Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Juliet316, Sep 25, 2007.
Bumping for discussion
So what did everyone think of Children of Earth? I thought it was good, not spectacular or anything. I didn't really feel the Torchwood universe was the place for political intrigue. Like half the time was spent on politicians bickering in a boardroom.
Yes there was a lot of 'politicians bickering in a boardroom, but it was the subject matter that kept it intriguing... for me at least.
I loved it all, except for the last 10-15 minutes of the 5th episode. Everybody acted well, especially Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher.
It was a solid miniseries, I thought. The ending is a bit out of place but is probably meant to be a fall back in case they don't do a 4th season so that they can explain how Jack eventually left Earth.
Some good sequences though- they got creative in their attempts to kill/contain Jack, etc.
With all the references to the Doctor I have expected Tennant to show up and save them all.
Making my way through Series 2. Martha Jones just showed up, which is super-fun on a number of levels.
-She's now officially A doctor, if not THE doctor.
-Everybody call her DOCTOR JONES, doll!
-She's a babe, and it's always great to see her.
Just watched Children of Earth, and found it very disappointing. Glad that RTD is retiring, as he's obviously burnt out.
CoE reminded me of someone trying to play a piano with a sledgehammer. It was the Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay idea of big explosions and emotional music trumping story and logic.
And the ending... Wow. Talk about out of place.
Nothing in the CoE felt like it even belonged in the same universe as the Torchwood series or Doctor Who.
About the only fun part of the show for me was when I recognized the Prime Minister from his role in "To Play the King".
CoE was mostly like the boring half (the political blahblahblah) of any recent season of 24. But with Torchwood people.
The ending, for me, severed Torchwood from the Whoniverse. They just don't fit together anymore.
Torchwood to return next year on BBC and Starz
...The Starz Network ("Spartacus: Blood and Sand") and BBC Worldwide will produce and premiere the ten-episode new season of the "Doctor Who" spin-off which will be rejigged to include locations in the US and around the world according to a press release from both parties.
John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with some new faces. Show creator and executive producer Russell T. Davies will return as showrunner, as will his regular cohort Julie Gardner.
Quotes within the press release indicate this ten-episode fourth season will definitely be utilising a season-long story thread of some sort. Whether there will be stand-alone stories added into the mix remains unclear.
Damn, I don't think I get Starz, so I'll probably be skipping this.
How about NetFlix? Might be able to instant download.
Not too happy with this news myself. RTD is obviously burt out (see Torchwood:CoE, Doctor Who series 4 and the 5 specials for proof) and should rest/do something else for another year or so. His Season-long arcs have been stretching credulity a bit. If he isn't going to take a break, a season of short 1-3 episode stories would be better than a 10-episode saga.
I disagree- Torchwood improved the more it focused on longer storylines. Season 2's arc approach was superior to the more stand-alone take for Season 1, and COE's miniseries approach exceeded Season 2's accomplishments and was generally awesome and creepy. COE hit that "epic X-Files" angle they seemed to always be aiming for for but always coming up short previously.
Now, maybe I wouldn't want to see a story stretched out too far- COE didn't need any extra episodes, for example. So maybe 2 5-episode arcs, with connecting threads, would work best.
Ah, well, see... I HATED the x-files, and that 'epic' angle didn't work for me at all. The story didn't feel like it belonged in the same universe as Torchwood or Doctor Who. The story was all emotion, and no logic. But I've rambled on that a bit previously. I don't mind season-long arcs. I don't mind 4-season-long arcs. But RTD has stretched a bit too far. THe arcs seem to be forced in more and more, when they are less and less necessary. How many season-long arcs were there in classic Who? 2. Key to time, which was 6 otherwise unrelated stories linked together with a single plot element. Experimental idea. and Trial of a Timelord, which fell apart because the 4 stories were written by different people, and needed a lot more smoothing out.
More Torchwood is good news in my books. I just fear that in the end even the current few survivors beyond Jack will be dead.
So, I decided to take another look at Torchwood.
Still mostly a good show, but there are several flaws.
The swearing and sex--this is more of what a 10-year old might think is 'adult content.' OK, for same-sex scenes, a 15-yo. Believe it or not kids, being an adult is not all about sex.
