Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fandom Alert: No sanity, topical observations, or actual news for miles

Hey people, guess what? Time for one of my epic Torchwood rambles! Bet you've missed those *cough* The smart thing to do would be to wash my hands and walk away, but I just cannot help myself. I'm wondering why no one has had me committed yet - waiting for the opportune moment, are we?

All the previous nonsense about COE aside, has anyone ever actually watched the thing again after the initial onslaught? It's so relentless and fast-paced at first viewing, it's incredibly easy to get swept up in it, but having every minute etched permanently into my memory, I watched it last night knowing exactly what was going to happen - who was going to quirk an eyebrow, who was going to sigh, who was going to die horribly - and I realised that, without the whole swept-away aspect, the story makes very little logical sense. Now I admit I always suspected this, but it's just blatantly insane. If it wasn't for the gratuitous emotional blackmailing in fact, I don't think anyone would have bought into it. And frankly, if you have to camouflage your writing with overbearing emotion to get it to fly, that's an underlying fault in your writing. Sure, I'm a bitter old hag, but I can still write a thesis on all the ways this was an epic fail as a season of Torchwood, despite its rave ratings.

Which brings me to this Torchwood USA thing. Hey, you asked. I've been bombarded with emails about it since early yesterday morning - if this was CNN, I would be the Torchwood Correspondent - and I really don't know what to make of it. Moving TW to the US just wouldn't be Torchwood. Everything that makes the Whoniverse what it is, is tied to the UK. That's where it belongs. You take that away and what is it, just another sci-fi show? Besides, the US already have the Winchesters fighting off the creepies, they don't need TW.

Let us also not forget that Torchwood was founded by Queen Victoria to protect the British Empire. Last time I checked, the US was not part of the British Empire. You can say that this doesn't really matter, but it does. Everything that TW is, everything that it stands for, is tied intrinsically to its history. You take that away and you don't have Torchwood anymore, you have something new and separate, but relatable. And hey, that's fine, but then make it new for god's sake. Give it a new name, a new spin, don't just change everything and think that's ok.

This then, is my fundamental problem with the way Russell T Davies has started writing his shows. He's just running around doing what he wants to do with flagrant disregard for anything that has gone before, even his own work. He has absolutely no respect for history or framework, and thinks it's perfectly fine to just wipe the slate clean and start again. I'm sorry, but it is not. You cannot just do that! You cannot just change the framework of an existing universe because it doesn't fit your grand megalomanic visions for a story. This is not the Marvel comic verse, this is a television show. I just think it's so disrespectful to viewers to completely negate everything you've led them to believe before simply because it no longer fits your vision. Your story should fit your framework, not the other way around. How can any viewer become invested in anything you do, when a season later you will do something to completely disregard something that has gone before, how can anything mean anything when nothing is concrete? That's why so many fans don't like Children of Earth, by the end of the first episode we've lost the SUV, and the Hub and consequently the pterodactyl, Janet and everyone else in the vaults. By the end of the second episode we're not even in Cardiff anymore. What is Torchwood if not a show about a bunch of semi-competent alien catchers living in a secret base under the bay with a pet pterodactyl and running about Cardiff, saving the day in their flashy car that everyone recognises? So yeah, COE may have been riveting drama, but it was only a season of Torchwood in the sense that the cast of characters was in it. I know some people will say this is a good thing, that it gave it more depth and that change is as good as a holiday - but I never signed up for riveting drama! I signed up for a bunch of semi-competent alien catchers policing a tear in space and time! Not to even mention that Torchwood is part of the Whoniverse, and as such shares a mythology with Who, that COE completely disregards.

