Confessions of a Torchwood Sceptic

Coolhand

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Hey dudes.

As some of you might know, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season of Torchwood. In fact, I hated it so much it became something of a perverse pleasure for me to watch the latest ep and then write a scornful review of it.

Well, it got renewed for a second season and when the first episode came around I sat down in front of the TV, with a notepad and pen, salivating like a shark at the annual beach party of the American Association of Overweight Swimmers.

And then I had a moment of self realization. I was actually going to waste irrecoverable seconds of my finite life watching a show I was convinced would be awful, just so that I could then go on line and scream about how much I hated it. So I turned off the TV mere seconds into the episode and went off to do something else.

But every so often, I’ve ducked back in here and read the discussions of the new episodes.

And I get the impression that the quality of Series 2 is much higher than the series 1.

And I wonder if I should I give it another go? Rent the DVD’s or maybe catch the repeats. So I was hoping I could ask you guys for your opinions of the new season overall. I’m especially curious to know if the writers resolved the following problems:

The GAPING plots holes: “Sorry pilot babe. We can order UNIT around; we are beyond the government, above the law. But, er, we can’t get you a pilot licence. Why not? Because the plot can’t take the strain, that's why not!”

The ludicrous sexual escapades. Do the characters actually manage to meet aliens without shagging them?

The blithering incompetence? Do Torchwood now come across as an elite black ops unit, rather than a slightly overwhelmed shelf stacking team from ASDA?

The emotional get-out-of-jail-free card. “Yes I betrayed you all, shot some of you and almost got the human race wiped out, but I was feeling upset/was in love/ wanted to shag something so therefore I get out of jail free and keep both my job and your friendship?”
Does that still happen? If so, how often? Or do Torchwood actually show some backbone and take responsibility for their actions now?

I’m really hoping you guys will say these things are fixed to a degree, because one of the reasons I was so pissed off with Series One was that I could SEE the potential, and was furious about the waste. I’d really like to settle down and watch an enjoyable Season Two without flinging chairs at the screen.

Please help. Pretty please? :)
 

Lenny

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Thinking back, I can't remember a Series 2 episode in which one of the Torchwood crew gets down a jiggy with an alien. Well, there's Tosh and a fella from WWI in one episode, but he's not really an alien.

There are probably one or two moment where being beyond the government means they can't get out of a parking ticket, but I didn't notice them.

Tell a lie, there is a bit of fun with an alien, but it's not one of the TW team who forms the second of the pair.

I can only really think of one instance where the get-out-of-jail-free card is used... but there is a reason behind it.

To cut straight to the chase - Series 2 was a lot better than Series 1. I rewatched Series 1 a couple of weeks ago, after 2.12: Fragments, and it's easy to see the differences. My opinion is that there's only one Series 1 episode which is up there with the best Series 2 episodes, and that's Countrycide.

Obviously you're a lot more critical than me, though, but I think you'll like it. The only way you'll find out is to watch it yourself.
 

High Eight

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I'm probably a bigger sceptic than Coolhand and I gave up on it about halfway through. I'm not sure if it was the plot-holes, the grimly determined non-acting, the lack of a coherent series 'bible' or the ludicrous dialogue. Probably a combination of all four.

I came back in for the last two episodes and sincerely wished I hadn't bothered. I won't be back for series three (assuming there is one).
 

Susan Boulton

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I'm probably a bigger sceptic than Coolhand and I gave up on it about halfway through. I'm not sure if it was the plot-holes, the grimly determined non-acting, the lack of a coherent series 'bible' or the ludicrous dialogue. Probably a combination of all four.

I came back in for the last two episodes and sincerely wished I hadn't bothered. I won't be back for series three (assuming there is one).
I totally agree, sadly. I also gave up on Ashes to Ashes as well.
 

Ice fyre

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Black will do till they invent a darker colour. U
Well I'm going to take an opposite view to he last two posters.

Overall I think the second season was a major improvment on Season 1.

Why? Well I think the scripting was much tighter, the effects while not brilliant did the job. The actors really seemed to get into their roles. I think the acting was better. The scrips were better controlled I suspect better editing. They do say the difference between a good writer and a brilliant writer is good editing.

I liked it and I would reccomend you watch it and make up your own mind.

The First season had some rather nasty problems but I do think somebody took the production team by the scruff of the neck and said oi, here's what you should be doing. I will be interested to hear your reactions.
 

pyan

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I'm with you, Ice.
Whereas it's not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, Series 2 is so much better than Series 1 as to be almost unrecognisable as the same show.
As long as you don't expect too much from it, it's a pleasant enough way to while away the odd hour.
One or two stand-out episodes for me: Adrift, a tour-de-force by Eve Myles, and Something Borrowed, which made me literally laugh out loud.
 

