Torchwood Season 2


 Greetings, and welcome to another instalment of Crystal Ball. This time looking at the curiously-anticipated forthcoming second series of Torchwood. I say curiously-anticipated because since last year’s run the show has had, to put it kindly, mixed reviews. Far beyond the ‘Marmite’ label, the series has issues – with common complaints of poor writing, a juvenile sense of what ‘adult’ drama actually entails, unsympathetic characters and uninspiring storylines. A lot was riding on this series, and one idea that came out of what eventuated was that too little preparation was given to the programme, resulting in a mish-mash of styles and treatments. The series is premiering in the USA, and Ain’t It Cool News caught wind of it. The talkback speaks for itself… Series two arrives early next year, so it’s time to ask our panel what they’d like to see.

In fact, we’ll be asking the panel three things – what they’d LIKE to see (their wish list where anything goes and indulgence of the fan is the order of the day); what they WANT to see (the things they think ought to return or be introduced to improve the series); and what they think we WILL see. Because the panel’s answers make for a lenghty article we’ve chooped this one up into three sections, with each section arriving on a different day. Today it’s LIKE’s turn. Our panel consists of: DR (David Ronayne), JP (Jon Preddle), AB (Alden Bates), AH (Alistair Hughes), JE (Jamas Enright) and SB (Stuart ‘Foo’ Brown). 

Q: ‘What Would You LIKE To See?’

Straight off the block on this one, our panel held very little back, some using this category to suggest improvements. Which, strictly speaking, can be a wish list in itself, so here goes. “Competence!” cried JE, while DR wanted Torchwood the series “To grow up”. Some of the storytelling got a fair whack as well, including: “No more deux ex machina solutions” (JP) and to expand from SB: “Well written stories which don’t have cop out or Deus Ex Machina endings”. Honestly, it’s like we’re on the same page here, people! “An episode free of annoying characters. (hmm… not sure who would still be around.)” – that was JE again, and “Plots that work – rather than the weekly alien thingee falls through the rift, stuffs some people up, the team shag, and Jack pulls a solution out of a hat.” from DR. JP was even more specific with “More care taken with internal continuity : date-wise, series 1 seemed to cover mid-2007 to mid-2008, which is nearly a whole year, and yet from a character development point of view, it seems to be only a few months.” Okay, enough negativity guys; what would you like to SEE?

“A decent threat or ongoing enemy” suggested Dave, as well as “Accountability – if they don’t have a boss Torchwood at least needs a mandate and direction”. True enough – it would appear that being ‘beyond’ everything the Cardiff team lacks some focus perhaps.

How about storylines then? ”A lock-and-load Aliens-esque episode.With big guns” wrote AB, and AH expressed a desire to see “An encounter/showdown with UNIT, bringing in a decent ongoing UNIT rival/ally character for Jack to bounce off (maybe literally?)” er, okay Al! Anybody else? “I’d like to see the Brigadier or Sarah Jane Smith making a guest appearance.” said Jon, as well as the more general “More stories with a supernatural / ghost theme. (Doctor Whotends to shy away from those, tending to ’explain’ unusual phenomena as being the work of aliens or ancient beings from the “dawn of time”.) Let’s have something that is simply left unexplained, or not fobbed off with a ‘pure’ scientific explanation.” And that’s not a bad suggestion, given the good reception the less-than-scientific ‘Small Worlds’ got last year. And yet from some quarters there isn’t yet enough explanation: “Explanation about the freaking rift machine.” said Jamas, while Al asks for “Some hint or explanation of the nature of the Time Agents (A Sapphire and Steel cross-over?  What element would Jack be?  Silicon? Lycra?)”.

Jack’s past was a common theme in the panel’s answers, with Jon asking to see “More about Jack’s past – especially the Time Agents, and what he got up to before he met the Doctor. (What’s his real name?)”, and Stu offered as his request “a single ‘flashback’ episode of Captain Jack’s past” plus “the return of Bilis” and ”less of ‘Super Jack’” and perhaps looking even further forward, “Martha slapping Owen”.

Ah yes, Owen. Not a popular guy with the panel. “Owen contracts an alien VD and has his genitals explode” requested Alden, and we’ll be hearing more about wish-Owen’s exploits in our next panel. Lots more wishing went on still – some of it plausible: “Fallout from the Saxon incident (or what anyone recalls of it after the RTD reset button) to be addressed/mopped up by the Torchwood team, similar to the way that the Who series 2 finale had an impact.” breathed Al, before adding “Some sort of legacy of the Lazarus Labs to be dealt with (maybe this could be tied in with point 1. above)”. Lots of possibilities there, or perhaps just “Jack somehow contacting Rose via the Rift.” – she’s gone, Al – let it go! Ah, here’s a reasonable voice: “Kylie Minogue as a guest star in a steamy scene with Martha” (AB) well… er… well it’s Torchwood, who’s to say it couldn’t happen?

Finally, let’s wrap this up with some last suggestions, many of which will carry us over to the next crystal ball instalment. “A central character coming incredibly close to death (excluding Capt Jack) and the viewers being unsure if they will make it (maybe they even die?!)” from Stu, along with the optimistic “Series 2 being better then Series 1, announcement of a third Series next year (based on series 2 being better then the first), further Who crossover similar to the Cyberwoman episode (but better), a truly spectacular finale episode which leaves us wanting more. Excellent. Doesn’t leave a lot of space for the others though Foo, so what do they wish to see in our crystal ball? Well, Dave would like them to “lose Jack – take the immortal with a future cast in stone out of the equation to allow the other characters to grow.”, which certainly sets a task for RD, Chris Chibnall and co. And finally, cheekily “A derogatory reference to Primeval (not the Big Finish Audio)” from Al. Which is pretty ripe given that the Primeval team at least DO have accountability, an uncertain future and no Owen.

Tune in next time when we ask the panel what they think the series NEEDS in 2008 to lift its game!


One Response to “Torchwood Season 2”

  1. Foo Says:

    Speaking of Torchwood, it has just premiered on BBC America with nearly half a million viewers for the first episode. Reviews from the US press include (all nicked from the news page on OG)…

    “The Hollywood Reporter called the series “a crackling good, brilliantly conceived sci-fi series that targets actual grownups” while the Los Angeles Times described the show as “indescribably delicious”.

    TV Guide said the programme was a “a cheeky and often startlingly adult spin-off” and Variety said it has the fixings of a thinking-man’s sci-fi series that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

    The Kansas City Star says the programme is “one of the best serial dramas to arrive on American television in 2007″ and The Philadelphia Inquirer describes it as “by turns super-slick, raw, bizarre, hilarious, spooky, scary and sublimely sexy”.”

    Phew, all rather promising. Hanging out for series two – I hope it kicks the first series.

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