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)?

Author: 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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