Wednesday, January 03, 2007

When the Doctor meets the Captain meets the Assistant...

Torchwood season finale - 90 minutes of pretty decent sci-fi subtitled 'My Big Fat Gay Apocalypse'. I thoroughly enjoyed it, more for the tantalising nature of the writing rather than the drama of it all.

Torchwood has been in the most part a flawed success in my eyes. It has definitely delivered on it's basic premise - an adult orientated Earth bound Dr Who franchise - but it's lack of an apparent metaplot has hampered any real feeling of growth or pace. In some ways it has taken the Buffy 'monster of the week' model and used it well, just not well enough.

The finale finally did expand on some of the issues that have been touched upon - Captain Jack's purpose for living, the thing coming from the darkness and in a brief nod, the connection with Dr Who. In all of that, it delivered just enough to satisfy but not enough to quell interest.

The acting was also, in the most part, really quite good. The lass that plays Gwen was excellent and the baddie was a thoroughly bad man. In fact everyone had their moments. Good stuff.

However, the real revelations in the last two episodes were the final markings on the sexuality scorecard that has been Torchwood. Oh Russell, you have to be so blunt about this things!

Captain Jack - Gay and a gay thing from gay land.
Gwen - Loyal to her man, despite a little jiggery pokery with Owen
Tash - Straight via bi with aliens
Owen - Straight with delightful bi overtones
Juanto - Oh so gay, like we hadn't guessed.

If only the starship Enterprise had been so liberal with it's loving!

So, thumbs up to the Torchwood finale - although they missed a trick at the end. I was convinced that when Gwen was faffing over the dead Jack there would have been the trademark swirling and then a little voice popping out saying 'Oh, looks like you need .... a Doctor!' - to be continued in Dr Who. Hell, with the ending that was given it looks like we might see Captain Jack alongside the Doctor one more time.

Of course, Torchwood is no longer the only spin-off from Dr Who - now we have The Sarah Jane Adventures. The premise seems simple enough - SJ and her kid sidekicks (young geek girl and all-knowing vat grown psuedoalien boy, alongside sort of sentient computer and cameos from K9 (woot!)) deal with alien threats in a non-violent, no guns, definitely not Torchwood stylee.

The pilot for the new series had all the things you would expect - SJ as the weird woman down the street, a fizzy drink that takes over peoples minds and a marketing strategy that is an amalgam of Willy Wonka and the Childcatcher. Slithering aliens and Big Eye aliens and evil henchwomen abound and in the end an aversion of mobile phones saves the day. Sounds quite twee and indeed it was BUT it had my two girls on the edge of their seats in a way that traditional Who just doesn't achieve.

And thus the franchise is fulfilled. You start with Sarah Jane, progress to Dr Who and then graduate to the XXX-R18 of Torchwood.

To the creative within me, it screams for a TV special where the threat is so huge it needs all three to come together to see it off. Ah, the drama! Ah, the story! Ah, the likelihood of Owen jumping Sarah Jane for the little bit of Granny Sex!

Anyway, nice to see Dr Who blossomming so well


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