Well, I’ve been watching the new series of Torchwood for the last three weeks, and I still can’t make up my mind about it. While it seems to be getting good reviews Stateside, I’m not convinced that all the American money that has been pumped into it has actually improved things. The production values are extremely glossy, and the storyline is intriguing, but it all feels as though everything’s been turned up to such a pitch that something has been lost. Sometimes, less is more.
Take last night, for example. There was a scene between Oswald Danes and Captain Jack, which drew a connection between the motivations of both men who have each brought about the death of a child. Danes gloried in the fact while Jack has an almost unbearable sense of guilt. It was a powerful scene, with good writing and acting, but I wished that they could have got rid of the music that kept thumping away. In trying to build tension, the music actually destroyed the horror and power of the scene for me.
Still, there are some good things in it. There are good ideas in it, starting with the deceptively simple theme of “no one dies” and building out from there. And the writers have clearly had some fun with the exchanges between the characters – last week’s comic relief of the air steward insisting that he wasn’t gay, or last night’s cutting remark from Rex telling Jack to act his age, when of course there’s another level of irony there that Rex is currently unaware of. Serious moments, too, as when Jack desperately wants reassurance from Gwen that their partnership means something, but while she initially gives him that, she is soon distracted by the sight of her husband and baby, and leaves Jack talking into his phone by himself, unaware that the connection has been lost.
I’m not entirely convinced by all the new characters introduced in this series. Most still feel one-dimensional to me. But I do particularly like the character of Jilly Kitzinger, played by Lauren Ambrose. With her flaming red hair, bright red lipstick and red clothes, I wonder who – or what – Kitzinger is. The devil in disguise, probably.
Update: I see that the Guardian has raised the question of whether this series of Torchwood is any good or not.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s a patch on Children of Earth. But then, that was an unexpected treasure, given the rather hit and miss results of the earlier series of Torchwood.
I’ve stopped watching Miracle Day. I really can’t be bothered. Mind you, I still think that Lauren Ambrose was mesmerising.