:

By S1E6, we (the audience) have been through a lot. Helen Cutter revealed herself to not only be alive but deranged too, Connor Temple got a reality check when one of his best friends died to a dodo-gifted parasite, and after achieving a bad reputation Helen saved Claudia Brown from imminent death to a disgustingly fictionalized swarm of pterosaurs. We can't forget the love triangles either (yes, that's plural on purpose). But after five gut-wrenching episodes, Primeval isn't done yet. Indeed not! S1E6 begins with a deceivingly light-toned follow-up to the dramatic events that transpired between Nick Cutter and Claudia in the previous episode. The audience begins to see a fire igniting between the two. How romantic! But just as things are warming up, the Permian anomaly from S1E1 reopens in the Forest of Dean and a tell-tale sound effect indicates that something has just passed through it. A security officer runs to investigate when he hears the anomaly reopen, when behind him the piercing sound of bending metal catches his attention. Cut to him approaching a gaping hole in the perimeter fence, and the audience knows something beastly is at large. At first we might assume the gorgonopsid is making a comeback for the season finale, until we're provided a first-person view of the creature's eyesight as it observes the frantic security officer from somewhere in the trees. This is a new creature. Bam! We're hit with the first plot twist. We quickly learn what this new creature is capable of when it approaches a local zoo. The screen pans down to a surface above the lion enclosure and we see grotesque forelimbs creeping along the surface as their owner emits a throaty clicking sound. The lions are agitated. We briefly see the creature as it claws through the top of the exhibit and jumps in. What the hell was that? we ask ourselves in suspenseful whispers. We don't need to see the whole encounter to know what happens; this thing can take on freaking lions! Bam! The audience is hit again. A couple of scenes later, Helen surprises Stephen Hart with a visit and after relaying important information to him over a drink she kisses him before departing. This suggests that they had been in a relationship before Helen's disappearance. Bam! The second plot twist. Later, in the Home Office Connor tells Abby Maitland that lab testing on blood they had collected from the lion enclosure revealed traces of bat DNA. And then, in a private meeting Helen reveals to the team that a creature from the future has trespassed into modern times. Repeat that, the future? Bam! Third plot twist. When the team endeavors to search for this future predator, they discover that it has given birth to several offspring. Bam! Fourth plot twist. And when Nick, Helen and an accompanying military team are about to enter the Permian anomaly to find the future anomaly, Claudia surprises everyone by giving Nick a pardoning kiss. Bam! Connor then receives a call from the lab confirming the adult predator they encountered to be male, which considering there was a nest of offspring means there is likely a female still at large. Bam! Fifth plot twist. In the Permian, Nick, Helen, Captain Ryan and his military team are setting up camp when Nick realizes that they're camp is the abandoned one they saw in S1E1; they're creating their own past. Bam! Sixth plot twist. Shortly afterward, they are attacked by the female future predator and are being picked off one-by-one when a gorgonopsid happens by the camp and begins eating the future predator's offspring. This initiates an intense duel between the two creatures, and after acquiring several scars and losing an eye the gorgonopsid rears back and crushes the future predator under it's weight. With a triumphant roar the gorgonopsid then snatches the future predator's corpse and runs away with it. That moment when the main antagonist from S1E1 becomes the hero needs three bams. Bam! Bam! Bam! Unfortunately, Captain Ryan didn't walk away unscathed from the encounter and before dying acknowledges that the body they'd found the first time they explored the Permian was his; he was looking at himself. Bam! After all is said and done (almost), as Nick and Helen are returning to the present we discover that a few of the infant future predators escaped and are still alive in the Permian. Bam! Nick and Helen return to the present, and a naïve Helen mistakenly reveals to everyone that she had an affair with Stephen. What must have been going through everyone's mind at that awkward moment keeps our thinkers active. Helen realizes she's spilled the beans. Nick realizes his closest friend had an affair with his wife. Stephen realizes his secret has been exposed. The final hit is when after Helen returns through the anomaly Nick realizes Claudia is no longer present. Nobody knows who he is referring to when he inquires about it: Claudia doesn't exist. Bam!

