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Being the super-lucky UK citizen that I am, I've just seen the first two episodes of Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood. It's bloody good. Some of you may even enjoy it when it gets shown in the US, although God knows when that's going to be.

It has sex-addicted aliens, bringing people back from the dead, pterodactyls, pizza and a stonking twist at the end of the first episode I am highly delighted didn't get given away weeks before. Not knowing what's going to happen is great fun.

The BBC is kicking out some quality stuff lately, while it's nearest rival - ITV - hasn't made a half-decent drama since 1998. Sigh.

Posted on 2006-10-22 17:43:36


Man, it's a shame we don't get to watch british television, what with that there ocean in the way.

If only there was some form of network, perhaps made of tubes, through which quality television could flow to our Cap'n Jack deprived lands.

If these hypothetical tubes were big enough, we could even receive them not at a trickle's pace, but in a veritable torrent!

Oh, why does modern science continue to fail us? :(

Posted on 2006-10-22 23:21:05


Ack! BitTorrent! Thou wouldst not watcheth thy divine Torchwood in the way nature intended: by the veritable means of the mystical Tellybox? Blasphemy! Burn the unbeliever! Fetch me a torch. And some wood!

Posted on 2006-10-23 17:11:54


I feel that larger pipes would conveniently increase the ease with which said oncoming fire could be extinguished.

EDIT: ...I have no clue what we're talking about. Yes.

Posted on 2006-10-24 10:27:47 (last edited on 2006-10-24 10:28:09)


So, you saw it? Was it good? I thought it was good. Actually, I thought it was bloody brilliant: funny, sexy, violent and inventive. Yay for Torchwood.

Posted on 2006-10-24 17:27:07


Wait. Who's seen it?

Posted on 2006-10-24 23:17:02


Me, I'm sure of. McGrue, probably: he may be having me on.

Saw another episode this week: guest appearance from Gareth Thomas, who was Roj Blake in 80's space opera Blake's 7. Which was nice.

Posted on 2006-11-01 17:52:15


Quote:Originally posted by Interference22

Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood. It's bloody good. Some of you may even enjoy it when it gets shown in the US

Some of you may also enjoy tearing out your toenails with pliers. I'm sorry, I don't see the point in Torchwood. It's just a run of the mill dull sci-fi with absolutely nothing to do with Doctor Who. If the writers think that shoehorning one instance of the word "fuck" into every episode makes a programme for "adults" then it was obviously written by twelve year olds. No one needed to say fuck on Life on Mars.

And on a related topic: blimey, that new Doctor Who's still a bit crap ain't it? David Tennant just about makes it watchable. And what's with the bizarrely outdated names the female characters have? Rose? Martha? I reckon the next one'll be Nora, Grace, Ivy or Maureen. You can tell that bloke who writes it is, er... "out of touch" with the ladies... Or so I've heard. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Or so I've heard.

That's what's wrong with the BBC nowadays - like that new Robin Hood thing they did, filmed in an area of Hungary that doesn't look particularly like Nottinghamshire and full of stupid modern haircuts and Keith Allen. Anything with Keith Allen in it positively demands not to be watched (and the less said about his bloody daughter, who I'd quite happily murder to death despite the consequences, the better). And what's with removing the character of Friar Tuck and including a made up (and suspiciously PC) female character called Djaq? It's only one step away from that insultingly awful PC sit"com" they did with Jasper Carrot a couple of years ago* - I'm never going to get that half hour back. And this from the corporation that produced Fawlty Towers and Blackadder. God, if I ever paid my TV licence I'd be really annoyed.

* Whoever suggested that sternly lecturing on multiculturalism, the effects of racism, and Down's Syndrome would make an amusing sitcom was obviously having a laugh - unlike the viewers.

Ok, that's enough ranting about the BBC. It's still better than ITV.

Posted on 2007-04-11 09:54:58


Oh man, I can't watch Torchwood.

I disagree with Dr. Who, though. It's lighthearted campy fun, and sometimes you need that.

Sure, it's a kid's show, but it's a very watchable kid's show.

Posted on 2007-04-11 23:03:02


Quote:Originally posted by mcgrue

I disagree with Dr. Who, though. It's lighthearted campy fun, and sometimes you need that.

