swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Dec. 24th, 2015 19:26)
Having reached 2007, I can now look back on LJ as an aid to memory. Needless to say, this is spectacularly little help. On this day in history, as it were, I helpfully aided the would-be historical researcher with an exhaustively in-depth review of Richard Hammond's interview with Evel Knievel, and some warbling about the BBC's Christmas concert, in which that year's prospective Josephs sang some songs (though not enough, apparently) with the previous year's prospective Marias. Which, if taken as any sort of aid to memory, would make my year appear to be all about insane crashing and wannabe West Enders. Although, in all fairness, that's not a bad summary of my year. 2007 did not go well. It started out deceptively normal, then took a wild swerve in May, and attacked with all guns blazing. And I apologise to all of you who got caught up in that summer's appalling floods. They fitted my mood so well, I've always half-considered myself responsible.

As I said, the year didn't start off badly at all - in fact quite the opposite. ITV debuted Primeval, and I fell in love with the whole ruddy thing. Although I enjoyed most of New Who that year, Primeval was more fun than almost anything had been in years. Some great characters, a great set up, and giant prehistoric beasties at every turn. Joy and merriment, although sadly only for half a dozen weeks. Over on the BBC, Outnumbered aired for the first time this year as well. That was good, at least for the first few years. The little girl in that, Ramona Marquez, is the daughter of Martin Marquez, my stalker Hotel Babylon guy (see last year), so that was nice. Less nice of course was the fact that this was the year that Verity Lambert died. She gave us some terrific television over the years. A remarkable woman.

And then of course there was Any Dream Will Do. Who could have thought that I, with my reality TV allergy, would have become so ridiculously attached to a little group of guys trying to be chosen as the lead in a production of Joseph?! But I did. Enough so that I've tried to keep up with the careers of a handful of them, particularly the winner, Lee Mead. Although I'm not watching Casualty, Lee. Sorry. Not for you, not for anybody.

Musically, not a bad year. I said that with complete confidence, didn't I, but I was no longer really listening to the radio by this point, and have no idea of the pop scene. There was a new album from Springsteen this year; a proper one with the E Street Band. None of his dire solo nonsense. Sorry, Bruce. I never have liked your solo albums. So far as the cinema is concerned, there was the superb Pan's Labyrinth; although technically I think that was released in 2006, but who's counting. Also this was the year when they tried to remake The Hitcher. Why?! I don't think anybody saw it though.

Did anything important happen in 2007? No? Oh good. On to the music then.

... )
Day eleven, a show that disappointed you. Oh, Primeval. For about six weeks, I loved Primeval; the entire, insanely short length of the first series. It was pretty much everything that I wanted to be watching. A fun gang of university types (three boffins and a student) find holes in time that lead back to various prehistoric ages. Giant prehistoric beasties! Rampaging through the Forest of Dean! Gods, it was wonderful. Giant monsters prowling through school corridors; enthusiastic amateurs thrown into the thick of things; gorgonopsids and pteranodons and dodos and mosasaurs and giant centipedes and basically many things with big teeth. Except the dodos. And the centipedes. And a few other things, but anyway. I loved Primeval, is basically what I'm saying. I liked the characters, too. Okay, so the student (Connor) was irritating, and could have done with a bit of being eaten. But the three boffins were brilliant. We had a good head boffin, called Nick, with a pleasing fondness for ammonites. We had a tough and capable lizardy boffin called Abby. And best of all we had a main assistant boffin called Stephen who, when he wasn't doing things in laboratories, turned out to be brilliant with guns, and spent much of his time chasing giant monsters. Also he was blatantly obviously in love with Nick, but that's by the by.

