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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Primeval Volume 3 roars onto Blu-ray

      The BBC recently released Primeval Volume Three on Blu-ray and DVD. Don't be confused by the Three in the title, as series one and two comprised a single volume in North America, and this set includes all the episodes so far past series three, but not series three, which is volume two. Get it?

     Contained on the four discs are the five prequel webisodes that set up series four by introducing viewers to the new characters and the revamped chain of command, as well as all thirteen episodes from series four and five. In the webisodes, it is learned that Sarah (Laila Rouass, Holby City) is dead. Matt Anderson (Ciaran McMenamin, Pulling Moves), a very guarded man, who has military experience, and is also a zoologist, is the new team leader. Jess Parker (Ruth Kearney) is a brilliant, naive teenager who now is the field coordinator from the ARC office. Philip Burton (Alexander Siddig, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, 24) is a private businessman, who now owns the ARC project in partnership with the government, and provides the new working space. Philip would rather not even mess with the dinosaurs, but thinks the anomalies could provide a great energy source.

     Series four finds Conor (Andrew Lee Potts, Ideal, 1408) and Abby (Hannah Spearritt, S Club 7) arriving back in the present, only to learn they no longer have jobs, since they are not military, and new rules have been handed down. Saving the day, they earn their spots back But that is only the beginning. Time travelers muck things up, and deepen the mystery. New character relationships and pasts are revealed. Abby and Conor find their relationship strained, as they can't quite agree on who they should ally themselves with. And worst of all, Conor discovers that the anomalies the team has been battling for the entire series are only getting more frequent, and will soon result in an absolute disaster.

     In the fifth series, lines are drawn. Conor and Philip work on creating anomalies, while Matt and Abby try to stop them. Matt's future world becomes relevant, as more creatures from the desolate world of tomorrow invade. Conor switches allegiances, renews his love with Abby, and tries to help stop Philip. All hell breaks loose, and it builds into an explosive finale.

     Is this the end of the story? While a sixth series has not been ordered in the over-a-year since production of series five stopped, a Canadian spin-off entitled Primeval: New World begins production this winter. However, the New World is said to feature an entirely new cast, even if it is set in the same world, so depending on how things end up shaking down, Volume Three could be the end of Primeval as fans know it.

     Primeval looks fantastic in high definition. Volume Three is the first volume to be released on Blu-ray thus far, and only series four and five are available in high def streaming. With the large amount of special effects in the show, Blu-ray is certainly the way to go, and hopefully the BBC will convert the first three series into the format, as well. The colors and look of the show are fantastic in this 1080i set, and the sound is mixed wonderfully, though it's disappointing that it is merely stereo, not surround sound. Then again, this is television, not a film.

     As far as special features go, those are less desirable. There are the webisodes, as mentioned above, and a two part making of titled "New Dawn," with one part each on discs two and four. And that's it. Nothing else. Both are excellent additions to the set, but leave fans wanting more. However, the series is still good enough to recommend the purchase, and the price is reasonable for the episodes.

     Buy Primeval Volume Three, on sale now.

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