Friday, 10 July 2009


Torchwood is cheesy as hell in so many ways yet is still a lot of fun, killing off loads of people and damaging others apparently. Still, what's the deal, Dr Who the show kills nobody really (annoyingly actually) but Torchwood is like Friday The 13th of British TV. Anyone who appears is gonna end up dead eventually. And since they all have sex I'm guessing they must deserve it or something.

Of course its dark in a kind of safe way. (Even its gayness is done in a very safe, unsexualised way. Come on, annoy some people please!) Its entertaining but you don't really remember much of it later, unlike Battlestar Galactica, The Wire or Deadwood. The characters still feel like TV safe cliches at the end of the day, not having enough humane and complex elaboration for the situations to stick, something the flawed but more complex show like Terminator eventually developed. For example Torchwood in the past year and a half has killed all but two of its leads and yet nothing as is affecting as the death of a boy in Deadwood, as you saw how it affect an entire community in a complex way over time, like it would in life, or the arrest of a stupid and irritating character in season 2 of The Wire, as it lead to a stunning scene between two character at a children's play park, reminiscing while drunk, which was heart-breaking, as it delivered broken character and the sense of the waste of a generation. Torchwood doesn't fill in these human gaps, doesn't take its time, even in its character moments. Everything is too broad and signalled, even its supposed complexities. It never hit the stunning depths of the mutiny near the end of Galactica's run, where the villain's had a point, conscience, and the deaths were truly a result of the protagonist's inability to treat opponents with the most basic of human rights. Even the Terminator show, which had the same genre and populist constraints, did much better with human moments, the best being the soldier from the future who had to kill his love for a betrayal, something that had tremendous ambiguity and a sense that all had a point of view and and after it all, most of the characters probably wanted to be sick. It had kick as the human moments were built carefully over time and had a real pay-off when the time was right to deliver.

So Torchwood remains in a weird spot. Its better than it should be (its a spin-off of Dr Who after all). It's watchable but without distinction. It has good episodes that are neat but ultimately derivative. Its bad episodes are really bad. At this point I kinda get the feeling that its never going to find its feet to really pull everything together and will wander on for a year or so before disappearing for good.

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