Primal (TV series)

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Also known asGenndy Tartakovsky's Primal
Created byGenndy Tartakovsky
Story by
Directed byGenndy Tartakovsky
Voices ofAaron LaPlante
Composer(s)Tyler Bates
Joanne Higginbottom
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes5
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Shareena Carlson
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Cartoon Network Studios
Williams Street
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkAdult Swim
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseOctober 7, 2019 –
External links

Primal (marketed as Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal) is an American animated television series created and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. It premiered on October 7, 2019 on Adult Swim.

Primal follows a caveman (named “Spear” in the show’s production notes and voiced by Aaron LaPlante), a formidable hunter at the dawn of evolution, and a female Tyrannosaurus (called “Fang” in the show's production notes) on the brink of extinction, brought together by tragedy into an unlikely partnership as they fight to survive the violent creatures that also live in the prehistoric world.

The first season will consist of 10 episodes, with the second half airing in 2020.[1][2]

A movie version of the series titled Primal: Tales of Savagery has been submitted in the Animated Feature Film category at the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards.[3]

Main characters[edit]

  • Spear, portrayed by Aaron LaPlante, is a caveman whose tragedy began with the death of his wife and two children. This violent event is the source of his continued internal struggle to find peace, and although he overcame his initial suicidal depression, Spear is still learning to cope with the loss. Due to this trauma, Spear is able to find a unique companionship with Fang, but unlike her he very much wants it to be a partnership, which she is reluctant to do so at first. Eventually, Spear develops a deep bond with the tyrannosaur and is willing to make any personal sacrifice to protect her.
  • Fang is a species of Tyrannosaurus whose tragedy began with the death of her children. Unlike Spear who is still traumatized and dealing with the grief of his loved ones, Fang is able to cope through the loss of her children faster. Being a tyrannosaur, she is driven by instinct first, which can cause a lot of tension between her and Spear, but it is usually resolved with little consequence. However, this natural tendency does come to a head when she instinctively attempts to assert her dominance over Spear, but eventually learns that it is far more healthier to work in a partnership than in a pack mentality. Nevertheless, as time goes on her bond with Spear grows to the point where she will do anything to ensure their survival.


No.TitleWritten and storyboarded byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
1"Spear and Fang"Genndy TartakovskyOctober 7, 2019 (2019-10-07)[c]0.538[4]
A caveman, Spear, returns from spear-fishing to find his wife, son and daughter devoured by a trio of red horned Tyrannosaurus. Distraught, he contemplates suicide before resolving to take revenge. While fishing, he sees the silhouette of a dinosaur and, thinking it to be one of the Tyrannosaurus that killed his family, silently pursues it into a thicket. He comes face to face with the grayish-blue hornless Tyrannosaurus, Fang, with two offspring hiding behind her. The sight of the young dinosaurs causes Spear to back down, just as they are attacked by the red horned Tyrannosaurus pack. Though Spear helps Fang kill the trio, their gargantuan alpha arrives and consumes Fang's babies while Fang watches helplessly. Spear and Fang slay the alpha, but Fang is left distraught over the loss of her children. Spear leaves Fang and walks off alone, but is later approached by Fang, and the two decide to travel together.
2"River of Snakes"Genndy TartakovskyOctober 8, 2019 (2019-10-08)0.661[5]
While hunting wild boars, Fang consistently bogarts any food she and Spear come across, causing Spear to grow increasingly agitated at her. Eventually Spear snaps and attacks Fang, losing his spear in the process, but their fight is interrupted when they wander into a den of snakes. A flashflood rushes them and the snakes into a swampy river ruled by a Titanoboa. Fang kills the Titanoboa, but despite working together to stay afloat, the two fall down a waterfall, causing Spear to hit his head on the way down. Fang pulls Spear from the water, and as Spear comes to, Fang fetches Spear's lost spearhead. They reconcile and continue their journey together, now hunting food as a team.
3"A Cold Death"David KrentzOctober 9, 2019 (2019-10-09)0.573[6]
In the harshness of primordial winter, an elder woolly mammoth is separated from its herd, and is subsequently attacked and killed by Spear and Fang. As it dies, Spear seems to have some compassion for the creature. He harvests as much meat from the woolly mammoth as he can, using one of its tusks to pull a makeshift sled. When the woolly mammoth herd comes across their desecrated elder, they follow the sled's tracks and attack Spear and Fang. The pair valiantly try to fight off the angered Mammuthus, but they are quickly overwhelmed by their power and numbers. Ultimately, Spear is buried beneath a pile of rocks and Fang is on the verge of being crushed to death. In a final act of desperation, Spear bellows and successfully gets the attention of the herd. In a fit of fury, Spear defends himself with the woolly mammoth's tusk, and notices that the woolly mammoths stop their attack upon seeing it. He returns the tusk to the herd, who leave in peace and bring it to an elephants' graveyard to mourn.
4"Terror Under the Blood Moon"Don Shank and Genndy TartakovskyOctober 10, 2019 (2019-10-10)0.557[7]
After Spear and Fang evade a pack of raptors in the savannah, they experience a red lunar eclipse. They encounter a tribe of cavemen who are attacked by giant humanoid bat-like creatures. They attempt to fight the bat creatures off, but Spear is carried away by them, his spear being left behind with the cavemen. Fang pursues the bat creatures to a massive vertical stone pillar, which she finds impossible to climb. Seeing bat creatures emerging from the top, she plays dead and allows them to carry her to a cave at the peak. While searching for Spear, Fang discovers humans webbed up and decayed, as well as a massive spider. Spear, cocooned in webbing, awakens and helps Fang kill the spider. As the bat creatures return, Spear and Fang use the spider's webbing to safely descend the pillar. Spear retrieves his spear from the cavemen as he and Fang flee from the bat creatures. They lead the bat creatures into the savannah's tall grass, where the bat creatures and the raptors attack one another while Spear and Fang safely escape towards the rising sun.
5"Rage of the Ape-Men"Bryan Andrews and Genndy TartakovskyOctober 11, 2019 (2019-10-11)0.654[8]
Spear and Fang reach a seemingly peaceful oasis and relax before they are captured by a vicious tribe of ape-men. The ape-men hold a brutal tournament to the death, with one of the ape-men eventually coming out on top. After the champion drinks a drop of an enhancement serum, which mutates and enrages him, Fang is lowered into the arena for him to fight. Helplessly watching as Fang is beaten to near-death, Spear breaks free from his bindings and drinks the rest of the serum, causing his muscles to expand dramatically. After killing the ape-man champion, Spear proceeds to massacre the other ape-men in the arena overnight. When Spear eventually returns to normal under a mountain of bodies, he runs to Fang's side as she lies unmoving.


