Monday, July 20, 2009

And Now, A Brief Statement of Policy


Hell of damn NO I will not be watching bloody Torchwood: Children of Earth. I've watched two series' worth of that awful, awful dreck, and I don't care how damn brilliant it's supposed to have gotten, after 26 episodes one jolly damn well should have risen above "not bad" long before now.

Never mind I've already heard how the whole thing goes and honestly? It's the same old crap. Lift me, Lord, to a place where I don't have to suffer through RTD's Buffy fanfic filtered through a Warren Ellis lens.

And the fact it's being lauded as some brilliant quantum leap forward in SF TV? Please. That says more about the soft bigotry of low expectations and the degradation of most people's critical capacity far more than it speaks to any quality inherent in the show.

Besides, Gundam 00's second season just started, and as it was pretty good from the outset, I'd rather spend my time watching that if it's all right with everyone, thankyewverymuch.


Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

I suspect we'll be agreeing to disagree on this, but I quite liked "Children of Earth". Yes, it's still Torchwood, but... I think what's happened here is that there has been a quantum leap forward, but not for SF TV: rather, Torchwood finally caught up with the basic standards. I mean, a lot of what CoE does is subvert the expectations you'd have if you'd seen the first two series: you might think Torchwood picks up some new recruits, and they don't; you might think there's some Timey Wimey contrivance to save the day, and there isn't (in the sense that it's a proper use of Chekhov's Gun: the key to defeating the aliens is hinted at throughout the storyline); you might think Jack's going to use his Awesome Messiah Superpowers to make everything better, and not only does he fail miserably at great personal cost but he comes a lot closer to crossing the Moral Event Horizon than ever before.

Hell, I'm halfway inclined to interpret CoE as a critique of the first two runs in that it slaps the stuffing out of the show's more ludicrous conceits: no mention of the Rift, no pterodactyls, no Weevils, no Useful Artifact Stowed Away For Just This Occasion. It's just a dark, unnerving scenario. I was displeased that they killed off Ianto, though there's something appropriate about dying the way he lived (as a whimpering doormat) but at the same time, they introduced some interesting new characters as potential replacements. I was particularly impressed with Agent Johnson: after Toshiko and Gwen, it was so refreshing to see a woman capable of ripping an entire organization to shreds almost on her own. :)

Kazekage said...

We are, but mind you, it's 1) nothing new and 2) a conditional disagreement since, true to my word, I never watched the damn thing. The problem I have with it is, reading the synopsis, two things leapt out at me:

The random violence and elevating body count isn't that different from what they did last season and I didn't care much then.

Torchwood, routinely depicted as being above and outside the government (hence their consequence-free incompetence) is routed by an even higher up and more sinister . . .ier government conspiracy? I'm hoping RTD does, on some level, have some memory of the things he writes and hence, would have reaslied that that kinda . . .operates against the very premise the show was founded on, kinda.

But then, this is Torchwood, and over there is logic, and never the twain meet.

I accept your assertion of why it's good is viable, the problem is, I saw the first two seasons that CoE is allegedly a critique of and CoE actually being, y'know, good, means . . .what? They were capable of writing good television before now, they just chose not to? How is that, in any way, an impetus for me to watch it? The joke's on me then, for giving it a chance, innit?

Mind you, as I crave disappointment and actively seek out ways to prod my own misery, I am watching Being Human now. Time will tell how long that lasts . . .

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

I agree that the body count isn't significant; what interested me more where the potential additions to the cast. They certainly did a better job of introducing new characters in CoE than, say, Gray Harkness or Captain John.

But that's just it, the premise gets chucked out the window as soon as CoE gets underway. The government quietly declares war on Torchwood, and wins.

Hmm... I see your point. I think it's to do with the question of patience and burned bridges, so to speak - if "Heroes" suddenly improved now, it'd still be far too late for me to go back. But while "Torchwood" certainly came close for me, I don't think I ever reached that point of just giving up beyond any hope of going back. So I certainly understand where you're coming from.

Ooh, be sure to let me know what you think of it. I loved the character drama and the premise but oh lord did it go wrong towards the end.

Kazekage said...

I suppose, but if you've basically gotten so much mileage (as CoE has, apparently) from killing off a good chunk of the cast, while it does create some excitement as far as "anything can happen," for cynics like me it offers little to make me stick around knowing they could just as easily get massacred whenever a shocking swerve is needed.

I suppose that's something, but then where do yo go from that? Torchwood's a hunted, rogue organisation with oodles of alien tech and god knows what secret knowledge and now they're running every which way.

That's the problem I have, the last few bridges are smoking ruins and I just can't be arsed to give it the one chance it didn't screw up after so many willfully janked opportunities.

So far, my main things, I can't stand that vampire girlfriend who keeps hanging around. She is perhaps the most ear-bleedingly awful actress I have seen this year. The rest will follow once I've seen it in toto. :)

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

Considering the history, though, how likely is that? I mean, it took them long enough to kill Owen, and then they brought him back the very next week. CoE struck me more as an attempt to wipe the slate clean and start over, and they desperately needed that anyway. I was a little annoyed that Ianto ended up being the Designated Victim, if only because it took me back to the Northstar Hat Trick...

That's just it, though: there's no tech. It all went up in smoke with the Hub, the Rift, the frozen bodies, the gadget vaults... all gone. They spent five episodes making do with ordinary technology - which, I have to admit, was a nice change from the usual.

Ah well. It happens. :)

Did you see the original pilot? They had different actors for Mitchell (better) and Annie (meh) but it's pretty much canon and the first "proper" episode skipped a lot of the backstory...

And yes, Lauren is singularly irritating. No more so than Mitchell's constant see-sawing, of course...

Kazekage said...

50-50, I'd say--after the radical downsizing of the cast in Series 2, did we imagine they'd off someone else? Mind you, if it's meant as a deck-clearing exercise, well . . .wonderful. Mind you, the question then becomes whether the Torchwood name has become so radioactive that there's really anything to build n that people will pay any mind to.

Lacking any trust in RTD sticking to any plot point if it's inconventient to do, so I think there's an out. They can always find Torchwood Four or something.

Haven't seen the original pilot and honestly, I find the show to be rather rough going thus far. Werewolf Guy frightens me with his ability to sound like a living breathing Claremont character at shift-X level Wangst.

Yeah, I'm maybe three episodes in and Mitchell constantly going to and fro is getting confusing and/or irritating, I must say.

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

It could be an opportunity for a fresh start... a bit of retooling, some new and better-crafted cast members, who knows?

Also: the screaming. Effective the first time, very annoying by the tenth.

Have you finished the run?

Kazekage said...

Let's hope so. Given some time to chew it over in my mind, I'm thinking that maybe a scorched-earth restart is probably the best they can do with it at this time.

I have! And . . .wow. I can only assume this show's popularity is because of the copious amount of Naked Werewolf Ass because without that to salve the feelings, it's brutal. Just about the time where the ghost girl gives the "where the wild things are" speech she gives to her boyfriend, my exact response was slack-jawed disbelief that anyone wrote that in the first place and anyone else had let the damn thing through. This show wallows in melodrama in such intensity it borders on high camp.

Diana Kingston-Gabai said...

Sadly, the Naked Werewolf Ass isn't much of a draw. I would've preferred a lighter tone to the series, I think - keep it more on the comedy side of things rather than rehash the same Vampire Drama we've got coming out of every orifice these days...

Kazekage said...

It's certainly not for me frankly. As to going in a more comedic direction, well . . .the overly melodramatic style they did in the actual series did little more than grate on my nerves so . . .yeah.