I don't think it's that surprising then that I have extremely mixed feelings over a fourth season, let alone one set in the US. The overwhelming issue is...well why should I bother? Why should I waste my valuable time on something when in the end there is the greatest chance that it'll all be disregarded? Why should I allow myself to become invested in something that will eventually treat its viewers with contempt? If there is a fourth season, it would have to win me over as if it was a completely new show and that is essentially impossible as long as it bears the name Torchwood because of this humongous wheelbarrow of baggage I bring with me *gestures behind self* The thought that we should just mindlessly fall back in line is just ludicrous. It's like...I don't know, someone killing your puppy and then giving you a new one saying it's essentially the same thing. Of course it's not because you loved your puppy and you're traumatised, and while the new puppy may well be cute and clever and adorable, it's not your puppy, and it never will be.

Normally this would be a no-brainer for me, and the only reason it's an issue is simply because I just love the character of Jack Harkness that much. He really is one of my favourite fictional creations and so I feel a strange sort of duty to stick with him, even though they are treating him like utter crap at the moment. I say that knowing about the scene in End of Time, but look, no amount of introductions by Ten is going to cover the fact that he wasn't there when it mattered and that it was all his doing in the first place if you buy into RTD's gleeful notion of the Fires of Pompeii/Frobisher connection (which I must thank the fool for, because I needed that seed of information planted in my over-analytical mind so that I could now harbour a misplaced grudge against Ten and Donna. No really, thanks RTD. You're a champion.)

On that note, the Guardian suggests Jack and Alonso for season four. Hmm. Excuse me a second *gets into plastic soundproof box* JACKANDALONSOJACKANDALONSOWTFNONONONOIDONTWANTJACKHOOKINGUPWITHNOWEREWOLF *gets back out and clears throat*

Let's address their other questions, shall we?
> Could Gwen feasibly return to the frontline now she's a mother?
Oh who cares, I don't think Gwen and her magical ability to make everything about her is all that important. She better not be the only one in the next season though, I'd rather shoot myself in the foot than watch that. Actually, I'm not sure if I even want to watch Torchwood with Gwen in it. I do not want to see her, I do not want to think of her and her white-picket fence ending, and I do not want her anywhere near Jack. Nowhere near him. Look, I'm not really anti-Gwen, when she is consistently written she's quite kick-ass, but the rest of the time she's self-righteous and annoying, and I just can't warm to her. So I feel compelled to swear on the name of everyone's dearly departed fictional welsh boyfriend that drastic measures will be taken upon whatever production company is responsible for it if Jack and Gwen ever get together. Drastic. Measures. And if Rhys dies, oh my god...this is the way vigilante superheroes get their start and I must say, I've always liked masks.

> Should some of the action still unfold in Cardiff?
I liked Cardiff, I liked the Rift and anything coming out, and I liked the familiarity of things like the weevils and their boiler suits (seriously, are they born like that? So many unanswered questions!) Cardiff was like a cast member, like NYC to Law and Order. But then they went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like exploding it. So, that being said and done, I would actually prefer a fourth season to be set somewhere else. I know, doesn't that just contradict everything I said before? That's why Torchwood and I get on so well, you see, we're creatures of contradiction. I still want it in the UK though, it's the Whoniverse dammit, it's British! The only reason I would prefer a change of scenery is that I cannot stand the thought of things going back to how it was before, of them just carrying on like it never happened. There is a disturbing tendency in the Whoniverse to not acknowledge things that have happened, when those things are so huge that they surely must have had an impact on the character (say for example being tied up and tortured for a year, or oh, being buried alive for 2,000 years.) The thought of re-building the hub, speeding around Cardiff and going about their business without Ianto being there is too much for my poor frazzled heart. It's bad enough that we lost him with the worst plan ever, I don't want them to act like it didn't even matter

> Do you want to see the return of some old friends from Children Of Earth?
No! What friends, what friends? The creepy guy who hugs the glass, whose creepiness is never explained, and who actually makes it out alive? What about the evil bitch assassin woman who goes four days before thinking to look into what's happening with the kids? The daughter who pushes her father away, then suddenly pulls him in again and leaves her child in the hands of strangers? The sister of a man who revealed we actually knew nothing about him, not really, and we never will? The stoic secretary that stands by, thinks a post-it is a good place for a top-level security password, does what has to be done and then has the audacity to be outraged and grow a backbone at the end of it all? Or how about Lois, the PA that knows what everyone needs, "the office girl" that infiltrates a tightly guarded area? I don't think so, thanks. As for the last one, you cannot substitute like that! You just can't (oh, please don't.)

