Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I have decided to allow (ooh, that is so nice of you, Barry) certain people to guest blog. This is the first; a very opinionated piece by my dear and talented writer friend, Larry (see attached photo). He has written a passionate diatribe on the British science fiction television series titled Torchwood.

Larry has elected to use my last name for purposes of guest blogging... maintains a continuity, for sure.

Be sure to check out my review of Torchwood from last October 29th, in case you haven't already. Hope you enjoy both.

Barry Smight


1. Doesn’t even live up to the stated premise of its introduction: “arming humanity against the future”. Haven’t seem them give humanity anything resembling weapons yet. Hell, they barely use them themselves, relying on pistols and fisticuffs.

2. In “Ghost Machine”, Gwen chases a guy for ages, through streets, up alleys, over fences, and through backyards. When she finally corners him, he asks for mercy and says he has asthma. The kind that lets you run like an Olympic athlete, apparently.

3. In the “Cyberwoman” episode, the gang release a pterodactyl to stop the Cyberwoman. They scarper, leaving the two to fight. When they return, there’s no sign of the pterodactyl. Guess it must have put itself back in its cage, eh? Good boy, Pterry!

4. “Countryside”: First we’re told the killings were being done by townsfolk mutated by energy seeping through a crack in the dimensional Rift (near Cardiff, never fully explained). At the end of the episode one of the town’s killers says he did it because it “makes him happy.” Which is it? And, if there’s no mutation going on, how the hell do the killers/cannibals run so fast and have super strength? Asthma? And if they do it because they like it, why only once every 10 years? Lots of self-control, these cannibals?

5. Torchwood is supposed to be a top secret organization of the highest level. Yet whenever they show up at sites to investigate anything, the police give them wide berth and don’t ask for I.D. of any sort. And the street cops Gwen used to work with know of her involvement. You don’t need an alien Shoddy-Writing-Detector to see how poorly thought-through this is.

6. Separate from the government? Waitaminnit...! Didn’t we see the PM in the first Doctor Who Christmas special give Torchwood a direct order to shoot down a retreating alien ship, which they followed to the letter? And if they’re separate from government, who foots the bills? Oh, right! That may have been Torchwood I or Torchwood II, neither of which are explained. Come to think of it, the function/purpose of Torchwood III (the current team) is never really explained either. Something about arming humanity…

7. Owen fucks everybody. Everybody wants to fuck Owen. We get it. Yawn. Wait, so why is he using the alien Fuck-Me device in episode one to get the girl at the bar to fuck him…?

8. In the episode “They Keep Killing Suzie”, the team is locked in their own base without power. Somehow they think to use the ISBN from a book of poetry found in Suzie’s locker as password to restart the power. And it works! WTF?! And the ISBN they use isn’t even from the book they have, it’s from a copy being read to them by policewoman who at the other end of a phone line. What if wasn’t the same edition? The puzzle logic here is puzzling, but it damn well ain’t logical. File under Housebroken Pterodactyl. Also: no manual override of any sort to get out of the base? Absolutely no way they’d construct any base that way. As a dramatic device, it’s a great comedic device.

9. Captain Jack cannot die. So what’s to care about, then? Why do they always make it appear as if he’s in danger? Are you that stupid, Viewer, that you say to yourself “oh dear, Captain Jack might be about to get killed”? If you are that dim, have I got a show for you. It’s called Torchwood.

10. In one episode, Captain Jack teaches Gwen to shoot. She’s got a pistol in her hand. He warns her not to shoot at the ceiling, because it will bring the base down. Had this been some alien super-destructor gun, it might have been a funny moment. Instead, it’s an ordinary pistol. Go on, Gwen: let’s see you collapse an fortified, underground state of the art base (one that doesn’t have manual override doors) with a pistol. I dare you. Torchwood tries so hard to be cool and cover all the bases (sex, violence, evil aliens, time travel, resurrection, zombies, etc.) that it doesn’t do anything well. An entire season has gone by and I have no idea what three of the five characters actually do in Torchwood. And don’t get me started on the camera stutter technique they use whenever there is a static shot of HQ.

Torchwood is a mess. Right up there with 24 as an example of someone’s idea of “cool” trumping good storytelling. Season two will have to make do without me watching, I’m afraid.

Until next time,

Larry Smight (no relation)

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