Children of Earth
What's that saying? Oh, right: Better late than never. Listen, I've been thinking about this series' ending for a month. Solid. OK, not solid. But a lot. It's a triumph of bleakness, and that's kind of putting it lightly. Shall we talk about it, fellow BBC-watchers?
It's time to just suck it up and accept that it does not matter if I feel like the entire internet has had its say about the last two days of Torchwood: Children of Earth. I am not the entire internet! And I still have thoughts! They're just delayed, is all.
And of course there are plenty of spoilers. Click here and read further at your own risk!
I watched, I didn't weep, I got a little choked up, I have a lot to say â€”Â but I had all kinds of Things that needed doing the last few days, so I'm a bit behind. And I watched Day Four and Day Five pretty much one after the other, so they're a touch blurry. But I'm working on it.
Your Torchwood posts, they shall return. In the meantime, if anybody wants to talk about it, I'm here for you, man. We could probably all use a good heart-to-heart after that.
Well, that was kind of intense. Shall we talk about it? Let's.
It's a little funny that I was just discussing Torchwood's "adult" content levels, given that Day Two gives us entirely naked Jack. (And to think I just read a quote from John Barrowman about eventually getting his kit off.) It's not quite as hot as it might sound, though. Mostly, it's rather unpleasant. But let me tuck this all behind a spoiler cut. (For an introduction to Torchwood and my thoughts on Day One, look here.)
I admit it: I'm rapidly falling for Torchwood.
I haven't watched the new Doctor Who — not the Christopher Eccleston series, and not the David Tennant series (save three or four episodes, which varied drastically in quality). Torchwood is a Who spinoff — the names are anagrams of each other — but you don't really have to know one to watch the other. You don't even really have to know the first two seasons of Torchwood to watch Torchwood: Children of Earth, the five-part miniseries that began last night on BBC America.
It probably helps, though. I'm six or seven episodes into Torchwood's first season, despite a coworker's insistence that I ought to just skip it and go straight into season two (I'm a completist. Even if I'd known how much I'd hate "Black Market," the absolute nadir of Battlestar Galactica, I still would've had to watch it, just to know why I'd hate it so much). Torchwood is a rather X-Files-like show about the titular organization, a secret institute founded by Queen Victoria that protects the human race from alien threats. For various reasons too elaborate to go into here, the Torchwood of the show is Torchwood Three, and it's in Cardiff. In Wales. Can you think of the last thing you watched that was set in Wales?
Torchwood's first series started strong, with an episode that brings a new member to the team: former cop Gwen Cooper (the sweet-faced Eve Myles), an ordinary woman who initially serves as the conscience for the other team members, who've maybe been down in the Hub, Torchwood's home base, too long. It's immediately apparent why the show is so popular in certain circles: We're encouraged to identify with Gwen, who's in over her normal-lass head but shines unexpectedly in the team's strange environment (I think this overlaps with certain kinds of popular fanfic, but that's a whole 'nother discussion). Plus, there's a lot of making out! Everybody's kind of in love with everybody else! Everybody's both hot and sort of attainable looking! Awesome!
Gwen and the rest of the gang are led by the omnisexual ("Period military is not the dress code of a straight man," one team member theorizes), unkillable, rather charmingly cocky Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). They find alien stuff and destroy or use it. Sometimes the results are really cheesy, and sometimes the episodes are just plain terrible. But cheekiness and sweetness exist side by side in Torchwood, and they both overlap with the sometimes goofy, sometimes fascinating science fiction elements. To the show's credit, even the worst episodes (that I've thus far seen, anyway) tend to have an element, or moment, that works to redeem the plot's failings. In the clunky "Cyberwoman," the unexpected emotional side of Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) comes to the fore; one moment between Gwen and crabby doctor Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) nearly makes up for the rest of the awful, awful cheap horror flick that is "Countrycide."
I've got half of the first season and all of season two to go, but I couldn't resist Children of Earth; the previews were far less campy, but the serious/silly/sweet tone seemed to remain. If you've not watched all of the series up til now, this new miniseries will spoil certain things for you, but I don't think Torchwood is the kind of thing you desperately need to remain unspoiled for. (Also, if you're at all an internet junkie, it's probably impossible. I knew things I didn't want to know about Children of Earth at least a week before it started airing here.)
But enough intro. Let's talk about the new show.