South Park Self

B-: Could Do Better, Possibly By Shooting The Hero

So, Torchwood. Owing to the fact that the gods of file transmission are blind, uncaring and cruel I have only seen episodes 4-6, but I don't propose to allow that to stop me from being opinionated. Anyone who wants to argue, please send me the rest of the season first :>. So, herewith my comments.
  • It doesn't actually suck, mostly. Only sometimes. It's generally interesting, gritty (ish) and filmed with a nice awareness of horror tropes. It has a very X-Files feel, but enough differences to be more than the same old same old.
  • Saddened though I am to admit it, the major source of moments of suckage is, tragically, Captain Jack. I loved the character on Doctor Who, but John Barrowman is simply not good enough an actor to carry the darker, more intense, more layered personality they're trying for here. There are too many moments when he "emotes" in a way that makes me want to thump him over the head with a blunt instrument just to hear the hollow, wooden "thonk".
  • Quite apart from not being a very good actor, the man is also beginning, to a quite horrible extent, to make me think of Tom Cruise: smugly good-looking, self-consciously charming and very, very plastic. Also, I am developing an irresistible feeling that he's probably a total bastard in real life. This really doesn't work. The rest of the cast ensemble is of a far higher calibre, causing me to make invidious comparisons between American and British dramatic training, but it's not strong enough to carry the show. Like Doctor Who, the series stands or falls on the appeal of its main character; unlike both Doctors in the recent seasons, poor old Captain Jack simply doesn't have either the personality or the acting chops.
  • He is also not at all, in any way, assisted by the writing. I don't know why the scripts should be noticeably less able than in Doctor Who, given that they're both Russell T. Davies babies; the plots are interesting enough, but someone on that team writes their dialogue by priming a primitive computer with low-grade pulp clichés and randomly capturing the spew. People simply don't talk like that. The bits about "Chosen Ones" in "Small Worlds" were particularly clunky.
  • I also think the writers aren't really quite sure how to deal with all this Grown-Up, Adult, Sexy Stuff. They seem to be conceptualising the series as an edgy, gritty, sexy, adult Doctor Who, but I think they are underestimating the difference in representational modes, if I can use a horribly pretentious phrase. Doctor Who is at least partially kiddies' television: it conceives of its plots and character interactions in a slightly stylised, semi-symbolic form which works very well in context. Torchwood is trying to establish a far more realistic framework, which it's actually doing quite well in the emotional content of the mysteries and some of the interactions between some of the characters, but it keeps falling back on the old tricks of gesture rather than realism. The transitions between angry/sexy/adult stuff and the X-Filesy, Doctor-Whoish stylised detection is very jarring at times. The apparently sexually-charged encounter between Owen and Gwen in "Countrycide" is particularly horrible: it comes out of nowhere, overstates itself horrendously, and despite its deliberate attempt to be shocking is clearly embarrassing to the writers.
  • All that being said, the concept of Torchwood itself is pretty darned cool, and I really like the rest of the cast: Gwen, Owen and Ianto, in particular, are people who interest me and for whom I would cheerfully continue watching, if only in the faint hope that they'll eventually work out that Captain Jack is a dickhead and needs to be fed to his pet pterodactyl in very small chunks.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful judicious
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I have had a request for Torchwood from tngr_spacecadet. What will you tempt you? The first season of Heroes? I also want the corrupted files, to encant arcane enchantments over...
You are welcome to the Torchwood CD, I'd be very happy if you could resurrect the corrupted files; but they're corrupt enough that they won't save, let alone play. I would also love to see Heroes. Definite swappage potential here. Contact me :>.
Oh god you're right, it's the Tom Cruise syndrome. Well spotted.

I have to admit though, I'm not much more impressed by the rest of them. I quite like Gwen, but not that much. Probably the writing's to blame (Mr T only wrote the first ep apparently). It's not just the dialogue, the plots are stooopid. And completely fail to be grown-up. (Ooh, we're an Adult Show! Let's have a sex-crazed alien possession!)


Yes, the whole thing seems to function like a cheap plastic child's toy labelled "ADULT" and containing naked bodies and random gore. I haven't seen the sex-crazed alien possession one, but have read a couple of parodies, and it sounds fairly dire. I rather like Ianto. He's doing quite well given that he's been suckered into a completely silly set of responses by the script.
1) Torchwood is CSI:Cardiffe ... in spaaace. It's not bad but it's not good. Maybe it will find it's feet by series 3 or so.
2) I think Russell T. Davies is running out of ideas.
3) I may get around to pir...downloading Torchwood next week. I'm on leave then.
4) Ianto is shown in one episode to be very wet indeed.
5) John B is apparently a nice guy despite an uncanny resemblance to a gay and plastic Tom Cruise. Well, gayer and even more plastic.
6) But the rest of the Torchwood do need to strap Capt. Jack down and torment him with rabid robots or something until he spills all the beans.
That was the cawing sound of a rogue it's, barrelling hideously along behind those two examples of the legitimate species. *sights with blunderbuss*

I didn't really take to John Barrowman in the Dr. Who Confidential interviews... he came across as a bit pleased with himself. He may, of course, be a thoroughly nice guy, but I really dislike his screen persona.

Should you find the time to download more Torchwood and shunt it CT-wards, you will make me very happy, not to mention mac_1235 and tngr_spacecadet. I also draw your attention, casually and with absolutely no ulterior motive at all, to the Doctor Who Christmas special...
Eep! and I can't even edit it out of its existence. Sorry. It will remain a blot on my grammar.

My attention would be firmly fixed on the Doctor Who Christmas special, but Hogfather this weekend is in the way of a clear view of it. It's starring Neil the Hippie and Baldric. Or rather, Nigel Planner and Tony Robinson.
Yes, the Neil discovery was rather pleasant, I don't think I've seen him in anything since Young Ones. No, wait, he was in Blackadder, but I didn't even know it was him. Sigh. The Baldric presence only crept up on me later. It really can't be a good sign for these actors that I remember their classic characters with great affection and am totally clueless as to the actual actors' names. Sigh.

I hope you intend to post comments on Hogfather, I need to know if it's worth ordering the DVD.
Tony Robinson is moderately famous on the BBC, he was on various history programs and stuff. Nigel Planer hasn't been in much.

I hope you intend to post comments on Hogfather, I need to know if it's worth ordering the DVD.

Someone's obsessed, and I don't think it's me.
I'm not sure how you extrapolate my interest in Hogfather to the point of obsession? It's the first ever live-action Pratchett film. The cast looks really good. I want to see it, but won't get to because it's on British television: therefore DVD. The evidence for my Pratchett-obsession is actually fairly limited in terms of this blog, although the complete collection of the books on my shelves is more of a giveaway. Notwithstanding, surely you'd have a lot more reason to say I'm obsessed with Doctor Who than Pratchett...? Confused.
Aaargh! You took that photo deliberately to taunt me, didn't you? Tchah.

I'm not obsessed with sf and fantasy TV in general. I'm obsessed with sf and fantasy TV very selectively.