Genndy Tartakovsky was both deeply shocked and extremely excited by the reactions garnered for the first season of his half-hour animated series for Adult Swim, “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal.” The series was not only a huge success with fans but earned high praise from critics and picked up five Emmy Awards including the top prize as  “Outstanding Animated Program.”

“Season one was amazing. The response was fantastic,” Tartakovsky says. “I think we were all kind of shocked at how quickly people started to pick up the show, and that they weren’t just responding to the violence and the action, but they were responding to the characters and the emotionality of everything.

“I think that’s what we were kind of after.  And, the critical reviews were amazing and, of course, the Emmy win was a great surprise especially for a first season for something so different.”

“Primal” is definitely different. The late-night animated adventure follows the story of Spear (minimally voiced by Aaron LaPlante), a caveman at the dawn of evolution who forms an unlikely friendship with an almost extinct dinosaur named Fang. The series unfolds in a gray area between fantasy and fact as man and beast fight the daily struggle to survive.

Tartakovsky laughs and then says that once you create a series where there is a man and a dinosaur together, the science pretty much has been thrown out the door.

The first season – that debuted on the cable channel of Adult Swim in 2019 – consisted of 10 episodes. The second season of the animated series continues the tales of Spear and Fang as they journey to a new world to rescue Mira (Laëtitia Eïdo) from her captors. What they discover is a place filled with savage brutality.

New episodes are broadcast at midnight Thursdays on Adult Swim and then will be available the following day on the streaming service of HBO Max.

What has helped “Primal” stand out is that there is almost no dialogue as the production team has opted for music and graphic images to tell the stories. And, the music is very distinct by design because it plays such an important part of getting across the story and emotional points.

Tyler Bates, the “Primal” composer, describes the musical style for the series and being an “exercise in minimalist concepts.” Those concepts are continuously evolving.

He adds, “The language of the music for ‘Primal’ is derived from a very organic process.  Genndy may beatbox a little bit of the music, but there is very rarely an existing piece of music historically that’s ever been referenced.  So it is really about our understanding of the emotional dynamics of the characters.”

Before “Primal,” Tartakovsky’s work in animation was far more traditional. His credits include “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars.” Although programs such as “Dexter’s Laboratory” featured plenty of dialogue, Tartakovsy points out all of his projects included  sequences with no dialogue.

Although Tartakovsy was born in Russia and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 7, he doesn’t believe the embrace of little or no dialogue has to do with English being a second language.

The unique style of minimal dialogue became clear as the first season was being put together. Tartakovsy and his team quickly realized they could do a far more sophisticated and complicated production without dialogue. It was a scary approach at the start but one that the team finally embraced.

“Primal” has earned its following through being completely non-traditional. The trick was to find the right line between being experimental while being mainstream enough to attract an audience. What they discovered is that because the story was being told visually, it requires the viewer to concentrate more on the program

The big difference with “Primal” is that it banks heavily on deep, dark emotions. The way the team puts “Primal” together it is at the extreme opposite end of the animation scale from a show like “The Flintstones.” Dealing with grief is a major part of Spear’s life.

Tartakovsky says, “I think because the initial stories were about survival, and I think we continue about that, and it gets more and more sophisticated, I think it’s one of these primal emotions, raw emotions that we deal with. With animation we can be stylistic about it, and I don’t even want to say it is animation. I want to say it is kind of cinema.

“We’re doing things in a cinematic way to tell these stories, the music and the art enhances it, and it becomes a caricature of it. How do you deal with grief in this? You can’t speak. You don’t have the words to communicate your suffering, and so how do we do it, and I think it creates a language of its own. That’s fascinating to do.”