Sure, it's a kid's show, but it's a very watchable kid's show.

That's probably why I don't like it so much - it's much more obviously a kid's show than the old ones... That and the actionactionaction format, leaving little room for narrative, especially as they're mostly limited to one 45 min show each. Having said that, I'd probably love it if I wasn't comparing to the old ones.

Posted on 2007-04-12 12:40:16


So don't! It's not like Tom Baker's episodes cease to exist for the new ones, after all. ;)

It's just fun. I like fun!

Posted on 2007-04-13 02:51:24


I can't help it! They called it Doctor Who so I have to compare... If they'd called it the Campy Adventures of Time Travelling Scotsman and Anachronistically Named Companion, I could have taken it for what it is... At least Torchwood doesn't pretend to have a link to something irrelevant to it... oh no, wait...

My God, "that's what's wrong with the BBC nowadays"? That's chillingly close to the kind of thing my dad says...

Posted on 2007-04-13 19:40:52


And leaping valiantly to the defense. Ahem.

While I acknowledge that the 45 minute format does force things to move at a cracking pace I think that the quality of writing in Doctor Who still manages to make that work, particularly Steve Moffatt's work (Empty Child, Girl in the Fireplace) and Russell T' Davies input.

On top of that, I actually think that Doctor Who is getting better: the classic series didn't often make me cry, and yet the new series tends to throw me through the full gamut of human emotion. Call me a great big floundering pansy, but most weeks I find myself either rocking with excitement or have to wipe away a tear. Moments (in no particular order) like:

* The Doctor finding he's too late to take Madame du Pompadour with him
* The ninth Doctor's goodbye
* The Cybermen literally crashing a party
* The Doctor's reunion with Sarah-Jane
* The Doctor saying goodbye to Rose
* The sight of a million Daleks streaming out of the skies

What makes me even more happy is that a TV series I've stuck with for over 17 years has finally returned to our screens in all it's glory and is bringing joy to kids and adult alike everywhere. I can't move for merchandise too! I'm in heaven!

Yes, it's more kid-friendly, but I also find that it's also more adult friendly too: the old series never tackled the big questions the new series so gleefully throws at the Doctor, something that as an intelligent adult I find deeply engrossing. Questions like:

* Is the Doctor really infallible?
* If we could go back and change history, would we just end up screwing it up?
* How do you cope with so much loss?
* How complex does a problem have to be to bring down a whole society?
* Can one man really make a difference?
* What makes a man and what breaks a man?
* What motivates a villain?

It even manages to bring back more of the "Who" into Doctor Who: just when you thought you really knew him inside out, you find yourself saying "Fuck. Who really IS this guy?"

As for silly female names, you do know that's usually the first sign that a character is going to be absolutely cracking. I mean, it's virtually a tradition! Examples include:

* Halo Jones, from The Ballad of Halo Jones comicbook by Alan Moore
* Seventh Doctor companion Ace
* Bastilla Chan, from Knights of the Old Republic
* Half-Life 2's Alyx Vance (who the hell spells "Alex" "Alyx," huh?)
* Dureena Nafeel, from Babylon 5 spin-off series Crusade
* Stiletto Anyway, from Anachronox

So, yes. In my learned opinion: you, sir, are wrong. Your hopes that this TV show will aspire to your nostalgia-swamped, childhood flashback vision of sci-fi nirvana are clouding your ability to enjoy Doctor Who for what it is today: challenging, fun, touching and for all ages.

I also find your criticisms of Torchwood unfounded. If they'd only showed episodes 2, 3 and 4 then they might make sense: those episodes were most definitely the show at it's shakiest. But you learn to understand WHY. It's a new show and a new format and the writers were EXPERIMENTING with that format - seeing what worked, what didn't, checking what was too over the top or not. Trying to meet the brief set down by Russell in a variety of different ways - some that were great (people coming back from the dead, human monsters) and those that weren't (sex gas, psychic powers).

