Thursday, January 18, 2007

TORCHWOOD: I can't predict shit

I'll assume anyone who reads this will know what Torchwood is. If not, it's apparently a second-rate Buffy rip-off by the people who make Doctor Who. I don't know anything about Buffy (except that I don't like it) so that's not my opinion - just one I nicked off of 95% of Doctor Who fans.

But, anyway, there's a big controversy over the quality of the writing in Torchwood. It seems half of the people out there say that its immature, senseless, crap-storytelling that cares nothing for continuity, character development or empathy with an emphasis on action that is shoddily directed. The other half of people say it's not entirely awful. The remaining 3% margin of error like the show.

So... to test the quality of the writing, I set out to make "Half-time predictions" for a couple of Torchwood episodes I have not yet seen, because I am well behind the times.

1.10 Out of Time

Plane comes down through the time rift filled with three people from the 50s. Torchwood try to re-integrate them into society. Results are mixed. What did I predict?

*Old guy's son turns out to be either gay or dead, or both

The guy wouldn't stop talking about finding his son so obviously something really, really, really tragic was going to happen. I was way off the ball here - dying heriless wouldn't have been too bad, because there wouldn't have been any way for the script to rub salt in the wound. The gay thing? I was thinking RTD again, but of course he doesn't really do too much for this show - because otherwise there'd have been some homophobia references in this ep for sure.

What did happen? Heirless son who has fucking Alzheimers. Argh! How could I not see that coming? Highly embarassed because the scene was so damned sad I cried. Afterwards I had to shove a soldering iron into my testicles to re-assure myself of my manliness.

*Housewife girl dies

Firstly, I want to re-iterate that I thought she was a housewife. I didn't realise she was 18 at the time of writing. That would have changed my opinion.

Nevertheless, I made this prediction on one simple fact: at least one of them was going to have to die - my main bet was by suicide. I figured for a housewife character (as I thought she was, confused as hell looking back now) would not be able to cpe with the freedoms of the modern world. Of course, she was actually young and single, so of course she makes a fresh start to illustrate the adaptive nature of youth.

And the old bloke topped himself, obviously.

*Pilot girl lives, possibly making it back to the 50s in zillion-to-one chance

Here I was thinking this was the most unlikely prediction of all - but it worked! Hey!

Well... kinda. She flies off in the plane and we see a bit of a flash and it seems to disappear... but, unlike I was hoping, Owen didn't rush back and look through archives and find that somehow newspaper articles about her surprise re-appearance had suddenly appeared. That without a doubt would have proved that my idea about making her back was accurate, but as it is it's open to interpretation.

And pretty much everyone on the message boards has interpreted it as another suicide. Because we're a cheery lot.

*Gwen's boyfriend conspicuously does not appear

Really pissed off about this one. He hadn't appeared since episode 6, and his was in that for like, one shot. I assumed that they'd broken up, in fact.

I was asking a lot, though, because I figured this was the most logical episode for her boyfriend to show up in, what with her obsessing over the care of 50s girl and Owen (unbearably) having it off with that cutie pilot. And the woman who wrote this (forgot the name and my net's slow, not sexist, honest, take away the portable gallows) clearly was smart enough to realise that.

*Sato doesn't get to do anything of interest

w00t! After the time of writing Toshiko Sato did not appear at all. She's shaping up to have a shittier role in this series than Ianto. And he's the bloke who orders the pizzas.

To be fair, though, this was a real safe bet.

*Plot twist involving something evil

Eh, what can I say? Didn't see them sustaining a plot without poorly-though-out technobabble and evil aliens. Was proven wrong, to my delight.

*Blatant foreshadowing for season final

Not in this episode, as such, but the trailer had a really crap bit of foreshadowing visible. Which brings me to...

1.11 Combat

Yeah, I watched two episodes in the space of two days. I got em all sitting there on my harddrive, why string it out?

Had a lot of trouble with this one as it was a twisty story... results speak for themselves.

*Owen gets fucked up bad or [preferrably] killed

I admit this was purely optimism speaking. Because Owen Harper really, really, really pisses me off. He's like the guy you know who makes all the wisecracks but with all the wit and charisma sucked out of his soul, along with any sense of moral fibre and good looks. He's essentially the most unlikeable and ugliest 'good guy' on TV. And every week he's fucking another hot chick! Argh!

(Of course, they're probably taking their lead from the big screen - Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke both got their girls [briefly] in that macho filth Sin City and we've finally got a James Bond to appeal to the ugly demographics in Casino Royale.)

So, anyway, imagine my delight when it turns out that Owen gets mauled by an alien. w00t indeed, my friends. Thing is, we're meant to feel sympathy for him. Nah. He's a prick. In fact, Owen poutingly complains to Jack about saving his life. Yeah, we feel the same way.

I think it's down to Noel Clarke (understandably) assuming the show was meant to star likeable characters. Blissfully unaware that Owen's character was modelled after an amalgamation of every unsavoury crim to have ever appeared in The Sweeney over the course of the previous episodes...

*Gwen and Rhys finally break up.

No, not quite... but SO CLOSE! Ah, if only I'd written "Gwen goes completely psycho" instead! It's a really good piece of character development, something I'd just assumed didn't happen in this show...

*Jack shoots lots of people

Seemed a safe bet, it really did. I knew there were a lot of bad dudes in this one, and Jack's solution in previous episodes has been shown to be "instead lead transfusion"... but not this time around. He shoots one alien. In the arm. Damn.

*Stuff about 'thing in the darkness', maybe some lost style glimpse

Kinda cheating, because it was actually in the trailer. But still, it gets points for being really shonky foreshadowing. It makes a fair bit of sense for someone who's died and gone to the afterlife to have seen "something coming in the darkness". In a sci-fi kind of way, anyway. But some real-estate baron who's decided the peak of human achievement is beating the shit out of guys for fun? Much less sense. Especially when he's just having a casual convo over a beer with a mate when he just happens to mention something coming in the darkness.

Poor script-editing at work?

*Weevil genocide

No. There was none of that.

*More vomitising "Jack and Ianto" innuendo

And again. Thank Christ.

You can probably expect some more this crap when I get the next two episodes. Feel free to mock my lack of foresight in the meantime.

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