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Oct 23, 2006

Captain Harlot

Tw1 Despite my barely disguised moral outrage earlier, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the first episode of Torchwood, even if it was ludicrously silly.

The star of the show has got to be the set. The Torchwood Hub looks (insert obligatory swear word here) marvellous - like a ramshackle CTU that hasn't had the cleaners in for decades, you could almost smell the damp. The paving slab was a great conceit but I wish Gwen hadn't drawn my attention to the obvious flaw/floor because every time we'll be down there I'll be expecting a pakouring idiot to come hurtling down the shaft. The pterodactyl was a nice touch too - I can't wait for the episode where it poops on Jack's head as he delivers one of his heroic speeches...

Oh look, two men snogging each other's faces off - the RTD hallmark of quality...

The supporting star of the show has to be Cardiff. I used to visit Cardiff quite a lot during the early 90s and it never looked as sexy as that. The helicopter shots made the place look (insert another pointless swear word here) gorgeous, even if I kept expecting a voice-over to intone "Next week on The Apprentice...". The Welsh tourist board really ought to be paying half the production costs, you know...

Secondary to all this rain-drenched gloss are the characters themselves:

Gwen was fairly likable and she fulfils the role of the surrogate audience member quite well. She can't run for toffee, though. And I'm waiting for the episode which reveals that the gap in her teeth is actually a portal to another dimension...

Captain Jack Harkness seemed slightly different to the character we already know and love; sure, he's still sauve, cocky and charming beyond belief, but there's also a hint of sadness there, too. Amazingly, John Barrowman appears to have toned his performance down a bit, and he's even more likable as a result. And he gets all the best lines. As usual.

Tw2 Then there's Burn Gorman as Owen Harper. God, he's ugly, isn't he? No wonder he needed alien pheromones so he could get his end away (date rape? you decide). Oh look, two men snogging each other's faces off - the RTD hallmark of quality and not in any way gratutitous. Oh no.

Sato and Jones get pretty short shrift here, but that's hardly surprising when great chunks of the running time are spent with Jack standing on top of tall buildings with his coat tails flapping. I guess we'll learn more about them in the weeks to come.

Having said all that, I really enjoyed the sense of prickly camaraderie that existed within the team, and while it's got some way to go before it beats Firefly in the ensemble stakes, I was glad to see that they are a pretty selfish and deceitful bunch; the montage where we see they've been smuggling alien tech out of the hub was priceless.

Why bother telling her anything at all if he's going to wipe her memory? He may as well have told her they were a bunch of shape-shifting elephants from the future!

I also enjoyed the little Doctor Who references that were sprinkled liberally around the place - Jubilee Pizza, the Doctor's hand in a tank, the chameleon circuit leaving its mark in Cardiff, silly overblown music by Murray Gold - but my favourite nod sideways has to be the fact that Gwen's boyfriend looks a little bit like Paul Cornell. If you squint really, really hard.

Tw3 The Weevils (who makes this stuff up?) were brilliantly creepy and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of these vampires, sorry, aliens down the line. I have to say that I felt quite sorry for the little blighter in the cell, but then again I'm a sucker for any dog that can cock its head sideways.

The plot was... well, there wasn't one, was there? What really made me laugh is the fact that Jack spoon feeds Gwen all the gen on Torchwood (in a public bar no less!) for NO REASON WHATSOEVER! Why bother telling her anything at all if he's going to wipe her memory? He may as well have told her they were a bunch of shape-shifting elephants from the future. And he seemed awfully sure that she wouldn't jot down all the information on a notepad which makes this ultra-secret organisation about as secretive as, well, UNIT. I mean, everyone seems to know who they are, from pizza delivery guys to forensic cops. They've probably got an account with the local taxi firm.

And Torchwood 4 has gone missing, eh? Perhaps it's off having lunch with Babylon 4...

Tw5 And Suzie was the baddie, eh? What a twist! She lasted, oh about 0.2 seconds, didn't she? However, it was a bit of a wasted opportunity, if you ask me. We hardly knew her so when she turned bad - thanks to the silliest motive ever - and then shot herself in the face (POST-WATERSHED ALERT!) I hardly raised an eyebrow. And why bother to stab the victim with an elaborate knife that could be traced back to her in the first place? Why not just use a kitchen knife instead? The dozy mare.

