Monthly Archives: October 2006

Ghost Machine: First Glance

Torchwood had a little more to offer in terms of substance and story-telling last night, offering a tale of ghosts and murder in a more X-Files-stylee. It was a fine performance of torment from Gareth Thomas (best known – to me at least – for his role in Blake’s 7 as Roj Blake) – who most recently appeared alongside the Doctor in the Big Finish production Storm Warning – with Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor. The rest of the cast had there moments, with a focus on Gwen and Owen – but Jack still doesn’t have a stable enough character to make it really work, and Ianto doesn’t really exist just yet. I know he’s due an episode of his own later in the season, but neight he nor Toshiko work just yet. The characters come across as something less than stereotypes… I don’t even think we’ve quite established them enough for even that yet.

The episode leaves a dangling plot thread in the form of an evacuee from the Blitz, which built up the basis of the storyline without actually going anywhere – and it makes me wonder whether this will for some season arc. Who knows. As of now, my opinion of the series still hangs in the balance – as no single episode has really worked for me so far in terms of balance, characterisation and story.

Day One: First Glance

A double bill of Torchwood on BBC Three this evening, and every sign that Russell T might have pitched this series a little too… darkly. Cardiff comes under threat from an alien entity that feeds off the high of sexual climax. Torchwood accidentally release the alien from fallen space debris and the amorphous alien sets out on a murderous rampage of orgasms.

Now, Torchwood was never billed for kids… Russell T made it pretty clear that the series was for adults. Heck, the BBC have chosen a standard timeslot of 10pm on a Sunday night… firmly within the confines of the watershed set up as a fair guide to parents that programming herein could contain material of a violent or explicit nature.

But… Doctor Who spread Torchwood throughout the whole of the last series. Kids will have seen the adverts… they will be raving about it… and parents will no doubt let them stay up without a second thought. I have to say that isn’t clever and inspired parenting… but, I can’t do anything about that. The BBC will get complaints. People will complain that about the sex, the shagging in the toilets. People will make out like the BBC are to blame. Perhaps, just perhaps, Russell T shouldn’t have made such an effort to get people interested in Torchwood. Or at least set this episode later in the series when the tone could have been more formally established.

Does Terry Wogan still do Points of View?

Everything Changes: First Glance

A promising start. An establishing episode without a doubt. Definitely a mix of X-Files, Millennium, CSI and lord knows what else. Captain Jack Harkness makes his return, missing since 1941 apparently, along with a team of scientists, hackers and misfits to fight hidden alien menace in the heart of Cardiff.

I liked it. I thought the premise had promise. Some nice nods to Doctor Who, without being too obvious. The Doctor’s hand makes an appearance, from The Christmas Invasion (where the leader of the Sycorax sliced it clean off), and the TARDIS leaves it’s mark – due to a combination of the Gelf rift in the middle of Cardiff imprinting an element of the Chameleon circuit on a paving stone!

The story establishes a place for Gwen, the ordinary police constable, within Torchwood and shows us that Jack has not gone uneffected by his death in the 51st Century.