Primeval TV Poster Image




Dinosaur action show comes up short on thrills.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

People affiliated with government agencies are portrayed as cold, insensitive bureaucrats who want to hide the dinosaurs from the public and are willing to lie if necessary. One official wants to take control of the situation, acting as if he has the authority to force the scientists to comply with his directives, though it's not clear he actually has such power. Part of the story is the ongoing conflict between the scientific interests of the researchers and the goals of the government, which aren't always clearly defined.


The dinosaurs are very real looking; though some are cute and cuddly, others are hungry and fierce and could be very scary for young kids. Some are shown attacking children, which might be even more frightening. Some of the beasts are brought down by soldiers with automatic weapons, though there's little blood or gore.


Some mild flirting

Not applicable

Some signage for British retail chains.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that some of the dinosaurs in this sci-fi series are hungry, mean, and very scary. Watching a massive beast chasing people -- especially young people -- could be frightening for kids. The show makes some efforts to be accurate, showing creatures that actually existed millions of years ago and sometimes having the characters deliver thumbnail lectures about the dinos' habits and characteristics. But the science definitely takes a back seat to the action, and the show isn't really an educational experience.

What's the story?

When dinosaurs suddenly begin appearing in a British forest, evolutionary zoologist Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) comes up with two theories: first, that there's some kind of space-time rift permitting the beasts to travel from the past, and second, that his wife, Helen -- who's been missing and presumed dead for eight years -- is still alive and might have something to do with the situation. He decides the only way to find out is to travel through the twinkly \"anomaly\" to look for her. As more creatures appear, terrorizing local residents, Cutter and a team of scientists -- including his capable assistant Stephen (James Murray) and reptile expert Abby (Hannah Spearritt) -- must track down the beasts and either help guide them back to their own era or step aside and let the military destroy them.

Is it any good?


PRIMEVAL strives for accuracy, showing actual creatures that existed in prehistoric eras and letting the scientists show off their detailed understanding of the beasts' behavior to predict how they might behave in modern England.

But the science is overshadowed by the action, and on that front the show is fairly standard. Monsters appear suddenly, seem to briefly pose a danger, and are then handled efficiently by a crack team of experts. The ongoing mystery of Helen Cutter's disappearance is more satisfying to ponder, but in the end may not pose enough intrigue to offset the rather plodding dino-action set pieces.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the enduring popularity of dinosaurs. Do you think the dinosaurs in this show act realistically? What do you think of the way the government handles the situation here? How do you think the authorities should act if such monsters are running loose? How would you react if you encountered an actual dinosaur? Why are these creatures used in so many TV shows and movies? Dinosaurs are often popular with kids; do you think a show like this is trying to reach a young audience? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Douglas Henshall, Hannah Spearritt, James Murray
Network:BBC America
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Primeval was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bypoe-ette June 30, 2012

What is WRONG with you, CSM?

This is a great show. Almost no blood, thrilling, funny, great animation, and best of all, cool dinos! Watch this show. It's good. Even my parents liked it
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old May 20, 2011


I like dinosaurs and I like this show but if your expecting jurassic park your are sadly mistaken.
Kid, 10 years old August 21, 2010


the dinosaurs are really realistic, but almost every episode has the same storyline
What other families should know
Too much violence


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