The Torchwood Manifesto

Even the ideas I thought most feeble are transformed into virtues with the benefit of great writing in Children of Earth: Day 1.

Everyone knowing about the Daleks and Cybermen has seemed to me to compromise the promising scenario of a covert organisation working to keep an unknowing public safe from an extraterrestrial threat. But in Gwen’s speech to Dr Patanjali, Russell T. Davies sold me on it totally for the first time in Torchwood or the mother series. In the trailers, the insane concept of all the children stopping seemed ridiculous (and derivative of The Christmas Invasion) but RTD made it sinister. And then there’s Jack living through the entire 20th century (let’s not mention the last two millennia) to which RTD, apparently effortlessly, added a whole new emotional dimension. Even before some Cardiff slag mooned Ianto from the triple deadlocked arsemobile I found myself actually enjoying Torchwood

I was wary of hype. Even after being pleasantly surprised at the quality of last week’s trilogy of Radio-4-ified Torchwood Afternoon Plays, the claims of those who’d seen the National Theatre preview that it was “the best hour of Torchwood yet” left me thinking “and it could still be sh*t”. But though it had its flaws (mostly in the last 10 minutes) this is… well, let’s just say, I likes it.

About Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more…

6 thoughts on “The Torchwood Manifesto

  1. At the end of day 1… it’s not crap at all.

    There were a few episodes from the last two years I dug; Out of Time, Adam, even Something Borrowed. And I really enjoyed Reset. But I still cringed my way through the many naff bits; and none of them were this good.

    Although RTD has made some unlikely things work well, he’s simply ditched others (and I don’t just mean that car and something-else-that-would-be-a-spoiler). The Chibnall regime’s total disregard for narrative structure, for one, and for another the disdain character development. Most of all, though, he’s coherently completed the contextual world of Torchwood albeit by borrowing from Kneale, Wyndham et. al. but then why not (“great artists steal”). Add to that the brilliant, witty, character driven writing that has typified his non-Who output and there’s an hour of the kind of entertainment that, if it’s sustained for the other four hours, is actually making me hope it gets recommissioned. Who’d have thunk it? (Of course, that’s just me, you may well hate it. YMMV, as they say.)

  2. At the end of day 1… it’s not crap at all.

    There were a few episodes from the last two years I dug; Out of Time, Adam, even Something Borrowed. And I really enjoyed Reset. But I still cringed my way through the many naff bits; and none of them were this good.

    Although RTD has made some unlikely things work well, he’s simply ditched others (and I don’t just mean that car and something-else-that-would-be-a-spoiler). The Chibnall regime’s total disregard for narrative structure, for one, and for another the disdain character development. Most of all, though, he’s coherently completed the contextual world of Torchwood albeit by borrowing from Kneale, Wyndham et. al. but then why not (“great artists steal”). Add to that the brilliant, witty, character driven writing that has typified his non-Who output and there’s an hour of the kind of entertainment that, if it’s sustained for the other four hours, is actually making me hope it gets recommissioned. Who’d have thunk it? (Of course, that’s just me, you may well hate it. YMMV, as they say.)

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