Thursday, January 17, 2008

Torchwood: the Revenge

All sorts of TV reviews are telling me that Torchwood S2 has changed, has improved, has taken notes on what people disliked from S1 and worked on it... I'm wondering if we were watching the same programme. The episode I saw last night differed only from a S1 episode in that there were more whip-pans, more lines laden with puerile innuendo (I like puerile innuendo, but this was actually getting to the point where I was going "yeah, yeah, another willy joke, let's get on with it), more musical numbers that were out of date before Kurt Cobain offed himself, more adolescent angsting on the part of characters who are supposed to be in their late 20s/early 30s, more pointlessly thick behaviour on the part of characters we're supposed to care about ("Hey guys, this total stranger has just turned up with a cock-and-bull story we none of us believe, so we'll investigate what the truth of it is by going along with his plan-- no, I don't see the flaw in that, do you?"). Plus yet another jokey "everyone in the world knows who this secret organisation are" moment, which just really looks like they're trying to imitate the running gag in later series of Buffy (surely not!) about everybody in Sunnydale regarding vampire attacks as a part of everyday life (and ignoring the fact that even in Buffy this gag caused massive internal contradictions within the setup).

The only new element I could discern is that they're now doing what I can only describe as Captain Jack fanservice-- it's like someone noticed that a whole bunch of fangirls punched the air at the same-sex kiss in "Captain Jack Harkness" and are now determined to get him to snog/flirt with/otherwise get physical with anything male (plus a token pass at Gwen just to remind everyone he's bisexual). Which I don't mind on the one hand because it gives me more material for the LGB Guide to Doctor Who, and because I think that television needs more portrayals of bisexuality as a good thing, but on the other hand I can't shake the feeling that this isn't some attempt to encourage tolerance of same-sex sexuality amongst the audience, so much as an attempt to exploit a demographic, which is just creepy.