This is how a good season finale is plotted. The entire season is wrapped up and something unexpected happens that preludes a potential continuation of the stories and lives of the characters we've been growing with since the premier. My aforementioned epiphany was this: Primeval is ultimately about the love triangle between Nick, Helen and Claudia. Of course, I already knew this. But this epiphany was one of those revelations when you use the toilet every day of your life and one day only just realize how important it is that you have a toilet to use. Acknowledging this, I realized that Primeval fell apart when Douglas Henshall, who portrayed Nick Cutter, left the show on his own terms. It was an irreplaceable loss to the delicate chemistry of what made Primeval work. No Nick Cutter = no need for Helen Cutter or Claudia Brown/Jenny Lewis = no Primeval. Could Primeval's direction have changed? Yes, and it did; but because Henshall abruptly left the show there was no possibility to smoothly alter the focus. It was a matter of outing the old and inning the new. New characters and a new story had to be crammed into Primeval with no forewarning, somewhat like replacing the concrete foundation of a house only after it's been constructed. For this reason Series 3 (when Nick Cutter was killed off) and everything proceeding it is essentially irrelevant hash and probably shouldn't even be considered canon because it so drastically deviates from what Primeval initiated as.

My question is, what if it were done right? What if Nick hadn't been abruptly killed off, and what if a conclusion was drawn over the love triangle between Nick, Helen and Claudia? I am suddenly tempted to revisit an old project of mine, a fan fiction literature series I wrote for Primeval when I was still a die-hard fan. Though instead of it being a mere fan-fic, it should be a retelling of Nick, Helen and Claudia's story in it's own canon universe. While I'm at it, I'll give a damn about scientific accuracy and implement a better respect for paleontology and astrophysics (the two sciences Primeval primarily deals with). My next question is, would anyone be interested in reading a Primeval remake if I were to write one? I'm sure the major response is more or less, would I be capable of it? I won't speak for myself, but if there is interest then I would definitely write a pilot "episode" (chapter, really) to provide everyone with a sense of my writing talent. A good story can be ruined by bad writing, and I am not going to heave upon myself another burdening personal project if it isn't worth it.

I appreciate the feedback!

-Rick Charles
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:iconwarriorcatmom:
WarriorCatMom Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012
Yes, it needs to be done right. Had so much potential.
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:icontyrannotitan333:
Tyrannotitan333 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'd be interested to see how this turns out, so I'm in.

Yeah, it was Cutter leaving that caused the show to go downhill. I've heard that he was originally going to stay for all three series, but he left early for some reason (one possibility Tomozaurus and I have discussed before was that he may have disliked the new script quality - the S3 episodes with Cutter still have a different tone to 1 and 2 in my opinion - say, what do you have to say about those episodes?). If he stayed the Cutter/Helen storyline may have gotten a proper conclusion (and also what actually happened with Claudia, instead of just being all "BAM! JENNY LEWIS EXISTS AND THE WORLD IS MORE HIGH-TECH. THE END.").
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:icondeinonychusempire:
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Series 3 was extremely sloppy, but I figured it was because they had to rescript everything because Henshall left abruptly. I can understand your theory, though. Series 1 and 2 were scripted primarily by Adrian Hodges himself. Series 3 welcomed a host of random screenwriters that exercised no consistency or quality in their efforts.
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:icontyrannotitan333:
Tyrannotitan333 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, that's true. It's also when the creature diversity started to decline.

Oh, and what exactly do they screw up with astrophysics (I already know enough about their palaeo track record *cough*treecreeper*cough*)?
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:icondeinonychusempire:
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Primeval is set in a single linear universe where meddling with the past alters the present. In actuality time is not linear and the time-space continuum is much more dynamic than Primeval suggest. Linear time is scientifically archaic.

That's the simple answer, anyway.
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