And then they "reinvented" everything for series two. Nick fell into an alternate universe, in order to rid the show of all the stuff that the producers didn't like (and, as it turned out, everything that I did). No more were the team enthusiastic amateurs. The university was gone, and in its place was a big government department. Political conspiracies abounded, where once had been boffins being pleasingly boffiny. Logic had been thrown out of the window, and in its place was brooding in shadows, and people being blazingly stupid, just in order to get them somewhere where a big monster could create a bit of peril. Central relationships, which helped the stories tell themselves, were all destroyed. Characters need relationships, but every single one of those that existed in series one was now gone, except the twee romance between Abby and Connor. Worst of all, the show didn't even make sense anymore. In series one there were soldiers around, to guard against prehistoric beastie incursions, and to protect the scientific department. In series two there were no soldiers. Presumably good sense gets in the way of big monsters creating a bit of peril. Or possibly the faceless government department had spent so much money building itself a giant glass skyscraper to base itself in, that it didn't have any money left for soldiers. It was stupid. And they ruined Helen, the brilliant evil genius who was busily being Up To Things in the background. That sucked a whole lot too.

British sci-fi has a long tradition of enthusiastic amateurs. Maybe it's an overused trope, but it allows for good characters. Switch to a faceless governmental department, and you've got... well, you've got a faceless governmental department, haven't you. Quirky, original characters give way to cookie cutter types. Also they killed Stephen. Really, really stupidly.

Oh, Primeval. I loved you, I really did. And then I didn't. And I still really regret everything that was lost. For such a brief time it was all so much fun. And then, all of a sudden, nothing.
Than this of Juliet, and everybody else who's stuck with her in this stupid episode.

Episode 12: The Naked Montague

... )
Slave traders are a weird bunch. Not something you might ordinarily ponder, but bear with me. Or... well, whatever.

At this point, I would usually waffle at length about Primeval. But I can't, as I didn't watch it. It was on too early, so I couldn't see it at the time; so I was going to download it, but I forgot. And now I couldn't be bothered, so "Primeval 2x07 - Future beasties, giant scorpions, and everything else as well for that matter", will have to wait. Probably indefinitely. Maybe there'll be some news about series three that will renew my interest in the show, as right now it's registering pretty low, but I have to say that I doubt it. Series two was not what I want to be watching, and I see no evidence that series three will be turning things back to where I want them to be.

Back to the pirates instead, then. )
Yep. A mammoth. A big, trumpetty mammoth. Moreover, a big, trumpetty, shape-changing mammoth. One minute it's the size of a small European country, and the next it fits in the back of a Ford Transit van. Cool. Okay, so I'm exaggerating about the van - it was actually a small lorry. But still...

Continues... )
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Well, that was... nearly fun. Would have been mroe so if it hadn't been for the annoying child; and she really was annoying, too. Off she goes to play with her dog outside, without taking a lead, and of course the dog goes barrelling off through an anomaly hidden in a tunnel. Learn your lesson, annoying child. Get a lead! And she was whiny and wooden, and she had some terribly clunky dialogue. And Cutter's being a prat again. Other than that, it was a fun episode. And hey - giant scorpions! I was assuming that they were Eurypterids from the publicity photos, but there didn't seem to be any water in evidence, so "giant scorpions" will have to do instead. Uropygids, maybe? At any rate, they were big, and they were awesome. Though the giant-ish millipedes were a bit rubbish in comparison.

More of episode five under here... )
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I guess that was different. A future shark in a canal - either future sharks have taken a leaf out of the bull shark's book, and can breathe in freshwater as well as salt, or this was a freshwater species. Or possibly a future version of a river shark. Also a cluster of future seal things that looked a bit fake to say the least! All bouncing around an unidentified bit of wherever it is that the show is set, and causing an outbreak of stupidity amongst the cast. Stupidity and arguments. I was beginning to think that the show had completely lost the plot, when lo and behold, we had a final fifteen minutes involving giant creatures, last minute rescues, and Stephen being hilariously heroic (with a big gun). So I forgave all the stupidity and annoyances (up to a point), and decided that it was a good episode after all. Up to a point.

More detailed ramblings this way... )
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Before we begin, let's just get one thing clear. Sabre-tooth cats are good. They're not as good as dinosaurs, or indeed many other types of ancient and long gone reptile/mammalianish, reptiley prehistoric creatures - but they're still bloody good. A Smilodon on the rampage in a theme park is verging on genius.

Spoilery stuff this way.. )
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Well, that was fun. Many moons ago I wrote a Doctor Who story where there were worms as foes. I based them on hagfish, and it was quite delightful seeing something similar brought to life on Primeval. Hagfish (and lampreys) are gloriously ancienty type fish with very effective mouths for this sort of story.


