TV EYE: Torching the Wood Again… (and Again…)

Okay, I’ve steered clear of posting anything about Torchwood, mainly because I wanted to leave myself something to write about in my next Vector column, but I think it’s safe to say that my masochistic tendencies can now be safely ignored – I’m done with the series, even from the clinical “let’s see exactly how they can mess this week’s episode up” stand-point. The finale was, essentially, a disaster movie intercut with some of the most ludicrous and overplayed melodrama I’ve seen in a long time – it was fast and slick and almost watchable, but the most breathtaking thing about it is how utterly empty the whole thing was. It’s the worst excesses of a Joss Whedon show with all the intelligence, style and storytelling nuances hoovered out. Torchwood is a science fiction show that really wishes it wasn’t, and it’s a show about supposedly smart people that hardly has a single idea in its head other than “Oh look, boykissing!” I’m going into S4 of New Who with a kind of cautious sense of mild optimism that the Tate-monster may not be as dreadful as I fear (I don’t care for her as an actress, but it does at least sound like they’re going in a more promising direction with the character), but Torchwood has offcially sentenced itself to camp cult status, and its place as a “succesful sci-fi show” in the eyes of the public isn’t going to do the genre (or any sci-fi series that actually want to challenge their audiences rather than spoon-feed them recycled garbage) any good at all. Colour me highly unimpressed…

8 thoughts on “TV EYE: Torching the Wood Again… (and Again…)

    • Well, I wanted it to be different, and (before life got very busy and complicated in the last three months), I was hoping to keep up my TV-related posting.
      The next one is going to be Torchwood all the way, but also (hopefully) looking at how its treatment (or non-treatment) of SF fits into popular British TV in general. At least, that’s the plan. It might just turn out to be 2,000 words of “Good god, it still isn’t very good at all…”


      • Sounds good. (And if the one after were to be about Battlestar Galactica and/or Sarah Connor, that would fit nicely with the “war stories” theme I’m planning …)


      • An excellent idea, and one I shall wholeheartedly steal and shamelessly claim as my own. To be honest, I was flirting with the idea of one on The Sarah Connor Chronicles (I knew for certain that I didn’t want to do one on Who yet- and I’ll probably leave S4 for the review of the year next year!)– I haven’t rated it that highly, but at least it is trying to do something genuine science fictional (rather than Torchwood’s empty-headed camp), and Galactica fits nicely with it as they’re both apocalypse stories (and dealing with the relationship between man and machine). Sold!


  1. This whole series of Torchwood was a total sack of shit, pure and simple.
    Some episodes had real promise (“From Out of the Rain” for example) but the way the whole series was written, directed and assembled was just so pedestrian. It felt to me that the production team were really just going through the motions.
    Thank God they killed 2 main cast members off, Owen was a stiff right from the start but at least they finally had the guts to get rid.


    • Hey- don’t be nice for the sake of it or pull your punches. Tell me what you really think! 🙂
      In all seriousness, you’re right- there’s an absence of actual ideas in Torchwood that’s kinda scary. And the finale was so dreary, it actually made me nostalgic for last season’s pig-faced demon rampaging across Cardiff. Hey, if you’re going to be bad, you might as well be memorably bad…
      Disagree with you about Owen – IMHO, he’s a character with plenty of obnoxious aspects (specially in S1), but he’s also the one with the closest thing to a genuine arc throughout the two seasons, and the Owen-centric episodes was one of the few this year that actually worked. Frankly, doing two tragic deaths in succession was a bit much (I spent the last five minutes waiting for a suprising twist to turn up only to find… there wasn’t one!)


      • Okay – point taken about the character of Owen, I guess I shoul dhave said that I was glad they got rid of Burn Gorman – I struggled to see how someone so intrinsically irritating/ugly could have been written to be so irresistible to the opposite (and even same, I guess) sex.
        What made me piss out straight is that in the “Torchwood Decrassified” or whatever it is afterwards, either Burn or Naoko was saying that they didn’t want a sentimental drawn out death sequence that milked it for all it could – when that was exactly what we did bloody get!


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