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Torchwood Season One Review


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I will never understand the bizarre, (usually American, no offense). attitude toward sex and swearwords.


My problem is that it's linked to Doctor Who, and this is a great disappointment in that regard.


As for the language and sex attitudes you refer to, our culture here is becoming just as open as Europe, sadly. Good storytelling needs little of either, and it detracts from the storyline.

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I am not what you'd call a religious person, and I rather detest excessive gore, swearing and erotic scenes in SF shows, too. From what was written in the Wikipedia, it was one of the major reasons the spin-off series to Babylon 5, "Crusade", was cancelled: the network wanted the series' creator to put it in, and he refused.

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As for the language and sex attitudes you refer to, our culture here is becoming just as open as Europe, sadly. Good storytelling needs little of either, and it detracts from the storyline.


Sadly? I say hooray. The 50s are long over, and cursing has been around forever. Unless you're referring to the homosexual overtones the series contains... Science fiction characters can't be gay?


Personally, I can't wait to snatch up a copy, even though it is quite pricey. Besides, how can anyone hate anything with John Barrowman in it?

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A series spun off another series you expect to have some of the same flavor and character, not something so far removed. Generally, IMO, the use of most of the sex (hetero or homo), language and gore cheapen. It's the easy road and requires little creativity. I expected far better from the makers of Doctor Who.

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Actually, there were a lot of homosexual references in Doctor Who (there was an elderly lesbian couple in one episode)


There are lots of artists, writers and TV shows that use sex and swearing both tastefully and to good effect, and are not excessive and serve the plot (A Song of Ice and Fire, Guy Gavriel Kay's work, Rome (HBO), Neil Gaiman's work, Ellen Kushner's , and countless poets and artists, such as Swinburne, and Simeon Solomon)

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grogerson, as an old Who fan m'self, I decided to treat Torchwood the way (as an old ST fan) I treated Deep Space 9 - an entirely new series set in the same universe, with a very different set of ideas at work.


[edit: Comcast had it as part of the regular BBC America lineup this year, for those folks what ordered up digital cable.]


From that perspective, I think I was able to find a rhythm with the series. I wish Firefly were still going, or that SG: Atlantis was as strong as its predecessor, but I think for a first season they did pretty well. And I have to say the materials presented are much tamer than network TV offerings or the other BBC America shows (Footballer's Wives? Hotel Babylon? *urk* ).


As far as the sexual content, it is definitely outside of non-cable TV here in the US. We seem to have some suprisingly parochial worldviews over here, in spite of an "open culture" and a decent movement towards equal rights for homosexual and heterosexual couples. But I think that what you are right about is that the writers seem to be patchy in their use of the ideas - sometimes it is a decent part of the plot, and other times it is added on as a "shock value". The episode where Captain Jack falls in love with (himself? spoiler, or not, as you see fit - they are keeping that storyline extremely ambiguous) is actually pretty much decent (you could swap roles between all sorts of folks and it would ring true), but the alien who lives for orgasms and then explodes its victim - not so much.


Would I buy the DVD? No - but then, I saw them. Would I buy it for a holiday present for a male friend who happens to be gay? Probably, if only to watch the eyecandy - those guys make looking good a whole new art. Plus, Season 2 pilot episode brings in even more good lookin' dudes for folks that admire that (the ladies are nice, but not particularly outstanding). Would I watch the eprisodes a second time? Some of them.


Do I think this is Dr. Who in any meanigful relationship of storyline or substance? I think that boat sailed with the new remake of the Dr. Who series. I will go grab my old VCR tapes, sit back with some jelly bellies, and watch Tom Baker trick the Daleks into blowing themselves up again.

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I guess I'm still not following your reasoning. Are you saying it's not any good because the show contains more mature content than the show it has spun off of, or it's not good because the characters are not well written? The presence of sex and gore does not negate otherwise good writing.


I also don't think it's fair to base an opinion of a show off its predecessor. Frasier and Cheers were quite different shows, as were Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley, Diff'rent Strokes/Facts of Life, The Practice/Boston Legal. Sometimes spin-offs shine simply because they do differ enough from the original.


I respect your opinion, but before I'd consider it to influence any decision on my part, I'd need something more than "sex+cursing+gore=bad writing."

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I adored season 1 to levels of ridiculousness, and I'm a fan of Dr. Who. I enjoyed the darker aspects, including the swearing, sexual content and violence; I thought it made the show a whole lot more realistic and gritty. I found Dr. Who (at least Tennant's series) to be rather detached from reality, and a bit too shiny, etc.


I liked that they were isolated emotionally; in a job like that, it completely makes sense, and I think they pulled it off well.


I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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Torchwood is hilarious, often not for the right reasons, but entertainingly silly nonetheless. My housemates and I have a lot of fun watching and mocking it every week. The sexual content doesn't bother me at all (although seeing more of Owen than I ever wanted to has scarred me somewhat), but the "because no one's had sex with anyone for ten minutes, let's randomly talk about sex" mentality of the writers does get a bit wearing at times.

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I very much liked Torchwood, though I will admit one or two of the storylines were a little gratuitous (the orgasm alien for example).


I certainly don't think the violence really counts as "gore", even though there's quite a bit of it, the difference between Torchwood and Doctor Who in this regard seems to be that you see these people die, and ocasionally there's a bit of bloody makeup where the wound should be. For a more mature sci-fi show, I don't think it's excessive, despite the fact that showing the consequences of violence is generally avoided in the genre. People generally get shot, fall over and are forgotten in Sci-fi shows, unless they're a main character. Torchwood is a bit more realistic this way.



