Torchwood

Reinstated from Scary Rob’s Doctor Who Blog

I like the BBC’s style, putting on the first two episodes in one go. First episodes of any series are always a bit pants, barring one or two exceptions, and this way the viewer gets to see Torchwood in something resembling its full glory. And I like this series; it feels good. The opening episode felt a bit jittery but it worked well as a story and didn’t feel too contrived as an introduction. Kudos to the BBC and the production office for being very subtle in keeping Suzie’s death a secret – not everyone would be sensible enough to include a one-episode character in all the initial publicity. I really wasn’t expecting that suicide.

I have to admit that these two episodes have been a very pleasant surprise throughout. I was kind of expecting something a little bit darker. Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner claim never to have made a post-watershed show before and they seem to have mistaken an excess of sex and gore for a dark tone. Although realistic, it would have been more shocking to have had the blood from that porter’s neck come as a trickle rather than a spurt. As Kenny Everett once pointed out, ‘a bucket of blood is funny; a trickle isn’t’. I actually laughed at that scene, almost as much as I laughed at Nightmare on Elm Street… Saying that, maybe I’m just twisted.

Seeing the second episode, I feel that Torchwood has got into its swing very well. The tone, though not as dark as we’ve been lead to believe, is very coherent in itself. And the scripts have dealt very well with a hugely thorny issue – that of Doctor Who references. There’s an extent to which they were unavoidable, what with Captain Jack being a creature of that series, and they managed to be mostly unobtrusive to the non-whovian viewer yet added a great deal of depth to the events for someone who has watched the last couple of series of Doctor Who. I’m also quite pleased that there’s a British sci-fi show that is unreservedly Welsh. Okay, so maybe the accents are laid on a bit thick but, given that among shows exported from the UK there’s a tendency to London-centricity with occasionally forays into Scotland, it’s about time that a show was unashamedly set in that funny bit of rock stuck on the side of England without Welshness being the main theme of the show.

I’ll leave you all with a gripe. I generally dislike religious agendas and atheism is a religion, giving that no beliefs about God or the afterlife are based on science, even if those beliefs are negative. Thus I feel that that little dig about there being nothing after death served no purpose beyond showing that Mr Davies is every bit the religious bigot that a hardened Evangelical Christian is. I wouldn’t want to watch an overtly Christian sci-fi show either. Definite answers to the big questions take the wonder out of the genre.

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~ by Scary Rob on 26 October, 2006.

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