Monday, October 23, 2006

Carrying a Torch

So, Torchwood then. I'd been hoping to be able to do an unmitigated rave, but unfortunately all I can do is a vaguely optimistic it's-far-too-early-to-tell. It came across to me really as a cross between Angel and UFO-- full of very pretty people but a bit lacking in the gripping, intelligent plot department. Mind you, UFO is a series which improved greatly in the plot regard as it went on, so maybe this will too.

Other thoughts:

-I have a vague worry, which I hope won't be proved correct, that all of this is the result of the production team spreading themselves too thin. Rather than doing one excellent series, they're now doing two which show promise but don't quite deliver. Which means that Sarah Jane Investigates should wind up being really, really bad.

-Los Angeles, with its gangs and neo-gothicism, worked OK as a backdrop for Angel, but I'm having real trouble accepting Cardiff as a sinister, brooding location for supernatural goings-on. I mean, Cardiff. It's just too... nice. London? Yes. Edinburgh? Absolutely. Belfast? Perhaps not as ghostly, but still has a feeling of genuine menace. Going down a rung, Oxford has gothic architecture, Birmingham has a sense of agonised misery, Penzance and, hell, even Plymouth have got a West Country we-doesn't-talk-to-strangerrrrs feel about them after dark, but Davies just had to pick the major city in the UK least associated with violence, ghosts and gangs.

"The Streets of Cardiff." "The Cardiff Boy." "Gangs of Cardiff." Nope, it's no good. I just can't get creeped out about it.

-Naoko Mori's character will, I suspect, prove to have no personality whatsoever. White Britons can write convincing Black and Asian characters; why can't they ever do convincing Japanese?

-Also, she's nicked my coat. No, really. I had to go check the rack to make sure my own purple leather trenchcoat was still there. I don't know what it says about me that my fashion sense is shared with someone whose idea of a daring illicit use of alien technology is getting it to scan the text of A Tale of Two Cities.

-Without giving too much away, the plot twist at the end of Episode 1 is only a plot twist if you haven't read/heard any of the pre-publicity.

-While I hate judging a series on its special effects, I have to say this one really did give me the feeling that they were trying to save money. Over the first two episodes, we got a couple of understated bits of original CGI (mostly involving the lift), plus a vague-shiny-cloud-monster and a pterodactyl left over from Walking With Dinosaurs. Which doesn't bode well, since it's supposed to be the first episodes on which you spend the most money, so as to hook the nerd crowd. Mind you, the trailer seemed to show something vaguely Cybermanlike later, so perhaps they did wind up spending most of the money on subsequent episodes. We'll see.

-Finally, if Eve Myles is going to do lesbian scenes with the guest star, I'd like it to involve something other than flicking each other's hair about. So many lesbians I know are involved in film or television; surely there must have been someone behind the camera who could give them a few tips?