Saturday, July 11, 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Last year, the BBC announced that rather than have Torchwood be 13 episodes over 13 weeks, they would make 5 episodes in the form of a miniseries to be shown over 5 nights AND that they would move to BBC1.

One has to admit that it is pretty astonishing for any program to rise like that. TW gave BBC3 its highest audience and it was in the hundreds of thousands. Then TW eventually made the rise to BBC2 and now, BBC1 where it would no doubt draw a particular branch of audience wondering what the hell the fuss is all about!

Now, the first 2 seasons were, lets face it, a bit of fun! The first was a solid 3 star affair where it was never quite Dr Who, but was never quite rubbish either. However, it has to be said that the second turned it up a notch. There was still the odd shit one but you could forgive that! This is probably all down to John Barrowman. There is something about Jack Harkness that is charming, but also downright troubling.

I was never quite a "diehard" fan as such. I tried to watch every week but if I missed one I never made the effort to see the repeat like I would with Dr Who. But I had this feeling that this new format of TW would be something special. And there was also no way I was going to miss it after the Season 2 finale which was brilliant!

Anyway, I'm rewatching it as I go along.


Watching this second time round, you tend to notice more things. Like the edge of Jack's coat when he drops the kids off in 1965. Also there is a wide shot of the hub when Gwen gets there and switches the lights on. I actually noticed this on Monday but I just assumed that TW were showing off their new "BBC1 budget"; Now, rewatching it, I have the eerie feeling of a foreshadowing taking place because, when you think about it, this was the only episode that had the hub in it! Already this feels like a different show! We no longer have the procedural-formatted show.

There is also a line that Jack says: "You would die like a dog" to Ianto. Of course he was joking. How was he supposed to know...?

I remember Mark Sheppard (who is one of those actors who pops up in everything!) saying on A Battlestar Galactica Convention Panel that he "doesn't see Battlestar as a science-fiction show. But more of a political drama"; And nothing, ABOSLUTELY NOTHING has rivalled BSG in my opinion... until Day 4 of CoE. Most of the juicy stuff in the episode happened in the meetings with politicians and with the current furore of the expenses scandal and putting it next to the selfishness of their families, it seems horrible realistic.

With writers going to other schools of writing such as Ronald D Moore (writes "humanity" stories rather than "space" stories) there is massive potential in this format. I reckon that TW could work with each series from now on being a mini-series! But I just dont think anything can surpass the emotional torment of this one.

I remember John Barrowman saying at the San Diego Comic-Con Torchwood Panel (yes yes I AM a bit of a geek!) that Cpt Jack is the type of person that if he could kill one to save a million then he would do it without question. However, just when it looked there will be the old cliche of a "father and daughter not on good terms" to "suddenly things going alright again", it goes swiftly in the opposite direction. I believe that the death of Steven, which will forever be eating away at Jack, also killed whatever was keeping Jack on Earth; he no longer has a reason to stay! His lover is dead and his only family will no doubt never forgive him!! But the horrible thing about it is that you can see what Jack was doing! Saving the world! Again! But making the worst sacrifice possible!

Yaaaaay! Moments

Every television show has them. And Doctor Who was always the best at it. There were always moments when you just cheered at the TV, high-fived the person you were watching it with (in this case, my sister) or even punching the air because it was just so fucking great!

  • Ianto getting Jack out of the concrete. The whole sequence was amazing. Just as you thing Rhys and Gwen are gonna need saving, the wall goes out and being the wheel is Ianto, with a JCB!!!
  • When Ianto gave Jack THAT coat in Day 3. I know its a little silly that Ianto actually managed to find that coat (although Jack must have had a fair few in his lifetime! He must have a supply come from somewhere!) but its awesome none-the-less.
Although I do have a few "tidbits". First of all, there was almost no mention of the rift, the weevils or even the pterodactyl! I want to know what happened to the Weevil and the Pterodactyl. And I know that rift wasnt much of a talking point in CoE but was the intention really to throw all of TW's established mythology out the window? eh? Oh well, I dont care! This series was just far too good!

Well, thats series 3 of Torchwood over and done with. It seems rather ironic that just as Torchwood has everything going for it ie, BBC1 flagship, higher viewer ratings (1 quarter of the tv audience!) and finally great plotlines, its future is questionable. Although I too can't see how they can make things "normal" again. Thats one thing I like about TW above Dr Who; once something happens, everything changes forever. In Dr Who we will have the odd change but after something as major as this he will act a bit mopey and life on Earth goes back to normal. Not in TW though. TW has changed to rival 24 (been though too many!) and NCIS (which I really can't see going back to normal after last season's shocking last moment).

I was never a huge fan of Torchwood, but the series finally found its feet in this season . They finally abandon the dull monster-of-the-week form ula and try to tell a proper story. And it turns into a massace. The hub - gone. Ianto - gone. Jack - gone. Gwen - sprogging. If this is the end, it's a worthy finale. I read somewhere that S4 was dependent on this season being a success. The ratings would suggest that it has been. But it looks pretty tricky to bring it back now. If they do, Agent Johnson is a must, as is this format of the show. But Capt Jack is set to make a return in Christmas and new year episodes of Doctor Who! So who knows what surprises he'll bring there!!!