> Or have I called this whole thing completely wrong?
Probably not. Chances are there will be a Torchwood US. I was hoping that if there was another season it'd maybe move to Torchwood House in Scotland, or better yet maybe stumble upon Torchwood 4, the one that's "gone missing." It has to be somewhere under British rule, maybe northern Ireland? Torchwood staff with Irish accents, I won't complain. Or maybe it's in Australia! Hahaha yes. Alien koalas, I can see it now. Those drop bears aren't just a story to frighten campers. Yes, let's move the show here. They can all stay at my place. Except for Russell, he'll have to go somewhere else, only people who don't tell me to go watch Supernatural if I'm upset are allowed in.

The only other quibble I have is that, to be honest, I simply don't like the idea of Jack in America. His whole thing is that he's brash and loud and overbearing, and because of the accent people always put it down to him being American. He never quite fits in, and the fact that he doesn't really belong is highlighted by that. If you dump him amongst other Americans, what is he other than an oddly dressed man, and that doesn't say much other than he may be Mat Devine's older cousin. And here's where I lose faith in this whole US move, cause I just can't see John Barrowman leaving the UK. He has everything over there. And I'm not watching Torchwood without Jack. There is no TW without Jack! Sigh. Can't Steven Moffat take him back? He was so much better to him.

This is all of course based on the notion that it is in fact a continuation of the series, so a season four, as opposed to a remake or revamp in a US setting that has absolutely nothing to do with any of the previous seasons. If that is the case, I have three words for you - Life. On. Mars. No, I don't care if the US have done brilliant remakes of British shows in the past and I don't watch The Office, all I do know is they completely messed up Life on Mars and I have no faith in them. Plus I must reiterate there's no TW without Jack.

Ah well, I don't know. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Can't really judge something until you've seen it, can you? I was far too invested, far too close to it, and I got burnt too much to simply be excited or happy about it. Obviously I'm apprehensive to change, look what happened last time things changed, things went to hell! I guess I'm still mourning too (yes I know it's insane) and it's still hard not to feel everything like it's another turn of the knife in your back. Wait, did I just type that? Hahaha I'm beginning to think I am the queen of melodrama. Honestly, I'd much prefer it if there wasn't a new season, if that was that it'd be easier. But yes, wait and see, wait and see.

BUT CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME IF IT'S BEEN CONFIRMED? I'm too tired for this and I am yet to have my first coffee for the day. We are not amused!



*small voice*

Why did they have to take my show from me? To people who thought it was tacky and cheesy, that was the point, don't you see? The entire charm of original TW was the fact that it was tacky and cheesy. As one of the commentators on the Guardian site said, if it's not as bad, it's not as good. And that in a nutshell, is the contradiction that made me love TW.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go cry into my latte as Owen so helpfully suggested back in Season 1, because there is absolutely nothing I can do about any of it anyway. Au revoir!

Edit 6:58 -

I actually had a brainwave at work about this whole thing and how it could be wrangled to make some sort of sense that they're mucking about in the US. After the horror of COE, I think its fair to assume TW want nothing to do with the government and the government want nothing to do with TW, effectively cutting them loose. As independent agents, they'd then be free to go wherever the hell they wanted, and that would be as far away from the idiots who made such a big mess of things in the first place. Now again this works beautifully in favour of Australia, that's real distance, but hey whatever. See I don't mind when they mess with frameworks and foundations within reason, I mean obviously it can be done. it's just delicate, and I don't think they should prance around chopping and changing while cackling maniacally and making people watch.

Music: The fan whirring
Mood: Tired


  1. Why did I end up with a mental image of Jack propositioning the Winchesters for a threesome and Gwen running around with a machine gun and a baby strapped to her back.