TV Ramblings 07 – Torchwood (season 1)

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I’ve heard about  Doctor Who  and  Torchwood  many times before (thanks Tumblr for some hilarious gifs), but finally braved the leap into this broad fandom early last December. It’s not surprising that I got hooked on Doctor Who – it is pure crack. It’s got the right amount of sci-fi with numerous species, planets and apocalypse scenarios to keep me interested, and it’s coupled with fantastic British humour. But more about Doctor Who in a post of its own; here the talk is about Torchwood, specifically season 1.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s just say that Torchwood is the ‘adult’ version of Doctor Who, even though the authors were not supposed to put it like that.

Here’s the trailer to convince you:

Mild spoilers for season 1 – read at your own discretion.

The beginning episodes are, quite frankly, a hit and miss. They are uneven in tone and execution, so acting suffers as a consequence as well. I believe the writers and actors were still a bit unsure about the direction of the series. Thank the stars that ends around episode 5 or I would have given up and shelved the entire series indefinitely.  It was close, but I decided to trust BBC and push through the bad and got to the good part.

The season 1 then reaches its peak in episode 8 – ‘They keep killing Suzie’. That episode was the turning point, I think. Things get evened out in both acting and directing. Cases the team works on become more compelling and personal – we finally care that they figure them out when before we knew they would but did not particularly care how. We also get an insight into the characters’ psyche, their desires and wishes, fears. They become human beings we consider dear friends.

That is very important for any series. Yes, I knew they would deal with alien threats and time rifts, but what really grabs hold of my attention is not the techno babble but their reactions, emotions. It’s the personal relationships between them that are the heart of the show, all else is just the cherry on top.

The characters: we’ve got the team leader Jack Harkness, the medical exper Owen Harper nd computer geniu Toshiko Sato, a helpful hand Ianto Jones and the newcomer Gwen Cooper

While I’ve become familiar with Jack through Doctor Who, I was nonetheless happy to see a different side to him here. Though he sometimes acts like a complete jerk, I can’t quite escape his magnetism. He does know more than anyone else could, but he’s not big on sharing. Perhaps that is the reason why his decisions might come over as very cold, military, but make no mistakes – he’s perhaps the most tortured character in the series. Episode 12 ripped my heart out.

Owen, on the other hand, just doesn’t rub me the right way, and I can’t put my finger on what bothers me so much about him. Perhaps it’s that perfume he uses in Episode 1 when we first get to know him (That is basically rape, you selfish man!), or his stubbornness to the point of pigheadedness; but maybe it’s just his habit of spewing hurtful words. I’m sorry, but he’s got his work cut out with me. I don’t hate him, but we’re not going to be best buddies. He does seem to slowly grow on you the more the show progresses, but I’m still not a fan…

I like the quiet Toshiko, even though she’s done some really stupid stuff. Somehow her vulnerability speaks to me. I know I shouldn’t like her only because she somehow gets under my skin, yet her mistakes don’t seem to shake my trust in her. It’s a puzzle – one I hope to solve in the future.

I also want more of Ianto. He’s a character we see so little of. Disregarding the episode with his girlfriend, he’s just always in the background and it’s such a shame too. I like him. We got two alpha males, so his loyal character is a nice change. It do

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Gwen is a mess, though understandably so. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, but she’s not used to dealing with the stuff Torchwood chases after on a daily basis. Her emotions, usually her strong point, get the best of her, which is completely understandable given that she can’t talk about her work at home. But cheating isn’t the way – seriously. Have a little self-respect girl.

My favourite episodes of season 1 were: 8 (They keep killing Suzie), 9 (Random shoes), 10 (Out of time) and 12 (Captain Jack Harkness).

I’m hoping the special effects get better in season 2. I’ll probably start watching it in late February at the earliest. I’m taking my time – there are only so many free hours I have. Can’t use them all up sitting in front of a screen, no? 😀

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