The SUV. OK, I know that people like the things, and for a while, they were ubiquitous enough that it was the perfect cammoflage. But engraving "Torchwood" into the panelling in 3 or 4 different places? The idea is to BLEND. The Tardis is less conspicuous. And the blue light bars beside the windshield... Wouldn't that hamper vision? You know, the glare and all?
Everything Changes--Sets up the series. Mentions Jack's immortality, but only Gwen knows about it. Would you want to work for an organization that tried to wipe your memmory of them? Kinda like the Men-In-Black thing? Hmmm. Ressurrection Gauntlet is... ...a pretty cheezy prop. Looks like they just borrowed it from a medeval pagent play. Shows what happened to the Doctor's hand. Pterydactle is a pretty silly gimic. And everyone was using alien tech for outside use. Well, Torchwood's Mandate is that "if it's Alien, it's Ours" and that the equipment is for Torchwood Personnel only. That must have been one of the changes Capn Jack made.
Day One--OK, sex parasite. meh.
Ghost Machine--Good story. Is it just me, or does the 'machine' look kinda like a PS2 controller?
Cyberwoman--basically a good story, except the premise makes no sense. During the battle of Canary Warf, The Cybermen were in such a hurry for troops that they made incomplete upgrades. Um, OK. When? Really. When? There was no sign of anything like that in the episode. And what makes more sense: an incomplete upgrade with cybernetic limbs and incomplete programming, or a chrome bikini custom fitted to the individual? We've seen incomplete Cybers in the original series--6th Doctor episode. In that case, the bodies weren't able to take the upgrading. This version was an interrupted, incomplete upgrade. Nice of the Cyber aesthetics to leaving the belly and mid-rift nicely exposed for ogling fanboys. Um, what about biological necessities? With that chrome diaper, awfully unsanitary. And Ianto kept her fed? Ok, the cybernetic machinery took care of everything so she didn't need to eat? Um, then if it's going to replace all the internal organs, why not the whole body? See, none of this makes sense. Why does the Pterydactle doesn't eat her, and she isn't able to kill it. Ianto is forgiven for endangering the base and gross insubordination withiout any appearent disciplne. Wasn't this supposed to be the series that had consequences?
Faeries--Um, any one who actually did any research into them would have quickly discovered that Faeries aren't all victorian nonsense of nice and sweet. they are nasty and savage. So basically, the old woman is an idiot.
Countrycide--Ah, Cannibals in the dales. Um, why do people keep hesitating to shoot to kill? Really. Once someone is pointing a gun at your partner/associate/ally, that's it. You shoot to kill. Period. Oh, but then Capt. Jack couldn't burst in to save the day... Gqwen couldn't reason that the local constable would be in on the deal? Really? Murders going on left, right, and center, and the constable didn't know?
Greeks baring Gifts--Our First Toshiko story. And she doesn't really come out of it well. Interesting that Jack has some telepathic defence, but doesn't actually do anything at first. What, wait and see how she is going to mis-use the alien tech? Meanwhile she continues to invade everyone's minds? And let's see...
"Let me take you to Torchwood." "NO"
"What should I do?" "Take me to Torchwood."
Um, Isn't that what she tried to do, and you refused? Some awfully shakey logic here. And in the end, Jack is all forgiveness, and there are no consequences from all the people who had their privacy grotesquely invaded. Great. Yeah, about that "actions have consequences in this show." I'm not seeing it.
They Keep Killing Suzie--So, only the murderous member of Torchwood has an exit plan. Torchwood is supposed to have a high mortality rate for its agents and employees. This one was marginally clever about figuring a way out of the trap. Mind you, she spent 3 years working on it. Must not have been very happy with her job.
"You're being shot through the head, slowly. Sorry."
I don't see that making sense.
Oh well. So, Gwen is supposed to be the 'human' grounding the organization to the real world. How's that working out? Not terriblly well. Ianto shows that he is at least bi- if not Omni-interested.
Random Shoes--They make one of these episodes every year or so of Doctor Who. Basically, it's a TV show lecturing people that their lives are wonderful and fantastic, and they shouldn't be wasting them watching silly shows on the telly. For the most part, this was OK, until the last 2 minutes, when the dead guy resolidifies, saves Gwen, and 'ascends.' Oh wait, there's the attrocious "Danny Boy" singing. Not only to they sing that horrible song, but they sing it badly. And with the wrong words!
