Sunday, January 14, 2007

Final verdict on Torchwood

Well, I've digested, cogitated and deliberated, and the top-to-bottom ratings of series 1 of Torchwood look something like this:

Captain Jack Harkness
Small Worlds
They Keep Killing Suzie
End of Days
Combat
Out of Time
Greeks Bearing Gifts
The Ghost Machine
Everything Changes
Countrycide
Cyberwoman
Day One
Random Shoes

I still think on balance that Small Worlds is a better story and a better 45 minutes of television than Captain Jack Harkness, but CJH feels closer to what the rest of the series should have been, whereas SW doesn't really feel connected to the rest of the series at all.
Mind you, I think on reflection the big problem with the first half to two thirds of the series is that the episodes don't feel connected to each other. That's not to say that we got "stand-alone episodes" as was claimed, just that there didn't seem to be any continuity of characters and situation from one week to the next. I've blogged about the Chibnall effect before, of course.
End of Days is knocked down by the last ten minutes, which were absurdly rushed, threw out a promising story in favour of a big end-of-level computer game monster with no build-up whatsoever, and reverted to the "scum" versions of the Torchwood team. But thirty-five excellent minutes and ten abysmal minutes still make a very good episode (cf 2005 Who episode Aliens of London, which had ten excellent minutes followed by thirty-five abysmal minutes).
Taking the last few episodes, which did start to gel as a series, as the echt Torchwood, I've therefore reconsidered the earlier episodes in their light. I enjoyed Countrycide and Cyberwoman as straightforward action/thriller stories, but looking back over the series as a whole they don't seem to fit in, so they end up near the bottom. Day One fits in a bit more, but is rather plain sci-fi tat, so goes below them. Random Shoes is unforgiveably poor and out of step with the overall feel of the show, and remains in last place.

3 comments:

Dawn said...

I see we agree on the placing of End of Days and Random Shoes and almost agree on a couple of others. The placings in my own list were chosen after much deliberation and may still be subject to change, but as I am well aware that Torchwood has not been without fault on a number of occasions, my list is placed purely on how much I enjoyed the individual episode, regardless of other factors, and is as follows:-

Countrycide
Out of Time
Greeks Bearing Gifts
They Keep Killing Suzie
End of Days
Captain Jack Harkness
Small Worlds
Combat
Day One
Everything Changes
The Ghost Machine
Cyberwoman
Random Shoes

I agree with you on the whole about Small Worlds, however, it was seriously let down for me as I feel it lost it's way in the last 5 minutes; the ending really didn't work for me. Yes, Out of Time was hardly an actioner, but I felt the episode did well on many levels. Countrycide completely clicked for me and just simply had the 'wow' factor I'd been waiting for. Random Shoes was elevated from terrible only by the absence of a Blue Peter generated monster, but my main problem with this one (which would have improved it for me no end had it been picked up) was that although Eugene grew up in Cardiff and the rest of his family all spoke with Welsh accents, he himself spoke with a London accent and sounded identical to the character in Love and Monsters. Regrettably, this destroyed the whole episode for me.

My input for what it's worth and I hope others post their own lists here

John Toon said...

Why, thank you. Do I know you, or have I acquired... unbiased readers? (And have you read my fanzine website?)

Skeeter said...

My own list for what it's worth!

Captain Jack Harkness
Small Worlds
Combat
They Keep Killing Suzie
End of Days
Countrycide
The Ghost Machine
Cyberwoman
Out of Time
Day One
Greeks Bearing Gifts
Everything Changes
Random Shoes

Combat is way up the list 'cause not only is it an excellent piece of writing overall but it's also one of the few eps that manages to make Jack recognisable as the character in DW and more than a cipher.

As a CJ fan the CJH ep had to come out on top for the emotional power all the way through. In fact all my favourite eps were where they had managed to up the emotional ante (with the exception of Out of Time which bored me silly)

Isn't it strange how "Random Shoes" came bottom in everyone's list?! ;-)

Hopeing for bigger and better things in the next season - IMO first season was uneven in the extreme (even more than Buffy first season)