Hagfish mouth under here... )

Anyways, the episode then. Thick, yellow fog flooding a skyscraper; giant carnivorous worms hidden in its depths. Hurrah! And a recurring dodgy character in the as-yet-not-properly-named "Cleaner", who nearly got himself nibbled to death last week by a baby dinosaur, that I suspect he had hidden in his locker for some nefarious purpose. He didn't do much this week except glare meaningfully about, but he's clearly up to splendid amounts of no good, which is fine by me. Other than that, lots of running about, attacking giant worms with fire axes, swords, letter openers, and anything else to hand. As ever, hardly high brow stuff, but who cares. Best bit had to be Stephen going all Die Hard in the lift shaft (and then in an office), but it was also good to see he and Cutter back to doing their old double-act thing properly. They're far too good together to get split up by an affair with Psycho Wife. Who was also back this week, incidentally, and being brilliant as usual. So good stuff all round, then, really. :)

Slight problem with my recording, which made Connor and Abby's air con escapade all weird and stuttery, and also screwed up at the end quite a bit. So no tunnel shots in the screencaps, and no weird stalkery bit from Cutter outside Not-Claudia's house. Still, the important bits are the bits with creatures in, so that's okay.

Lots of pictures under here... )
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It's good to have Primeval back. Fifty minutes of watching the cast chasing a dinosaur around a shopping mall, and being chased by a dinosaur in turn. With blood and gore aplenty, and lots of mall employees being munched. Hurrah! It's not the most demanding or meaningful show on television, but it's buckets of fun, and it's got dinosaurs in it. And daft jokes and general good fun. And I like it, a lot. :)


Pictures this way... )
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swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Dec. 9th, 2007 03:13)
Season one revisited part two.

*Heavy sigh* I haz run out of Primeval episodes to watch. Well, until the new series starts next month, anyway. It's been a fun re-watch, and I'm glad I waited as long as I did for it. It was almost like seeing it for the first time. Episode six tonight, and it's a real beauty. Clever little plot resolutions, new plot threads, and lots of nice monster action. Hurrah! So here's the potted history of episode six, in shiny pictures, and in a hurry, 'cause the trip switch is all in a flutter.

More here )
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swordznsorcery: (face)
( Dec. 1st, 2007 03:07)
Primeval season one revisited, part one.

I've been rewatching Primeval. We're due a second season in the new year at some point, and it's been ages since I watched season one, so I dug out the DVD set earlier. I wasn't sure about the first episode back when it was screened. I seem to remember rambling on about not being entirely sure what to make of it. It soon became clear that it was glorious fun for a Saturday night, though, and rewatching episode one for the first time, my opinion hasn't changed. Episode one isn't brilliant, but there's necessary setting up stuff, and that's okay. Ben Miller is fabulous as the thoroughly oily James Lester. Even his body language screams "git!". I hope we see more of him in season two. Claudia seems more annoying second time around. She's the winsome type. All grins and fluttery eyelashes, and a soft voice that screams "I'm the love interest!" at you. I never was interested in her allegedly romantic subplot with Cutter, though, which might explain why I never really warmed to her. She didn't seem to have anything much going for her beyond that subplot. And Cutter and Stephen make a far better couple. Sorry, but they do. Stephen's clearly interested, and it's impossible to ignore that. I do wish ITV would jump on the bandwagon, and take a leaf out of RTD's book on that score. But anyway. Claudia's annoying. Happily she doesn't do much in episode one except flirt with Cutter, and be winsome and eyelashy-fluttery.

More rambling this way... )
Well, that was unexpected. Not the future beastie. That was in the trailers. I mean the end. Hmm.

Cut for space )
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*Sighs contentedly* Flying reptiles. They're great, aren't they? There are big ones and small ones, and flappy ones and glidey ones, and they're lovely, every one. Though the big ones are best. The bigger the better, really. They're not as cool as a nice big allosaurus, admittedly; it's still the walking ones and the swimming ones that come top of my list... but still, a nice flying reptile is tough to beat, and they were all over the place in Primeval tonight. This show is shaping up to be so much fun. Damned shame there's only one more episode left to go.