Out of Time--Nice concept. Mostly works well. Gwen's attempt as a sex talk with a teenager is... pretty painful, but sadly realistic. The salesman who can't cope with the changes? A little harder. Prices have changed. Some of the goods are new. But the basic principle is the same. He gives up after a couple of days? That's just an excuse for the fact he's lonely and everyone he knows is dead and gone. Owen falls in love, and is scared. Really? He's that insecure and immature? And what's the first thing he tells a woman about the wonders of the future? Is it technology, computers, landing on the moon? the space shuttle, stealth planes? Something she might be interested in? No. He decides that artificial insemination is the ice breaker. Yeah, really romantic there. Of couurse, they were doing early days of that within a year or two of The War, with farm animals, so was that really a big shocker?
"I'll have to get a husband" yep, in that age, that was about the only option for a girl who didn't want to be a secretary, nurse, or school marm.
Combat--It's FightClub with an alien. Really. That's all. Entire story. Guess they couldn't get permission to use the name. Interesting that Owen can tap into the Weavil's phychic connection. Don't think that ever comes up again. Nice that he doesn't have any scarring from these injuries. I guess if you survive a weavil attack, the scars heal over within a weak?
Saptian Jack Harkness--Interesting story, with the lead in to the series finale. Ianto shoots Owen. And that's it. really. Own is that forgiving too? No consequences or recriminations. So, Owen is second in command. Well, not someone I would follow. First thing he does is work to violate the #1 stansding order of his boss. Um, this consequences thing. When does that kick in? Because genereally, when someone delibereately shoots another person, they don't get together afterards for drinks. In fact, putting them together in the same room at all is generally a mistake. keeping them together as co-workers? Really?
End of Days--OK, now we have silliness. So some weird guy with the power to travel through time associated with the Rift for some reason worships the Destroyer god who is trapped there. "I don't want to hear any of that superstitious nonsense". Yep. So now the rift goes back to the roman empire. Um. OK. Owen has fully recovered from being shot in the back by Ianto. Owen becomes gratesquely insubordinate and tries to stage a coup within the organization. that Retcon drug has suddenly become powerful stuff. Used to be it only erased a couple hours of memmory, but now it seems it can be used to erase years? Owen is worried that Jack is going to dose him with that and dump him. Doesn't someone not knowing what happened to him for 2-3 years show up as odd? And would Jack really do that? After all, that's why he left the time agency--they took away 5 years of his memmory. Getting back to Owen. When he doesn't get his way, and
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
So, Jack has been gone, and the rest work on. Gwen is in charge... How did that happen? No one else wanted the job and she got stuck with it? Maybe Jack filled out the paper work to strip Owen of his seniority and thought that was punishment enough? Or did Ianto threaten to shoot him if he tried to take over? Toshiko and Ianto have no leadership of their own, so that left Gwen? Whatever the case, she is no longer in the "You shouldn't have that" lines and much more the Torchwood world. And engaged to Reese--that little scene was probablly the best for me.
"Oh, this? Well, that's an 'engagement ring', that is."
Uh, how long has Jack been gone? The Year that never Happened because the Paradox Generator was destroyed means he should have returned within a month or two of when he left, tops. Did things really get that bad that quickly?
I have real problems with the actions of some of the characters. Capt John shoots Owen in the hip (Owen shot again? There should be a drinking game. Oh, probablly is one), paralyses Gwen and almost kills her with the poison, and pushes Jack off the ledge of the building. And he's just allowed to leave. Just like that. Seriously? All these people are THAT forgiving? Hell no! Owen or Gwen should have stopped him. Gwen may be touchy-feely, but Owen isn't. Again, John didn't know Jack was Immortal. Just because they were colleagues and had a relationship, Jack forgives him for breaking his back? Really?
I guess the whole thing of consequences might as well be thrown out the window. Even the Sarah Jane Adventures do a better job with that. The show goes from working in some kind of reality to just a series of jokes and gag references. Maybe if Combat had been a series 2 episode, they could have said "FightClub".
