Monday, February 11, 2008

In which I make kazekage's head explode

I'm halfway through the first season of "Torchwood".

And I like it.

Bearing in mind that for the past few weeks, my esteemed and learned friend kazekage has been waging the sort of holy war usually reserved for Joe Quesada's latest fuck-up, I was quite surprised when I ended up enjoying the show.

Yes, I'll concede that the fairies episode was crap. But "Countrycide" was effectively creepy, and I really liked Suzie Costello's comeback, especially the idea that Gwen's whole Torchwood experience might simply be walking in someone else's footsteps, and we know how that story ends.

There'll probably be a seasonal review as soon as I finish off the remaining episodes, but I've found that most of kazekage's criticisms don't ring true for me: yes, the acting's awkward, but not a dealbreaker (though I suppose that after "Bionic Woman" and "Melrose Place", my pain threshold is way up there). The characters make some stupid choices, but unlike the last two seasons of "Buffy" (or the most recent arc of "Heroes", for that matter), mistakes aren't born of ineptitude but rather curiosity, self-interest, corruption and so on. I think I prefer it that way - it could just as easily have gone the other way a la "Men in Black" where they're so super-competent and so in control that nothing fazes them, there's no risk.

In earlier posts, kazekage had designated Jack Harkness as a Mary Stu: a walking mass of contrivance designed to be universally loved and so on. But to be honest, I'm not seeing it: sure, everyone loves Jack, but that's because John Barrowman is very pretty and he's got a bit of charm to him. That's justification for why everyone loves him, and justification (or rather, the lack thereof) is what defines a Mary Sue/Stu, because what makes such characters so annoying is that they're lionized for no visibly apparent reason. At least with Jack, I can see why half the team wants him.

And it's true that things tend to fall apart without Jack, but that's been the case with every protagonist-oriented series: the Scoobies never did well without Buffy, Veronica Mars' supporting cast could never solve a mystery without her, and Very Bad Things happen to the X-Men when Xavier's not around.

More to follow once I've finished the season and gathered my thoughts...