Torchwood is back soon. Hurray! I can’t account for why I’m so fond of Torchwood when its awfulness is a truth I hold to be self-evident. I find it actually embarrasses me to think that this is one of the more widely watched examples of British TV out there in the world today. I’m also baffed to discover that a lot of the people who watch it overseas think it’s brilliant, sophisticated drama. Everything on US TV is better than Torchwood! A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila is better than Torchwood!
Sorry Jack. Sorry Gwen. If it’s any consolation, I’d still rather watch Torchwood. In fact I wouldn’t want to miss an episode. Partly that’s because its awfulness is frequently compelling, partly that’s because watching it is like a creative puzzle where you try to work out how a writer, a director and team of actors might have handled the same premise, and partly that’s because I keep wanting it to get better, and I’d hate to not be there when it does.
For the new series, the show has been culled from 13 episodes down to just five, broadcasting a single story across five nights, because tearing off the sticking plaster is better than peeling it off slowly. The story is called Children of Earth (other names considered were ‘Common Songs of Garden Birds’ and ‘Plant Pots of the Outer Hebrides’, but those were deemed too exciting), and the trailer has now arrived on the intertubes. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The hook is, ”As far as we can tell, at 8.40 this morning, every single child in the world… stopped”, and already I’m buckling in for a breakneck thrill-ride. Children standing still, you say? They haven’t quite grasped the spirit of Stephen Moffat’s trick for turning playground fears into compelling stories, have they? Children standing still is not scary; children standing still is a successful episode of Supernanny.
Still, Torchwood do investigate, because they’re interfering shits. Also, there’s some sort of worry that ‘they’ have come back. Who could ‘they’ be? What terrible and dastardly alien threat could possibly have such a hypnotic effect on an entire generation of children? I have a theory, and let’s just say the new ‘klaatu barada nikto’ may be ‘eh-oh, Tinky Winky’.
Half way through the trailer things kick up a gear when a black-clad bitch assassin blows up Gwen Cooper - which is all I really ask for in a quality drama, to be honest - and we get exciting scenes of Ianto running, Jack wearing a coat, Gwen hilariously doing a John Woo leap out of the back of an ambulance with two guns, and a man in a suit saying ‘we’re in deep deep shit’. Adult. Edgy. Grr. Jack and Ianto enjoy a quick snog, which is immediately followed by the sound of a man screaming in horror. Not a slasher, I take it. Oh, and someone gets smacked in the face with a piece of plywood. You don’t see that sort of action in 24, you know.
Same Torchwood. Fewer episodes. Who says this show never gets any better?