As the series came to a close, the last few episodes delivered pure gold. They explored themes including displacement, loss, the struggle for meaning in a godless Universe and sacrifice. They also brought us a genuinely touching gay love story, the sinister Mr Billis and the bloody enormous Abbaddon The Destroyer (and the temporary destruction of Cardiff. Result!). My personal favourite episodes? Day One, Captain Jack Harkness, They Keep Killing Suzi, Random Shoes and the grand finale (bugger, forgotten the name..).

Final words on Torchwood? Well, you just went into that expecting too much from the outset, didn't you? Not giving it time to settle in. The reviews for it were highly amusing, by the way: most, it appeared, had been written in 5 minutes by someone who didn't actually watch it but instead heard everyone else was going to bash it and thought "ok, sounds good to me." Worse, it seems that the average telly reviewer sees their job these days as not to tell us what's good and bad on TV (and why) any more but instead to simply say everything's crap because it's easier.

Anyone see the end of the excellent Life On Mars? Loved it. Read the review next day in The Sun (good for a laugh): not only did the reviewer damn it with the faintest praise possible but he got the ending WRONG. Was he actually watching? No. Rely on only two opinions: those of your extended circle of trusted friends and sources and (of course) your own. As long as there is breath in my lungs, I can assure you that most TV reviewers' opinions aren't worth a heaving sack of shit.

Posted on 2007-04-14 19:33:59 (last edited on 2007-04-14 19:37:16)


Quote:Originally posted by Alex

My God, "that's what's wrong with the BBC nowadays"? That's chillingly close to the kind of thing my dad says...

One more thing: have you reached that age yet when you realise that most of what your parents have to say is either downright silly, insulting your intelligence or completely wrong in an entirely depression-ridden, out-of-touch, state-of-the-nation kind of way? I know I have. Grandparents come out with it first then it filters down to your parents, by which time you're sure it's some sort of hereditary madness. "We've got a digibox but we don't use it. We don't see the point." YOU WHAT?! GRANDAD, ARE YOU INSANE?!

Posted on 2007-04-14 19:45:10


Quote:Originally posted by Interference22

a genuinely touching gay love story, the sinister Mr Billis and the bloody enormous Abbaddon The Destroyer

Ouch! That must have been uncomfortable for Mr Billis...

Quote:Originally posted by Interference22

The sight of a million Daleks streaming out of the skies

A perfect example of the new Dr Who's style over content - millions of daleks flying about, ten minutes later
they're defeated. What was the point of that?

Scriptwriter: "Excuse me Mr Russell T. Davies, I think this script may have a few too many words and
not enough CG sequences, what do you suggest?"
Russell T. Davies: "Oh, better bring in some daleks at the end - they're popular. Maybe about a million
of them? So it's like they're totally unstoppable? That'll be exciting."
Scriptwriter: "But the story has nothing to do with daleks."
Russell T. Davies: "That doesn't matter, this is NEW Doctor Who. We'll just sweep them under the carpet
ten minutes later. Say... send them to another dimension or something."
Scriptwriter: "Ah, the old 'other dimension' way out. Hey, what do you say we use that again a few more
times in the next series? I've got a couple of other script ideas I can't think of a way to finish."
Russell T. Davies: "Sounds good to me. And if anyone complains about it, or our forthcoming shoddy
spin-off Torchwood, we'll just send our sinister agent INTERFERENCE22 to eliminate them."

So you see, I am right. They admit it themselves and - ARRRRGH!

[Dies in mysterious circumstances]

Posted on 2007-04-15 13:10:04


Gentlemen, please. Keep it civil here.

[PS: Tennant rocks]

Posted on 2007-04-16 13:15:05


They're both british, ergo experts at being completely civil and completely venemous simultaneously! :D

Posted on 2007-04-16 16:23:19


Quote:Originally posted by mcgrue

They're both british, ergo experts at being completely civil and completely venemous simultaneously! :D

Indeed. Alex, your post made me simultaneously laugh in a mildly embarrassing way (quoting me to maximum comic effect) and begin typing another one of those defend-new-Who posts. Oh, you're looking at it now.

I'd like to rebut the idea that the new series is all style and no substance. I'd like to suggest that it is, in fact, possessing of both style AND substance. The point is, the lower budget of the original series meant that it's style was a very stunted affair, with props mainly existing on an entirely functional level. I mean, Christ, there's a whole camera in shot on one episode of William Hartnell serial The Chase - cash was so tight they kept it in! In this environment, I believe that the substance was simply more obvious against such a stylistic backdrop.

