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BLOG Primeval Series Four: The New Line-Up

How are the new ARC team are settling in? As an alternative to Dave Grinchy Golder’s reviews, John Cooper points the anomaly detector at Primeval ’s new team dynamic.

Who is this Matt fella? Who’s the old man in the cottage he talks to and why does he keep exotic plants and Victorian women in his flat?

You can’t complain that Primeval hasn’t come roaring back with plenty of ideas. Okay, so the budget can’t quite do justice to all of them – the evocatively titled “menagerie” looking more like a industrial warehouse – but the new ARC team are breath of fresh air and settling in nicely.

Ciarán McMenamin is a welcome addition to the show, billed to fill the scientific void left by Professor Cutter after he was shot and replaced by an off-duty policeman. He’s not as broody as either Douglas Henshall or Jason Flymng’s Danny Quinn, but what he lacks in the burdens of his predecessors he more than makes up with mysterious origins and an interesting combination of both warmth and detachment in equal parts – which probably stems from talking to plants on his rooftop balcony.

Becker, too, seems to have a bit of dimension to him, which I’m sure Ben Mansfield is thankful for having served in the previous series as either a plot device or king of the red-shirts, which now troubles him.

Quirky new ops girl Jess is clearly invaluable – having the ability to unlock normal looking wooden doors in a school corridor remotely with a computer several miles away. Plot holes aside she provides an interesting counterpoint to both series veteran’s Abby and Conner. Abby Maitland has comes a long way; it’s hard to imagine her as the same tiny-knickers zoologist back in series one to the recently self-appointed defender of dino-welfare. Hannah Spearitt does a great job. Although you can’t really tell she’s spent a year in the Cretaceous era under a tree wearing the same clothes everyday, there’s a welcome hint of “been there, done that” in her portrayal that fits the tone of the show nicely. Conversely Conner Temple is still Connor Temple, a likeable fifth wheel without an obvious role or reason. Andrew Lee Potts likewise, but it’s forgiveable in a show so erratic that it’s nice to have some consistency. Potts is now sharing equal top billing in the credits with McMenamin simply for still being around; he would make a great contestant on The Apprentice and clearly knows something about survival.

At the time of writing, after Episode four, Ben Millar’s Lester is still criminally underused (is he rationed?) and Alexander Siddig’s underplayed Burton does a great job of nearly killing himself with his own security system he invented in a few minutes. I love Primeval . Of course the best thing this series isn’t even Matt’s mystery, or Burton’s hidden agenda. Nope the the best thing is we already know that this series won’t be the last. Hurrah!