Episode stuff beneath the cut... )
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Yep, it's "thinly veiled excuse to waffle about the television" night again. I've really grown to like Primeval; and given how rubbish most of the publicity material made it look, that's really rather unexpected. So, episode four. Not my favourite - for starters there was far too much of an emphasis on the annoying student friends. It was still mostly good, though, with some jolly good stuff in it. Dodos on the rampage is, after all, a very underused plot device. Little blighters living inside them, making them into maddened snappy beasties, passing on wriggling infections to unsuspecting students; and that's something you don't see much of, either. It's just a shame that it was the less annoying student friend that was killed off. This leaves us with the short one with glasses. Duncan. And he's awful. I don't think I've seen him deliver a line well yet. With luck we won't be bothered by him again; though I rather suspect that we shall.

Some great moments this time, hidden amongst all the action. I did think that I would end up being bored by the "love triangle" thing that's sort of going on between Abby, Connor and Stephen, but it's shaped up rather well. Stephen is so fabulously oblivious to Abby. He's either gay, or there's something lurking in his past that prevents him from wanting to form attachments to scantily-clad herpatologists. I don't buy that long-distance girlfriend excuse he came up with last week. The missing wife thing, which bugged me so much during the first couple of episodes, now isn't bothering me at all. They've found her, arrested her, made a complete balls-up of dealing with her, and now she's escaped again, and that's cool. And I love the fact that she was armed whilst in custody. And that Stephen seemed to find this perfectly normal. Let me think. I need a knife. Who do I take it from? One of the many heavily-armed soldiers, or the prisoner? Yep, the prisoner. And I'll hand it back to her with a grin afterwards, as well. I really hope that that wasn't just bad plotting, as it really made me warm to the pair of them. Well, to her. Stephen's already my favourite character. I think it was the gorgonopsid chase in episode one that did that.

Er... lost the thread. Was there a thread? There was supposed to be. Anyway, I'm enjoying this show. It's daft, it's got extinct creatures in it, and next week there's flying reptiles. What's not to like? And it amuses me highly the way that the entire cast is given to walking in dramatic formation. I do wonder if Stephen is licensed to have that gun, though. Handguns are supposed to be banned in the UK. He seems to whip it out indiscriminately, though, regardless of who's nearby. The gun, that is. Really not sure he should be doing that. But again, it's all part of the fun.

Did I mention that we get flying reptiles next week?! Damned shame that there's only two more episodes to go.


A dodo, eating an important plot point.
They're given to doing that, apparently.
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Saturday is now Primeval Day, I've decided - and not just because I like rambling on about television shows. Well, okay, largely because of that. Really, genuinely good episode tonight. I wasn't entirely happy with last week's, but this week's more than made up for it. Firstly, the mosasaurs, which did look a bit dodgy in places, admittedly, but most of the time looked bloody lovely. Fabulous scene at the beginning, when one whooshed up out of the bottom of a swimming pool, and caught a diver as he leapt off a board. Secondly, the plot. We had actual intrigue, and following up of previous plot strands, which is the kind of thing that Robin Hood failed to do much of the time. The missing wife storyline was fleshed out well tonight, and didn't annoy me anything like as much as it did during the first two episodes. Having her being arrested by government agents was a nice twist, especially given how upset Cutter and Stephen seemed to be about it. Also, extra points for slipping in some history between Stephen and Helen (the missing wife). At a stroke that deepens the relationship between Cutter and Stephen, and hints at other things. Connor the annoying student is still annoying, but they are acknowledging this more in the script now. A character who is intentionally annoying is infinitely better than one who is annoying by accident. His two university friends really are appalling, though. Bad lines and bad delivery, particularly the short one. And what's with the weird girlfriend thing suddenly shoehorned in for Stephen?! Seems bizarre.

Still, for the most part, this was highly entertaining. Lots of giant reptile action, and anything from the Cretaceous is always going to be welcome on my television. Giant reptiles! Giant, prehistoric reptiles! How can you fail to love that?! With the big teeth, and the big claws, and the big... bigness. More please.