Sleeper--Nice episode. What part of "The Phone System is Down" did Owen have such a hard time accepting? Interesting: last episode they let an unrepentant, conscience-free nut job go. This one, they killed someone who was essentially an innocent pawn. OK, she was trying to get them to kill her--kinda like suicide by cop--but seems a little strange. "When are the rest arriving?" "They're already here." Really? Um, it never comes up again. Maybe he was lying while lieing?
To The Last Man--Yeah, those WWI generals were flipping brilliant at giving orders from the rear. "The day after I went to sleep, they said the war to end all wars was over, and we won. Two weeks later it started all over again." Yep. Gotta love history. Even the parts they actually teach in public school are enough to be head-scratchers. So, what happens to the RiftKey? Where did it come from? Did it already exist? Did Torchwood build it baed on the one he brings back? Does Torchwood collect it from him in a day or so? Where did it come from? If 2 historical items shouldn't touch, the Key existed in the same time twice. If TW built the key, based on the key the soldier had, isn't that almost a paradox? ororborus?
Meat--So Rorry finally is let in on the doings. If they'd just told him from the beginning, maybe Gwen wouldn't have had that silly affair with Owen. Then again, how thick is Rorry? Everyone else seems to know what Torchwood is and does. Toshiko trying to pick up Owen is--rather pathetic. Then again, her last relationship was with a lesbian alien who messed with her mind, unless you count Tommy the Icicle Shellshocked victim. And really, that was just a one-night stand. Funny that Jack had to give permission for that. Rorry asking Jack if he was gay--there's a funny glance where Jack seems to be trying to figure out if that's a pickup line or if Rorry is trying to protect his insecurity about a male rival for his Gwenny. And again, they kill the innocent but let the scum go free. And they kill the alien because it's Berserk? Um, why? If it is indeed sentient, It should have noticed that the people trying to save it have one, and the ones totruring it are down. They don't even try to calm it down. Why not? Nice bit about the snapping cable and dragging toshiko out of the way. Something that thick snapping would have enough force behind it to cut a human through. remember DieHard3? "Next time, let her take the bullet. So, it doesn't occur to them to have bullet-proof vests, body armor, or some kind of personal force-field when breaking into a criminal base? One they know has no problem with mutilating the innocent? One they know has a staff that carries guns?
There should be a Who/Torchwood drinking game for every time someone says "I'm Sorry. I'm so sorry." In Who it's at least once per episode. And Owen uses it here.
foot note to Random Shoes: the whole bit about him being forced to give the eye up for 34 quid and a milk-shake... No. eBay has tons of safety nets, including non-paying bidders, second chance offers, and more. Really, whoever wrote that part either didn't know eBay, or assumed that the characters didn't bother to learn it, or assumed that the audience was a bunch of idiots.
Adam--We find out that "Grey" referred to by Capt John was Jack's younger brother. Nice little story about the brother who disappeared and the planet living under threat of invasion. These aliens are the most frightening because they scream? What about... The Daleks? They Cybermen? The Tocklafeign? or any of the other nasties Jack must be aware of from travelling with the Doctor? OK, so this alien writes himself into their lives and accidentally messes with other aspects of their memmories, somehow messing with their entire personalities. OK, bit of a stretch. Reminds me of the NextGen episode where they find out they are missing several days because an alien race wanted their privacy, so they start retracing their steps, find the aliens again, say "well, it was a dress rehearsal. Now we know what we did wrong, so we can make sure it never happens again. For real this time. No, really." Jack couldn't have left a simple note: "We had to RetCon the last 2 days. Do not look into this. Ever." What about Reese? Isn't he going to ask about the weirdo who was with the group last time? Loopholes...
Reset--They explain the drug and effects 3 or 4 times... Once was enough. Twice tops. Martha Jones joins the team. Lot more time spent with the DoctorWho tie-in than with the plot. Rival organization, doing medical reserach with alien materials, using living aliens... That all worked well. X-ray surgery tool was a little Naff. Exploding stomache was a nice tough. And Owen gets killed in the end. And he had finally accepted a date with Tosh! Guess she'll be disappointed...
