I’m late to the party on this one, but once I saw one episode, I greedily devoured every installment on HBO Max.
Primal tells the story of a caveman named Spear (I only know his name because of the episode description) who, after discovering that his wife and two children were killed by a pack of dinosaurs, sets off on an aimless journey through an untamed and dangerous land with another dinosaur he bonds with and kind of sort of forms a friendship with.
Also, there is no dialogue. Like, at all. Every episode, every emotion, every action sequence is conveyed without a single word. It’s a world of silence and, at the same time, the emotions and expressions of the characters practically scream what they’re thinking. Their motivations are always clear.
It’s glorious simplicity.
I’m one of those kind of people who will play on my phone because I’m an attention deficit doofus, but with Primal you have to pay attention and doing that is very easy. Primal is an engrossing experience, visceral and exciting and executed in such a way that is precious and unique.
This series is art. I have no other way to describe it other than it is art and I don’t use that description with many series. That’s not me being snooty or stuck up, but Primal feels like art from the very first scene.
I’ve only seen the five episodes available on HBO Max, but not a single one of them was a misfire in even the slightest way. Each episode runs the gamut of tragedy, comedy, horror, and action. The series even shows the ability to grow beyond concepts of good and evil, portraying the events of Spear’s adventures as matters of simple survival.
This series is violent and unflinching and yet endows its protagonist with an incredible sense of humanity and sadness. Spear is expressive and a genuine person you want to root for.
Speaking of which, Primal contains some of the best animation I’ve seen in a television series in a long time. Every frame has a wonderful hand-drawn quality to it, free of any obvious CGI. It gives it an amazing throwback feel, not to mention that the characters grow and stretch like silly putty, making them kinetic and fun to watch.
I don’t know if I’m ready to say that Primal is one of the best new shows I’ve seen in a while as I’ve only seen five episodes, but it is certainly the most unique experience I’ve come across and, in a era of television where anything successful is copied and watered down, something unique like this is a treasure and should be nurtured and protected.