Dave

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Coolhand, Season 2 was so much better than Season 1, however I disagree with the others. I thought the first few episodes were very good, especially those which had Martha, then something went wrong about half way through, and it all went downhill again. Some character developments were handled badly. The last episode was interesting but needs a huge suspension of disbelief.

I also agree about 'Ashes to Ashes' - very disappointing compared with 'Life On Mars' - and yet there is to be another Season!
 

Coolhand

Spiff's Stunt Double
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
495
Thanks for your feedback guys. :)

Hmmmm. Well, when the DVD's come out to rent, I guess I might go off and prod the first couple of episodes with a stick. I don't demand awesome TV from Torchwood, coz I doubt this series can EVER provide that, but as long as I can watch it through without shouting, that might be enough for me.
 

Interference

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Apr 18, 2007
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I'm human.
Hey dudes.

As some of you might know, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season of Torchwood. In fact, I hated it so much it became something of a perverse pleasure for me to watch the latest ep and then write a scornful review of it.

Well, it got renewed for a second season and when the first episode came around I sat down in front of the TV, with a notepad and pen, salivating like a shark at the annual beach party of the American Association of Overweight Swimmers.

And then I had a moment of self realization. I was actually going to waste irrecoverable seconds of my finite life watching a show I was convinced would be awful, just so that I could then go on line and scream about how much I hated it. So I turned off the TV mere seconds into the episode and went off to do something else.

But every so often, I’ve ducked back in here and read the discussions of the new episodes.

And I get the impression that the quality of Series 2 is much higher than the series 1.

And I wonder if I should I give it another go? Rent the DVD’s or maybe catch the repeats. So I was hoping I could ask you guys for your opinions of the new season overall. I’m especially curious to know if the writers resolved the following problems:

The GAPING plots holes: “Sorry pilot babe. We can order UNIT around; we are beyond the government, above the law. But, er, we can’t get you a pilot licence. Why not? Because the plot can’t take the strain, that's why not!”

The ludicrous sexual escapades. Do the characters actually manage to meet aliens without shagging them?

The blithering incompetence? Do Torchwood now come across as an elite black ops unit, rather than a slightly overwhelmed shelf stacking team from ASDA?

The emotional get-out-of-jail-free card. “Yes I betrayed you all, shot some of you and almost got the human race wiped out, but I was feeling upset/was in love/ wanted to shag something so therefore I get out of jail free and keep both my job and your friendship?”
Does that still happen? If so, how often? Or do Torchwood actually show some backbone and take responsibility for their actions now?

I’m really hoping you guys will say these things are fixed to a degree, because one of the reasons I was so pissed off with Series One was that I could SEE the potential, and was furious about the waste. I’d really like to settle down and watch an enjoyable Season Two without flinging chairs at the screen.

Please help. Pretty please? :)

Nooooo! Protect yourself. Stay out of the Light! Captain Jack is still snogging everything in sight and now he's got Spike at it (Captain John ????? [:where's the puking icon when you really need it :])

Maybe the plots are stronger, maybe there's a bit more characterisation, but essentially it's still unwatchable tripe. (Why am I here?)
 

tangaloomababe

Living in Paradise
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Nov 27, 2006
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Thanks for all the post its interesting reading because up until two weeks ago I had not seen any episodes of Torchwood!!!! Yes its true. When it was first aird here I was all hyped up to watch it until they put it on at some bizzare late hour and I had to work the next day.
It wa always my intention to get it on DVD but I didn't get around to it until a fortnight ago when I got season one. I am about five episodes in and my thoughts are a little mixed. Whilst it is easy watching I think that I to would have been inclinde to give Iato the flick after he kept a cyberwoman in the basement regardless of whether he was in love with her or not, Jack is just a little soft hearted.
I quite like Gwen, she is tough and gritty but the rest of the crew I have not warmed to yet!!!
I am pleased to see that Season Two is a big improvement on Season One and shall keep watching (I have to I paid for it)
Now I am sure you all know this but who noticed Gareth Thomas in episode three as Ed Morton? Ah the passage of time, it all catches up with us hey.
 

Dave

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I've been having something of a Torchwood retrospective and I thought this seemed like the best thread to revive to tell you what I thought. I have looked at the old episode threads and was surprised how vehemently I hated it first time around and yet still kept watching.

I'm only half way through the first season, but will probably watch them all again. I think I under-rated the pilot episode. It is a very good introduction to see everything from Gwen's POV. The others are better than I remember, but I remember them as very poor and so I am more pleasantly surprised that they are reasonably okay.