Waiting for you to dive in...


He's lovely, isn't he.

Next week's preview shows Stephen hurling himself into a portal, which just about had me cheering. I've been wanting to do that myself since episode one.
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I can't make up my mind about this Primeval thing on ITV1. On the one hand it's enjoyable and daft, but on the other, it has the potential to get very annoying. There's a nice central idea. Portals opening up, and things wandering in from other timezones, is a good basic beginning to build a plot upon, and I'm always happy when there's prehistoric beasties in the offing. So in that way it's good. But then they bring in all this "missing wife" backstory for the main character, and I wind up bored into a coma. And that really annoying geeky student character... Geeky student characters should be good. A fair proportion of the viewers of a science fantasy show are going to be geeks. So why present him as so annoying? Not to mention so stupidly "quirky"? And his friends this week were appalling. They were so bad they weren't even stereotypes. They were stereotypes of stereotypes. And they were badly acted stereotypes of stereotypes. Plus I don't know everybody's names yet. Shouldn't I know what they're all called after two hour-long episodes?! Granted this may in part be due to me not paying full attention, particularly when it's a geeky student bit or a missing wife bit, but if the characters are introduced properly, I should know who they are. Currently the only names I know are the geeky student, which I only know as the others were arguing about him; the professor, which is mainly because people keep yelling his name at him, perhaps in case he forgets it; and the fabulously super-powered, magically-endowed-with-tracking-skills lab assistant. Whose name I was always going to know, 'cause frankly one does tend to notice a fabulously super-powered, magically-endowed-with-tracking-skills lab-assistant. Especially when he's building a flame thrower out of abandoned bits of railway.

So a mixed bag, really. Could be better, yet still enjoyable. I still want to watch the show - and next week's got a mososaur in it, so just try to keep me away. But something's holding me back from being too enthusiastic. Maybe it's just that this week's episode didn't grab me as much as last week's. Carboniferous pseudo-spiders are always going to be a draw, but giant reptiles were my first love, and they're always going to come before arachnids. And last week there was a gorgonopsid. Next week there's a mososaur. Giant spiders in the middle just pale in comparison for me, I'm afraid. Did love that they were living in the London Underground, though. Things living in the tunnels under London is always a good idea. Don't know why - just is.


Giant Carboniferous pseudo-spider.
Just not as good as a giant reptile. Sorry.
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All my snow is going away. No fair. It rained all day today, and rain is infinitely more boring than snow. We get it all the time, for starters. Although admittedly it's nice to get decent TV reception back. Everything got a bit crackly yesterday, and I lost non-digital radio entirely. Mind you, it went in the middle of a Robbie Williams song, so it was no great loss.

Weirdly productive day today, though probably only in my terms. Updating this, and finishing that, and sorting out this, that and the other. And I've just remembered that I must write in my parents' wedding anniversary card. Why they continue to celebrate the occasion is beyond me, and I certainly prefer not to be caught up in it all, but I suppose there should be some sort of reward for lasting out forty-three years with somebody you actively dislike. Parents, hey. Who can figure them.

Oh yeah. Primeval. New ITV show started tonight. Their first sci-fi show since The Last Train, apparently. Hated that, but it was a long, long time ago. Primeval actually seems quite promising. They've only done it because the Beeb brought back Doctor Who, and now they're trying to cash in on the Saturday evening family audience, but what the hell. If it means decent entertainment I'm not going to quibble. Just mock. ;) And on the basis of the pilot this actually could be decent entertainment. From ITV! Incredible! It's definitely aimed more at the younger viewers, but that doesn't matter. It's fun, and it's got dinosaurs in it. Well - they were from the Permian era, so technically they're not dinosaurs, but I'll let that one go. Pseudo-dinosaurs, let's say. Some interesting characters, though the main one has the obligatory annoying emo back-story thing going on. He's a good character, though, and his assistant is cool. There's also a bloody annoying student type who needs to get eaten by something pronto. However - pseudo-dinosaurs. And I'm willing to put up with a lot if it gets me nice big creatures prowling around on my television screen.

Dinosaurs are good. I like dinosaurs. :)
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