The sex I think is probably over represented, but I think this about Doctor Who too (mostly the fixation the new writers seem to have with romantic tension between the Doctor and his comapnion of the day, hopefully the new one will short circuit this and give us some variety). The Torchwood people lead lonely dangerous lives, but we could do with there being a little less random sexual content, if only for the sake of more plot. Most of it fits reasonably well into the series though, so I'm not too worried about it.



It's true that sex, violence and swearing are not required for good storytelling, but I don't think Torchwood has reached excessive or unrealistic levels of these. Doctor Who, by contrast, has almost none of these but many of the recent episodes lack interesting plot resolution, relying on the Doctor fiddling with the sonic screwdriver for a bit to take out the story's antagonist. This is probably a limitation on the 45 minutes they've got to set up and resolve the plot though, as there have been some better put together episodes, and two-parters seem to be generally fine.

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I like the new Doctor Who quite a bit (was never a fan of the older series). And I gave the entire first season of Torchwood a try. And I'm going with the "too much sex"side of this debate. I don't really care about the gore on the show, or the cursing. But the sex is over the top.


And note, this doesn't mean I can't handle any sex. Firefly had quite a bit of sexual connotation, including a protracted lesbian sex scene in it's one season, and I -loved- that show, and what sex there was was handled well... the only reason I wish it weren't there is because then I could enjoy watching it with my daughter a few years earlier, heh, but eventually I will.


The sexual content in Farscape wasn't that bad either, and there was a fair amount of it.


But in Torchwood, it's so overrepresented that it is basically an excellent representation of what is FAR more common, in my view, than the "repressed state where the Christian right imposes its flawed beliefs and smug superiority onto every issue of life, thanks"... I actually -very rarely- see this in day to day life, at least compared to how often I see the "overtly in-your-face sexuality where the secular left imposes its flawed beliefs and smug superiority onto every issue of life, thanks".


A perfect example: the constant homosexuality on Torchwood. I mean, FFS. The main character being bisexual, fine. Maybe an additional one, fine. But -every single character- on that show has had at least one, and usually several, major homosexual encounters, quite a few times being the entire plot of the episode. (The only even possible exception is Owen, and even he sprays love potion number 9 on a guy who immediately wants to jump his bones in the premiere episode).


A few episodes of it I could handle, but by the end of the season, I was well and truly sick of it. In all my life, I've never watched a TV show that attempted to indoctrinate me into the Christian religion as that show attempts to indoctrinate homosexuality. Or at least the ones that do are up front about it.


Seriously, I find the secular left's lack of self awareness in being completely unable to sense the "smug superiority" they themselves carry about to be pretty comical :thumbsup: At least the few truly obnoxious Christians I've known -know- they're being smug and superior. Many secular lefties are completely unaware of the self-righteousness they often display, and therefore they really have no clue when to stop. Which is why there's no brakes on the political correctness train either.



...and incidentally, cause it really does need to be said, even though I'm sure this observation won't win me lots of friends around here, heh: even though I'm agnostic, the only actual issue that the Christians attempt to impose their "flawed beliefs and smug superiority" on me relate to sex. Oh, and don't kill and don't steal. That's about it. The secular left, on the other hand, seeks to impose their "flawed beliefs and smug superiority" regarding, really, EVERY issue of my life, including how I dispose of my garbage, what I drive, what thoughts I'm allowed to have re: race relations, how much of the money I earn I'm allowed to keep, whether I use paper or plastic bags, who I can vote for, where I can smoke, what extent I can go to to protect my family from predators, how chores should be divided up in the household, that poor nations should prefer to starve rather than eat GM foods, how much water I can have in my toilet, what corporations I should give my business to, what and how I can teach my children, what views on every subject are "politically correct" and which aren't, what's "sophisticated" and what's "redneck", what thoughts are fit for expression on a message board (only leftie-approved insults of the right are acceptable, no rebuttals from the neanderthals plzkthx), and yes, what we should all think about every aspect of sex, and I could go on and on and on, and all the while the people telling me how I should do all these things are getting into high dudgeon if any Christian anywhere so much as briefly speaks their opinion on any subject...


...yeah, sorry, but the loudest most bible thumping calvinist preacher from the most hickville county in the most backwater reaches of the American South that I ever met never waxed self righteously at me about any of those issues the way even -timid- secular lefties do. Just sex, don't kill, don't steal, be nice to mom and dad... but they're pretty mum on the other 95% of my life that lefties feel entitled to pontificate on relentlessly... so... no, no, I don't think there's any contest on which side of the divide feels themselves more entitled to inject their "smug superiority into every issue", of my life, kthx ;)


Just sayin'.



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Try sitting on the other side of the divide sometime and see how much you think the Right doesn't condemn you and judge you and tell you you're going to Hell, etc. Or how much society here in America makes you feel like a subcitizen. Smug? Whatthefuckever. Try scared, and hopeful that ignorant people will get their heads out of their asses.

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Ack! Really? What'd you do? You didn't... you didn't install a 3 gallon bowl, did you?


No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't make light of the ever present threat of the headchopping Christian Taliban we're all well acquainted with. You know what really gets me about them most? How easily they are manipulated by fear tactics. I know because people who are kept in a continuous state of terror about that Christian Taliban tell me that the Christian Taliban is controlled by their fear every day.



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