Friday, August 14, 2009

Suffer the little children

I was out of the country when Torchwood: Children of Earth first aired and only just finished catching up on it last night. All I have to say on the matter is - how good was that?

Well, okay, it's not the only thing, but it was the best series of Torchwood ever, in my humble opinion. I know that John Barrowman (a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness) has expressed how disappointed he was that the series transferred to the Beeb's flagship channel and was then cut drastically in length but, as far as I'm concerned, it was the right thing to do.

Torchwood was always a series I wanted to love (being a HUGE Doctor Who fan) and I have seen every episode. However, it was a horribly inconsistent series (at least for the first two years). It had its highlights - Countrycide and A Day in the Death - but also it's low points - take, for example, the dire Small Worlds. (Are supposed to believe in magic now too? I know that most of Doctor Who relies on magic rather than science, but at least it's consistently dressed up as science fiction.)

Too often the sex and drugs and rock-n-roll in Torchwood, that was added to the mix to justify it's post-watershed tag, seemed too tagged on and not entirely germane to the plot. (Did we really need a sex-mad alien rumpy-pumpying people to death when Species did it long ago?) It was as if a bunch of 15 year-old schoolboys had tried to see what they could get away with and were sniggering behind their hands for the duration of the show.

And then came Children of Earth. Harrowing, taut, exciting, dramatic, dealing with some serious issues, putting our heroes in genuinely threatening situations and having to make impossible decisions that no-one should ever have to make. And as a result it was utterly compelling and brilliant.

We got to enjoy some top notch writing by Russell T and top notch direction by Euros Lyn. It featured fantastic performances by Peter Capaldi, playing tragic scapegoat John Frobisher, Nicholas Farrell as the loathsome Prime Minister Mr Green, Susan Brown as Bridget Spears, John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd, Lucy Cohu as his daughter Alice and of course Eve Myles. And what's not to like about Eve Myles?

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Blogger TheEditor said...

Have to agree with pretty much everything you've written. The first two season of "Torchwood" were a huge case of not quite being all that they could be. I found the huge dollops of sex, swearing and violence much like a teenager trying to be what they think 'grown up' means, when much of the series could have been vastly improved by the removal of much of that.

August 19, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

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