Posted in Janine's blog on Sat, 21/10/2006 - 06:58,

I didn't blog about Torchwood after its opening two episodes last weekend because I don't like to state a definite opinion after an opening bite. Then a few days later, I realised that wasn't quite the real reason, which was ... that I couldn't quite believe how good it actually was.

This is cracking TV drama, it really is.

The characters look interesting, though I'm not totally sold on all of them yet - I'm not amongst the ranks of those who go weak at the knees for Captain Jack. But I wouldn't expect to love them all at this stage: there would be so little to look forward to, and perfect characters are boring.

I loved the way that what looked like a major character was introduced and then killed off in episode one, mainly because the manner of her death revealed the great moral conundrum at the heart of Torchwood - we have to understand this alien technology, but can we abuse humanity in order to do it? There's so much potential to develop that theme, especially with an 'ordinary' character being introduced into a team of professional alien-hunting nerds.

The basic idea is sound; the setting is cool; it's exciting; and it's got jokes. It's supposed to be sexy - I'd say that some of the supposedly-sexy bits aren't really, but the shooting gallery scene in episode 3 certainly was. Mind you, you just can't do 'sexy' that's sexy for everyone.

I'm sure you could pick faults in it, and I've no doubt that various reviewers will say that this was wrong, that was naff, the other was lame. But really, save your nit-picking for the army of sub-standard TV shows: sit back and enjoy this one.

Ok, so it nicks a fair bit from Buffy. But hey, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and if you're going to take inspiration (and, to be honest, lift a few actual ideas) from another show, best to take it from the best TV show ever.

In any case, it just wouldn't be right for Buffy (and Angel) to just come along, be brilliant and then end, and TV to carry on just as before.

Big gratitude to my son Alex for getting me - or giving me an excuse - to watch Doctor Who (and for nagging me into getting him a Tardis wardrobe). I didn't watch it much as a kid, because it just didn't interest me - I don't remember it really meaning a lot beyond alien story-telling. I don't trust my memory well enough to say that Russell T Davies' reincarnation is so different, but I certainly like it and certainly see some depth in it.

"I know all the stories, Mum, but what's it really about?", asks Alex. "I think it's about what it is to be human", I answer. Go on, it is - whether it's the Dalek who can't bear to be infected with humanity, or Rose tampering with time to reverse the unbearable pain of bereavement, or the boss of Cybus Industries 'upgrading' away our humanity to release us from pain.

Culture and Reviews

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