Dead Man Walking-- So, now Owen is dead. Jack decides to go find the other Resurrection Gauntlet to bring him back. Some weird little psychic girl uses tarrot cards and knows where it is. She is never mentioned before, and never mentioned again. The weavils are camped out in the church en-masse around the box holding the gauntlet. Ooooooh. Uh-huh. The weavils are here why? Jack doesn't launch a mission to capture them, why? And we're moving on. For some reason, this gauntlet can be forced to work, while the other one needed empathy... Uh-huh. Moving on... Owen is somehow brough permanently back. Well, as an animated corpse, because he's still dead. And using this gauntlet brings Death to Cardiff in a physical form. Uh-huh. Moving on. Death needs to kill 13 people to become permanently manifest... Uhhhhh... What? OKaayyyy... How did they work that out? From some middle-ages rumor? How did they work that out back then?
Dead Owen does of course save the day.
The effects of death as the semi-form cloud of dusk and bone is neat.
The story is totally illogical, bordering on X-files level of stupid.
But it lets them bring Owen back
A Day in Death--Owen is dead, so he's relieved of duty pending physical assessment. Well, Martha Jones concuded that in about 2 days, but he's still suspended, and forced to make coffee for everyone while they're out in the field. Finally, after weeks of self-destructive behavior (because he's bored out of his skull with nothing to do--nice one there Jack. Good understanding of psychology) they finally let Owen back onto active duty because they need a walking corpse to deal with a mission to recover an artifact from some old recluse. OK. The Recluse is scared of dying, knows all about Torchwood (escept for the face that Owen is dead), but gives up the dangerious artifact after a little talking to from most-horrible-bed-side-Manner-in-the-world-Owen. Owen tried to perform CPR, but can't because he has no breath. Um? Wait. If he has no breath, how can he talk? Talking comes from inhaling air and pushing it out overn and through the larynx, which combines with the mouth and tongue to shape the sound. No breathing, no talking.If anything, he should be great at CPR, because the air won't lose oxygen from entering his system. And all of this is being told to us as Owen tries his hand at being the worst suicide counsellor on the planet. Somehow, the alien artifact made him happy with his lot, being dead and all. Martha goes back to UNIT.
Something Borrowed--OK, let me preface this by saying "I Hate Wedding Episodes." They're usually just a cheap sensationalist ploy to amp up emotional responces without any substance. In fact, the only thing I find worse than the wedding episode is the child-birth episode. That said, this is not only a good episode, it may be the best of seris 2, if not the entire show. The story is solid, internally consistant, and in keeping with the on-going story line of several characters. It works within the world without any lame-ass 'mystic' characters or events. No one-shot and it's gone, never to be mentioned again characters or deus ex machina plot devices. Nice, solid episode. Consequences of previous actions come home to roost, like they are supposed to according to one of the founding concepts of the show.
From Out of the Rain--Well, the one thing that kept poking me is the music motif reminded me of The Masters of the Universe movie starring Dolph Lundgren from 1985. Just that one bar played over and over again. Sounded like the same instrument even. That said, the actual story reminded me of an old Sapphire&Steel episode about people being pulled out of old photos. This ep goes back to unexplained events/mysticism. The rift is a magic box, same as the Hellmouth in Buffy or the Cryptonite meteor shower in Smallville, only less well-defined or logical. I suppose it's an OK episode, but not one of the good ones.
Adrift--The Rift not only dumps inter galactic and temporal flotsom into Cardiff, but also take things and people away. Of all people, Gwen is the one to discover this when an old colleague brings her a missing persons case. And Toshiko manages to find possible backup data and form a whole new theory. Dozens if not hundreds of missing persons tied to Rift activity. A very small number make it back. And it turns out Capt Jack knew the whole time. Not only that, he'd set up an clandestine hospital for treatment. And Gwen has to go on a long, painful journey of discovery because all Jack can say is "Drop it." "No, Don't look into this." "No, stop investigating." But he provides absolutely no information to help he make an informed decision. Nice one. All the Drama of this episode is caused by Jack being an ass, refusing to share information. Not only does Gwen suffer for it, but so does a civilian. All so Jack can try and FAIL to keep a secret. Gee, if Jack knew this all along, why not... I don't know... use Toshiko's expertise to try to figure out the pattern? To try to control the situation some way? No, he's doing everything by himself. %&*#-head.
