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Primeval: Volume Three Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 500 Mins.
  • Discs: 4 (4 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BBC/2-Entertain
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 10, 2012
  • List Price: $59.98

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Primeval 3 (2 Disc) -

Purchase Primeval: Volume 3 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:3.5/5]

I lost track of the BBC’s hit sci-fi series Primeval after its first couple of seasons and to my surprise, the series has changed quite a bit, yet somehow remained the same. In the first season Primeval revolved around a science professor, Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) and his investigation strange into time anomalies that had begun to appear randomly around England as he searched for his missing wife, Helen, believed to be lost through one of these “time warps.” His investigative team included the young computer wizard Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) and the sexy zoologist Abby (Hannah Spearritt). Together they investigated the anomalies and helped contain the numerous prehistoric creatures that managed to come through these portals in time.

By the second season, conspiracies had been introduced that turned Cutter’s wife into a arch enemy, a whole new timeline was invented, and Cutter would be killed at the hands of his wife Helen Cutter. New characters would be brought into the story, including Quinn (Jason Fleming), and new, tighter government oversight to the anomaly project was begun.

Finally, Connor and Abby, now a romantically involved couple, would end up going through one of the anomalies along with Quinn to chase after Helen Cutter to stop her diabolical plan to eradicate all humans by going back in time and killing the very first hominid to appear. While Quinn and Helen would jump through another portal to another time, Abby and Connor would end up trapped in the cretaceous period alone with know way to get back – or so it seemed.

Volume Three, which is seems actually includes Series Four and Five, oddly enough, begins with Abby and Connor managing to find their ways back to their own time and returning to The Ark only to find that now, a new regime has begun. The project has been given over to the private sector, with government control in name only. The shady tech magnate Phillip Burton (Alexander Siddig) has the reins, and he has a suspicious side project, New Dawn, that he enlists Connor to help work on. It’s a project involving the anomalies that may threaten life as we know it on the planet. Meanwhile, the new head of the anomaly investigation team, Matt Anderson (Ciarán McMenamin) has a secret and deep suspicions about Burton and the entire team at the Ark, which he is hiding.

With the numerous conspiracies aside and the threat of the unlikely Connor and Abby pairing loosening,  Primeval still somehow manages to retain what made it cool for sci-fi geeks to begin with and that is that it is a weekly “creature feature” through and through. At its core, Primeval is there to show off some crazy killer dinosaurs on the rampage through the streets of London and it starts almost immediately in this Volume Three collection. I still miss the more simplistic plots of the very first season and Douglas Henshall as the anguished Cutter, but in all this is a satisfying sci-fi series that delivers lots of bang on a relatively low budget.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Like all BBC releases these days, Primeval: Volume Three is an original high definition production. No longer is the series filmed in 16mm since the BBC mandated all their productions be done in high definition. It is also likely this is converted from the European standard 1080i/50 to 1080i/60. There isn’t much motion judder detectable except for a rare pan that may seem like it jumps a bit to quickly. Detail looks strong, flesh tones are good and black levels are rather deep in this AVC encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Yet another BBC Blu-ray release is given the shaft on the audio side after what is a reasonably solid video transfer. Primeval is hampered with a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio mix that both suffers from the lack of surround channels and a lack of dynamics.  There are no natural sounding high frequencies and general tonalities sound a bit off due to its lossy codec. Things sound a bit tight and lack clear separation and trail-offs.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

A two-part making of in HD and standard definition prequel webisodes that set up the new series are included on the disc.

The supplements:

  • New Dawn: Making the New Primeval Part 1 (1.78:1;1080i/60; 00:21:21)
  • New Dawn: Making the New Primeval Part 2 (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:15:34)
  • Webisodes (1.78:1; SD):
    • EP 1 Prequel
    • EP 2 Prequel
    • EP 3 Prequel
    • EP 4 Prequel
    • EP 5 Prequel

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

This is a fine effort overall from the BBC of yet another successful sci-fri franchise from the aforementioned broadcasting company. Of only sci-fi fans Stateside could find a champion of the genre as prolific we might be rather happy campers. Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004QOB8U2[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com
Primeval 3 (2 Disc) -

Purchase Primeval: Volume 3 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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