Torchwood: Should we bother?

>> Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The new season of Torchwood hit the BBC this week, and the Twitterverse responded favorably--as did a few of my friends I trust with this kind of stuff. Wendi and I enjoy the new Doctor Whos, and we love us some Captain Jack Harkness (above) who's the lead in the Torchwood spin-off. But we didn't make it far into the first season of Torchwood before bailing--it was just too silly and stupid. Then we heard that season two wasn't so bad, and now season three has (apparently) started off with a bang. io9 even asks if Torchwood is finally becoming better than Doctor Who!

Yeah, okay, the last few regular-season episodes of Davies' run as producer on Doctor Who were a disappointing mess, but still, the Davies/Tennant years are pretty fabulous TV overall. (And I really like the Next Doctor special Davies wrote that came out recently.) But Torchwood better than Doctor Who? Hmm. Perhaps we'll have to Netflix season two of Torchwood so we can watch season three with some preparation. But I can guarantee you I'm not going back to season one of Torchwood.

And as io9 says, all bets in the Torchwood versus Doctor Who contest are off when Steven Moffat takes over Doctor Who next season. I can't remember a more anticipated coming of a new producer to a show. My sincere hope is that he's able to mix what Davies did--build compelling characters and relationships over time--with what he already does best: incredibly kick ass stories. Up until now, Moffat has been able to toss in an incredible, Hugo-worthy story here and there as one of the writers for the show, but will he be able to bring it regularly when he writes far more of the episodes? There are hundreds of thousands--nay, millions?--of viewers who have their collective fingers crossed. And I'm one of them.

In the meantime, perhaps Davies' redirected attention to Torchwood can elevate it to watch-worthy. It would be lots of fun to have two can't-miss Whoniverse shows to watch. Maybe we'll give Torchwood another shot.


Brian F. July 8, 2009 at 12:40 PM  


1) Season one of Torchwood is pants.

2) Season two was improved when it became less about random sex and while the finale was a tearjerker, the season was still uneven.

3) The first two eps of CHILDREN OF EARTH have been excellent. I think they've found their footing at last. It feels slightly padded but even the padding is well-executed.

Alan July 8, 2009 at 12:53 PM  

@ Brian F. Thanks! Love your site. Good luck placing CHASERS, and with your new middle grade...

beth July 8, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

Hmmm...I'd written Torchwood off when it was just an excuse for gratuitous sex without a plot. But it may be worth another look.

tanita davis July 8, 2009 at 1:18 PM  

Oh, good. Someone else who hated Season 1. I could not get through more than two episodes, and previously could not comprehend all the friends who are mad about the show.

But better than Dr. Who?! Huh.

Alan July 8, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

@ Tanita - Yeah, I think we bailed after just two episodes. We don't give shows long to impress us. Sometimes that backfires on us, but that's why the gods created Netflix.

Anonymous,  July 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

If I remember correctly the second episode of Torchwood was the Sex alien... I don't blame you for getting our after that, but I think it got better. Face it you can only go up after that.

Fabricationist July 9, 2009 at 2:22 AM  

I've seen it allevery ep, and while I'm easy, the first ep of season three is very solid. I'll leave it at that. Yes, it took much courage.

Brian F. July 20, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

Torchwood update: Personally, I loved it. This is what I've wanted from Torchwood since season one but instead got lots of weird alien sex. If Torchwood had been more like these five eps from the beginning, there'd be little to no grumbling about it online.

If you give CHILDREN OF EARTH a go, be warned: the last two episodes are very, very intense. I'd go so far as to say there are some incredibly disturbing events (not necessarily gory, but disturbing) with one of the darkest endings I've seen since the revelation of Laura Palmer's killer.

Alan July 20, 2009 at 3:32 PM  

Thanks for the update, Brian, and for the warning about Children of Earth. I still remember (vividly) both representations of "Bob" from Twin Peaks--the "imaginary one," (for lack of a better way to describe him) and the real one. Both are pretty disturbing, even to this day.

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