Torchwood

Copyright (c) FreeFoto.comWhat is it with Torchwood? Mad as a bag of sonic screwdrivers, this oddly regional series (that region being Wales) returned to BBC 2 in all its genre-bending, inconsistent and occasionally wonderful glory tonight at 9 PM. I’m not entirely sure how to judge Torchwood.

This is what goes through Hocking’s head during a typical episode:

First minutes, the teaser: Observing that this kind of thing, a punchy intro, works much better on Lost.

Ten minutes in: Have laughed at several of the one liners, but struggling to see any real sincerity through the postmodern fog.

Twenty minutes in: Have winced at crap special effects that hark back – and not in a good way – to the original run of Doctor Who. (I’m sorry, Weng-Chiang, but those giant rats guarding your lair are so obviously normal-sized rats in EXTREME CLOSE UP. Get OVER yourself.)

Thirty minutes in: Have felt my liberal heart warmed by some en passant gay references that don’t – perhaps because of my knowledge of the producer – feel gimmicky.

Forty minutes in: Bite down on my need to voice the words ‘Gwen‘ ‘teeth’ ‘gap’ and ‘get a bus through’.

At a point between then and end: Have nodded in appreciation at the one special effects element that finally worked, and wonder if Torchwood actually might be, on some level, quite good.

The end: Raise an eyebrow at a couple of twists in the story that demonstrate the scriptwriter, though not 100% capable of writing science fiction, knows his or her drama.

Overall, questions remain. Why doesn’t it have a proper theme tune? How long before John Barrowman introduces his fine fore-fendered friend to Gwen in a show-stopping genre-exploding music number that involves a troupe of dancing Nargs (or whatever those dumbs aliens in the cells are called)?

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

2 thoughts on “Torchwood”

  1. Oh God, it’s awful, isn’t it.

    Such an interesting concept RUINED by lazy, stupid writing. The characters act in a totally random, out-of-character way. There’s not logic to what they do. The entire ‘Torchwood’ team is incompetent, unlikeable, inept.

    And you’re right. My liberal pretensions were tickled by the progressive sexuality of the characters… except it’s not ‘progressive,’ it’s just Russell T. Davies shoehorning in same-sex snogging for the sake of it.

    A gigantic, steaming pile of…

    Talons of Weng Chiang was one of my favourite Dr Who stories. With the strange pig monster and the lines the Doctor had: ‘I never trust a man with dirty fingernails’ and explaining to his new friends that he found Leela ‘floating down the Amazon in a hatbox.’

  2. Hi Roland – Hope you’re keeping well.

    Robert Holmes was a great Dr Who writer. Some great lines…

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