Fragments--Everyone's origin stories. How they all joined Torchwood. Nice flashbacks and some good story development. The sort of thing that should have been done... Oh, early in the first season. Normally that's where it goes so we can actually care about the characters and know who they are. And it is all so Capt. John can be petulant and immiture about trying to kill all Jack's friends so he'll come back to him. Really? "I killed all your friends because I love you?" This is the same guy they didn't kill, that they went out of their way to save, back at the beginning of the season. He's an amoral psychopath. Gee, saving his life really turned out to be a bad idea, didn't it? Next time someone does his or her damndest to KILL YOU, You kill that person. THAT is being a more mature, adult series. Real consequences. And basic logic. Overall, a good episode, even if it shows that the series is suffering from lack of clear concept and RTD burnout.
Exit Wounds--Capt John isn't really that bad. He was being blackmailed by Jack's long lost brother as part of the brother's revenge. Uh, yeah. Um, that doesn't excuse his behavior from last time. The Nuclear power plant doesn't have any power.
<blink> The nuclear power plant is going into meltdown because it doesn't have any power. Wow. That makes sense. Oh wait, no it doesn't. Neither does the backup generators at the hospital not working. That's why they are there: a completely independant power source, not tied to anything else, so that if external power is cut, they can instantly kick in with no niticable loss of electircity. Now, I don't know if the writer actually understands how a reacor works, even if he did write the technobabble section. A lot of the safeguards are mechanical, not electronic. They go into effect automatically, and are not jammed up by loss of electricity. In fact, loss of electricity is one of the things that will cause them to activate. So this whole section of story makes absolutely no sense. I recently ran into a report on the Three-Mile Island incident. The only reason there was any radiation that got out, is that the humans panicked, and started throwing switdhes. Had they sat at their desks and just taken notes, the automatic systems would have functioned as designed, and shut it down. As it was, the people in the area were exposed to an unknown amount of radiation (estimate is less than a typical X-ray of the time, so damn little). But this it TV, so we have to have Nuclear weapons and Power villified.
Owen and Toshiko both killed permanently. And just when Owen was starting to grow up and be less of a prat! With the last episode, Toshiko finally became human. And John is going to wander arround Modern England, all forgiven, to see if he can figure out why Jack likes it here. Lovely.
Looking back at it, the series was OK, with a couple of good episodes, but I wouldn't bother watching it again.
With Miracle Day on the way, I recently had the chance to view Children of Earth and... dang, RTD is really into making Torchwood as bleak as possible. Ianto and that entire building of people dead, the survivor from the 60s dead, Jack's grandson dead, Jack gone, the prime minister thankfully going down but not the lady who suggested culling the UK's slackers in the first place, Frobisher murdering his entire family for what turned out to be little purpose, etc. etc. etc. Victories don't get much more Pyrrhic than that miniseries. Though I know some fans have speculated just how effective Torchwood might have been if the government hadn't been trying to blow them up and bury their leader in concrete the entire time. Plus, the governments of the world sure do capitulate pretty quickly without a fight. And with little true demonstration of the 456's power. I guess controlling their kids, beaming into a glass container with a firey transporter, and releasing a virus in that building is enough when the Doctor's not around.
Speaking of the Doctor, it would be nice if sometime in the future he runs into them on his own show and, you know, deals with them. Though I'm not sure a kid's show like Who would want to present something like that, in spite of all of the ghouls they end up throwing out there.
Anyway, overall I did like Children of the Earth, even as it tried its darndest to depress me. Maybe Jack's time with Alonso will revitalize him for his return in Miracle Day. Which will hopefully not take too long to get to Netflix seeing as I don't have Starz.
I love the piano composer's reveal that 'Jack's Theme', created in that episode, and used thereafter, is based on the beats "Here Comes Jack In A Bloody Great Tractor" from when he smashes into the barn!
So, Miracle Day is off to a good start. Hasn't yet had any of the catchy quirks of the British productions (though going by trailers, there'll be at least one of tose) but the supporting cast of actors are much improved over the usual stock DW/TW have used.
It hasn't ratcheted things up within one episode as COE did, but I've liked the more grounded approach so far.
Also- when did Bill Pullman start looking like Robert DeNiro?