And then we get an even bigger twist - Jack can't die. Oh, purlease! Why not just call him Angelus and be done with it? When I heard that Jack was lacking something that made him human I thought he couldn't sleep, or something original like that; this is such an obvious "curse" as to be laughable. And just watch that tension evaporate! Now we know that every time Jack is threatened he's in NO DANGER WHATSOEVER! Grrrrrreat!

Tw4Captain Harkness is Indestructible. You Are Not. Do Not Try to Imitate Him.

Bum Bum Bum Bum-Bum-Bum Bum!

Oh sorry, that's the next episode, isn't it?

The Tachyon TV Book of Made-Up Fucking Facts about Torch-fuckin-Wood has this to say about Everything Fucking Changes: a scene showing Ianto Jones smuggling a Sontaran Automatic Anal Intruder Machine out of the hub was cut for time but it will appear on the XXX DVD release in November.
 

Comments

I didn't see it. I haven't actually been all that hyped to see Torchwood, from the various articles and trailers, so I thought I'd wait to see what the reviews were like first. It's interesting to see such a mixture here, pretty polarizing.

But I do have to say, this "Jack can't die" Captain Scarlet stuff does really put me off trying it. It's a tough one to write around and establishing it in the very first episode is either very brave or very foolish...even the Doctor loses a 'personality' when he's forced to regenerate. And at least Angel might get a stake in the heart, Jack could survive that no problem. You run the risk of blowing any dramatic tension out of the water.

Do we have any evidence yet that Jack can't die, or does he only think so from being brought back by Rose (which again he doesn't know about)?

We'll he was shot in the head! Seems pretty conclusive to me!

Ha!

Ratings are fantastic, though. 2.4 mil, the highest non-sport rating for a digital programme.

Speaking of ratings, I've noticed that Robin Hood has been dropping down...

Well *I* didn't know. I've got to wait for it on BBC2 on Wednesday.

*grumbles*

It's on BBC2 on Wednesday?

I am so out of the loop...

2.4 mil? For BBC Three (or any multichannel) that's bloody amazing -- anyone know what the share was? Checks Outpost Gallifrey ... 12.6% share, rising to 13.5% for Day One.

As someone one there wondered, will it effect the ratings of the BBC Two showing?

I guess it shows that all the hype has certainly worked. The hope will be that the "non digitals" will be equally enthusiastic for it.

We don't know how often Jack can survive traumatic injury though. Neither does he.

Meantime, it's slash heaven for the Doctor/Jack fans!

If there is a limit; I'd imagine that it'd be twelve times.

Now we've got to see Captain Jack regenerate into Trevor McDonald. What an episode that'll be!

Love the post. While most everyone is just praising the first two episodes here you are questioning it.

I can't honestly say I have a problem with any perceived 'hi-jacking' of Doctor Who's child-appeal credentials in order to peddle smut and innuendo to the masses.

For one thing, this IS a post-watershed slot; and should be treated this way by parents responsible for their children's viewing. And no amount of trailers, Radio Times covers or cross-referencing from other shows should ever take away from this basic fact.

And secondly - and I'm actually going to go as far as defend RTD on this basis - no-one has ever suggested that this show is going to to be anything other than an ADULT show with ADULT issues and ADULT imagery. Besides, are we really thinking that kids today haven't already seen much, MUCH worse on the likes of DVD or the Internet anyway?

Well, that's alright then. Bring on the felching - I'm sure the 8 year olds will lap that up, too. Actually, that's probably not the best choice of words...

I take your point. Perhaps the whole marketing machine should have been more carefully handled by the production team (assuming of course that they have divine control over such things) but I still stand by the fact that this is an adult show and should be treated as such. It really annoys me when the moral majority blame television rather than lax parental control for what should and shouldn't be shown at certain hours.

If we go down the path of having nothing but sanitised, demographic-influenced TV to watch then we may as well all give up now.

I don't have kids, but I certainly wouldn't want them watching 'Torchwood' if I did. And if they did no amount of publicity would be to blame.

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