The only episode that I still don't like is Cyberwoman since it just doesn't work on so many levels - How is it possible for her to be a secret? How can they ever trust Ianto again? And if he was really so much in love, how did he recover so completely in the later seasons to the point he that becomes Jack's love interest?

Yes, they are unbelievably useless as a black ops team. They are undisciplined and clearly useless, and they hire someone who has never used a gun before. Much of their success is down to use of gadgets and pure luck, rather than any skill or deductive powers. Gwen is the only one who follows any procedure.

Yes, there is too much alien free love, but less than I remembered. It does try too hard not to be Doctor Who in that respect.
 

AnyaKimlin

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Well umm I loved the first two seasons right the way through - every last episode. It was fun, camp, silly, engrossing and wonderful. Not to mention lots of very sexy moments.

The third season was gripping and the fourth season could have been written better, tighter into a good story. However I never re-watch those whereas I will revisit a lot of the episodes from the second two series whenever I have a free moment to do so.

Russell T Davies is the only person to have ever written lines that I wish I had (usually I can admire without being jealous). There is a scene with Jack and Rhys (those two make a much better couple than Gwen and Rhys) during the episode Meat (the one with alien whale being used for meat) that is hysterical.

If I ever have a writing goal it is to bring Torchwood back to its roots and write a series in Glasgow with a Brian Blessed style sterotypical Scotsman, prefferably no Gwen. Bring back the psychic child, Captain John and make it as crude and wonderful as it was.

Torchwood being epic and thought provoking is good but it isn't Torchwood it is kind of like when they redid Crossroads with sets that didn't wobble.

I think it is like Diagnosis Murder - I used to cringe watching it but then I realised it wasn't meant to be taken seriously and I saw the genius in it.
 

Dave

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There is a scene with Jack and Rhys (those two make a much better couple than Gwen and Rhys) during the episode Meat (the one with alien whale being used for meat) that is hysterical.
I remember that being the best episode so I am looking forward to getting to that point.
Torchwood being epic and thought provoking is good but it isn't Torchwood it is kind of like when they redid Crossroads with sets that didn't wobble.

I think it is like Diagnosis Murder - I used to cringe watching it but then I realised it wasn't meant to be taken seriously and I saw the genius in it.
There is certainly a place for a weekly series like this which has alien conspiracies and a bit of humour, soap drama, and sex. I think my problem the first time around was that I really wanted it to be the new British X-Files but it clearly was not. Now I'm watching without any pre-conceived ideas, except that I have now seen Warehouse 13 and Torchwood's Special Archive's department is a much cooler place.

I agree that the epic mini-series stories were good but not the same.

I still don't like Rhys as a comic foil though. I remember that he did grow on me, but I'm hating him all over again.
 

AnyaKimlin

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He was better in the second series once he was 'in' with it. I hated him and Gwen in the first series. He also has a rather lovely bum which helps.

Ianto's comic timing is stunning though - I'd love to see him play Eric Morecombe because he'd be amazing.

I have to say Gwen is the only character I wanted to see axed and still do, she never grew on me. Seriously she annoys me. I think it is the on/off thing with Jack and they don't work together.

Maybe I should edit and work out were to send in the script I wrote ;).
 

Lenny

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I still look back on the original two Torchwood series with fondness. And yet, despite how fantastic it was, I rarely think about the third series.

What made Torchwood work, I think, was the fact that major events centred on Wales - it wasn't just another cop show with aliens, it was a Welsh cop show with aliens, and it was gold. All that was lost when they moved to America for the fourth series, and it became just another meh cop show with aliens.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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I am dumbstruck.

To think that there are people still out there that havent experienced the full and unmistakable joy, nay pleasure, of watching, what can only be described as the best example of the BBC's abilility to produce tripe of the finest quality.

No doubt you compound this gross neglect with a similar lack of intimacy with the third series. I'm nonplussed. Do you think you are special, imune from the need to wallow in pits of despair?

Surely you owe it to yourself to wedge open your eyelids and watch all the series, back to back, so that in time to come, at the day of reconing, when you are asked what you have done to offset your transgressions, you will be able to place, well and truely in the credit columb.

"Well, I have watched all the Torchwoods."

So saying, you will reduce your time in purgatory by a considerable amount and your indulgence will be well rewarded.
 
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AnyaKimlin

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I still look back on the original two Torchwood series with fondness. And yet, despite how fantastic it was, I rarely think about the third series.

What made Torchwood work, I think, was the fact that major events centred on Wales - it wasn't just another cop show with aliens, it was a Welsh cop show with aliens, and it was gold. All that was lost when they moved to America for the fourth series, and it became just another meh cop show with aliens.
This is what I think. It just became another American cop show instead of really what Brits do best, low budget silliness, fun with a bit of tension.
 
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