According to the show's creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, Primal was an early piece of work he scrapped because it did not click with him at the time; however, as he learned more and more about what drew people in to his shows, he wanted to experiment with those artistic traits, particularly the use of no dialogue and slow moments.[9] He also stated that the method in which he approached animated shows and films began to slow down in terms of energy after Dexter's Laboratory. However, by the time he began working on Season 5 of Samurai Jack, it had come full circle.[10] According to Tartakovsky, he felt that people would not take the show seriously because they were "breaking the rules" by having "a man and a dinosaur together", so he emphasized that it is a character study, a "buddies" journey about two characters who are very different but bonded by tragedy.


Initial reception for Primal was highly positive; much praise was given to the art and animation, the use of storytelling with no dialogue, and the balancing of the show's interpretation of violence and beauty. In a review from IndieWire, Steve Greene wrote "'Primal' is a piece of elemental storytelling that finds some real emotional depth without either of its protagonists uttering a single word of dialogue",[11] ultimately giving the series an "A-". The show currently has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 98% Audience Score, the critical consensus being, "Epic in every sense, Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal is a stunning feat of visual storytelling." [12]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Pelphrey and Sorcher are executive producers for Cartoon Network Studios
  2. ^ a b Lazzo and Crofford are executive producers for Williams Street.
  3. ^ This episode was first released online on October 4, 2019.


  1. ^ Wallis, Adam (October 4, 2019). "Introducing 'Primal,' the latest gory animated series from Genndy Tartakovsky". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  2. ^ Eddy, Cheryl. "Genndy Tartakovsky Explains How He Created Primal's Ferocious Fantasy World". io9.gizmodo. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  3. ^
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  9. ^ Genndy Tartakovsky's 'Primal' has gritty dinosaurs, no dialogue, retrieved 2019-10-18
  10. ^ Primal - First Look With Genndy Tartakovsky | SYFY WIRE, retrieved 2019-10-18
  11. ^ Greene, Steve (October 7, 2019). "'Primal' Review: Genndy Tartakovsky's Fantastic Prehistoric Saga Finds Beauty in Brutality".
  12. ^ Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal: Season 1, retrieved 2019-10-19

External links[edit]