The Rift is splintering - strange phenomena like UFOs and ancient soldiers are falling through time into various places around the world. These events resemble those in the prophecy of the ...
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The Rift is splintering - strange phenomena like UFOs and ancient soldiers are falling through time into various places around the world. These events resemble those in the prophecy of the arrival of Abaddon, the Great Devourer, who will lead the world into shadow and bring about the End of Days... Written by
Toni Tapola, Finland
This episode takes place in February 2008. See more »
In the scene where Ianto sees Lisa in the vaults, after he closes his eyes and the lights flash and she disappears....she doesn't quite disappear, in fact you can still see her arm and hip on the far back right. See more »
We need to be prepared. We're helpless. All we're doing here is putting sticking plasters on gaping wounds!
Captain Jack Harkness:
What do you suggest?
I suggest you lead us and you tell us what the instructions are.
No, come on. You're all thinking it too. You're the big man here. You keep all the secrets. Well, now's the time to tell us a few and tell us how the hell we're going to get out of this!
Captain Jack Harkness:
You wanna know the secret? There is no solution. I can't fix this. Because this was never meant to happen. The ...
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Season 1: A watchable mess despite not knowing who its target audience is and confusing adult (grown-up) with adult (sex, violence and swearing)
It is a rainy night in Cardiff and WPO Gwen Cooper is at the scene of a stabbing in the city centre. A group of special investigators take control of the scene and Gwen heads up into the flats nearby to watch them at work. When she thinks she sees the victim brought back to life, she investigates further and returns to the crime scene where she finds some form of beast/man that kills a hospital porter in front of her eyes, with only the intervention of the team she saw the night before, saving her from the same fate. Looking deeper into the mystery she discovers the existence of Torchwood a group dealing with the alien and paranormal threat to earth, led by none other than Captain Jack Harkness, a man not unfamiliar with aliens and strange happenings.
Trailed with a "viewer discretion" warning, featuring bloody murders, tragic deaths and swearing in the first 10 minutes and given a post-watershed slot in the schedules, I fairly assumed that this would be a pretty adult extension of the shadowy organisation that writer Russell Davies had running through his Doctor Who series. Sometimes hype causes the audience to unfairly expect too much from but in this case there was no reason to doubt that this would be an adult sci-fi growing from a thread of Dr Who. So coming into it with that in mind I must confess to being slightly confused and bewildered by the whole thing because it seems to be the material that makes it "adult" (ie swearing, sex, violence) but none of the substance that would make it more of a series for adult viewers (dark themes, character development, genuine conspiracy etc). It is hard to describe but it is like the writers have felt that to make a family sci-fi into a grown up one all they need to do is add scenes of girls kissing, blood and swearing.
Of course if the series proves anything it is that they are wrong because, no matter how many aerial sweeping shots of Cardiff we have, the series doesn't convince as a grown up matter of interest. This isn't to say it is rubbish because it isn't, it just seems to be very mixed and uncertain of its aims or target audience. So in one episode we have a cyberwoman in a sexy outfit and high-heels doing battle with the team's pterodactyl contrasting with the emotional content that you can just about see under the surface. It is maybe the most laughable low point of the series but it is one of the better examples of what a very confused and badly targeted affair it all is. Elements of Russell Davies' scripts have potential but it seems like he doesn't know how to deliver this potential. Drama becomes melodrama, character development is lost in clunky dialogue, excitement means overhead camera shots and depth means everyone talking in hushed tones with dramatic music in the background. On the sort of level of Dr Who adventure this works to the degree that children might appreciate but, as discussed, this is not aimed at children and is certainly not suitable for them. Instead Davies just lets it all get a bit silly with the slightest of nudges and misses obvious opportunities to do things of interest with some of his stories the most glaring being the lack of commentary about the sexualisation of society in the episode that is a mini-rip off of Species. I could do on to complain about the silly, over-designed vehicle they drive, the fact that they plaster "Torchwood" everywhere, the daft pavement entrance to their silly HQ (a place so impractical that even Adam West would see it as gaudy and unnecessary) and the occasionally lazy writing (stuck for an episode? Then remake Fight Club...but with aliens...).
The cast are trapped with this material but, in fairness none of them were ever going to be able to lift it with their performances. Barrowman was a great addition to Dr Who because his pantomime Captain Jack was camp fun. Unsurprisingly trying to turn him into a dark, hunted man full of mystery and hurt doesn't really work. The script does give him the chance to do it but then conversely it doesn't help to have him striding round like some matinée cross between Indiana Jones and Batman. Barrowman doesn't have the range to do this but he can stand with his hands on his hips staring into the distance with a "determined" look; or look at the floor with a "hurt" look or shout difficult decisions with a "conflicted" look on his face which is all well and good if you are looking to deliver for a preteen audience but not if your aim to hit deeper. Myles is OK as our way into this world but she is asked to do things that take away from her performance (kissing everyone etc).Gorman is a basic joker who doesn't add much, while David-Lloyd is handed a confused character and just decides to play it eternally glum. Mori is pretty cool and certainly miles better than the last time I saw her (although that was playing an offensive Chinese "Madam" character on "gameshow" "Hot Tub Ranking" so it isn't difficult).
Overall then a very strange series. At times utterly childish but then at others an enjoyable sci-fi. Adult in terms of swearing, violence and sexual content but mostly childish in depth and development. Some episodes are so absurd that they are almost unwatchable but yet some others are good. It is mostly poor and infuriatingly inconsistent stuff though and the makers seem to have no feel of who the target audience actually is. Not as bad as some say it is but not as good as others say, it is a mess albeit a reasonably watchable mess.
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