Flash forward to now, and both style and substance take equal stage space. The spangly new special effects are art in themselves but they merely bolster an already powerful storyline, in the same way music helps to heighten a mood: the words alone don't move us as much as the coming together of the various parts of an episode. Yes, we have the Daleks streaming out of the sky and the Globe Theatre consumed in a whirlwind of witches but we also twin this sort of stuff with the Doctor's heartfelt reminiscing over his lost home planet like it was still there, Martha's feelings of rejection, how far people will go to bring their loved ones back to life, how even the hopeless can be shown hope, the way people bond in dire situations, and the look of fear and realisation in the eyes of a man who's spent the last few years believing he's the last of the Timelords when he hears the words "you are not alone."

Television gold, I tell you.

Posted on 2007-04-19 18:12:50


Quote:Originally posted by Interference22

I'd like to suggest that it is, in fact, possessing of both style AND substance

I have to admit that this series seems better in that regard than the last, so maybe it's heading in the right direction. I'm actually looking forward to the two-part dalek story set in 1930's New York starting tomorrow, but will probably have my hopes dashed once more against the rocks of daleks being under-used and too much unrelated nonsense. In fact, I've just seen the trailer and those people running around in pig masks are annoyingly close to confirming this already.

Still, New Doctor Who's got ten times more style and substance than that wretched TV movie with Paul McGann they made a while back. I reckon Richard E Grant would have made a better Doctor if they really HAD to choose either Withnail or I... But I suppose it wasn't McGann's fault the film was terrible, he was probably the best thing about it other than Sylvester McCoy of course. But I still don't see why he should be counted as an "official" Doctor just for playing the role on one dreadful occasion. What about Peter Cushing? He played an urbane and agreeable Doctor in at least two decent films, but apparently doesn't count.

I suppose you're going to defend this reprehensible movie as well? :P

Posted on 2007-04-20 18:17:48


Joy! Not often do I have a field day! Ok, here goes..

I'll approach all your criticisms in the order they were written: keeps things in some sort of order.

Right, firstly familiarity really does breed contempt. Why else would the strongest hatred of all be reserved for family members? In the case of the Daleks, too much screen time reduces their effect and runs the risk of people going "Oh no, not THEM again.." Enough screen time to make them menacing? Fine. Enough screen time to obscure everyone else's valiant attempts to act? Bad idea. I mean, look at the Shadows in Babylon 5: the less we saw of them the more their reputation spoke for them instead and so we felt more intimidated by them. To be able to walk up and kick them any time we liked took away their air of terrifying superiority.

Second, no I won't defend the TV movie: Philip Segall completely misjudged what Doctor Who is really about and the general consensus was that it didn't work on some fairly fundamental levels. I *will* defend Paul McGann, though, although you don't really attack him: given the right script and the right direction he's bloody good as the Doctor. Have you listened to any of his Dr Who Big Finish audio dramas? They played a series of them on BBC7 (there are more, starting with "Storm Warning") and they were top notch. Notably, have a listen to "Blood of the Daleks" and "Phobos" if you haven't had the chance (you can order 'em on CD. Google 'em). Yes, Doctor Who isn't just a TV show: he's books, audio dramas, wallpaper, lunchboxes and a curious expanding flannel to name but a few.

Thirdly, Richard E. Grant HAS been the Doctor. Twice. Once during a Comic Relief special and once in a Flash-animated web-based story entitled "Scream of the Shalka". He was fairly crap in both. The first suffered from not being at all funny and the second gave you the impression that Richard really didn't have his heart set upon the role and just took the money and ran.

Peter Cushing doesn't count as a proper Doctor because his stories fall outside the Doctor Who cannon: the Doctor is a Timelord from Gallifrey who stole a mark 40 TARDIS to travel the Universe. Cushing's Doctor - the only one to call himself "Doctor Who," fact fans - is a human living on Earth and who built the TARDIS himself. Urban and agreeable he may have been, but manners do not maketh the man. Or the Timelord for that matter.

Posted on 2007-04-20 20:04:02

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