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Guardian.co.uk

James Marsters - "Torchwood" Tv Series - Guardian.co.uk Review

vendredi 22 juin 2007, par Webmaster

Sticking Spike into Torchwood

Torchwood are borrowing everyone’s favourite demon. Why don’t they borrow some of Buffy’s humour, plot and characterisation as well ?

The scarily accurate Dead Ringers spoof accused Torchwood of having "the scrapings off the floor of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer script meeting." Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, then, to learn that the next series will actually include a refugee from the Buffy cast.

James Marsters - who played Cockney vampire Spike, Buffy’s second undead, unsuitable love interest - has announced a guest role in the BBC3 show next year. Marsters’ website reports he’s currently filming a part in the second series of "UK sci-fi television favourite Torchwood."

This is misinformed. For a start, Doctor Who (which has guest-starred fellow Buffy alumnus Anthony Head) is Britain’s sci-fi favourite. Along with ITV’s Primeval, Torchwood is currently the only other sci-fi show we have, and it still doesn’t qualify for a place in the top three.

Touted when it launched last year as a moody, adult spin-off from Doctor Who, it postured as Angel meets The X Files, while coming off more Garth Marenghi meets a Welsh Hollyoaks Let Loose on a warmed-over hellmouth.

In Joss Whedon style, Torchwood boasts a team of bickering bright young things on the weekly trail of an extra-terrestrial "big bad." Where it departs from the Whedon style is in its complete lack of humour, invention, plots that hung together and snappy, self-aware dialogue. Oh, and characterisation.

John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness works well as flirtatious foil to the Doctor in the parent programme. In his own show, he set the strange tenor of Torchwood’s sexual politics - when the boss is trying to get off with everyone, it’s harassment in the workplace.

In an early episode, the resident lothario Owen used a magic love potion on his dates that had more or less the same effect as Rohypnol, without consequences.

Buffy writers would have expanded a device like that to explore where our moral boundaries would lie if we really could get anyone we fancied into bed. (And no doubt the title would’ve been some clever pop culture pun on "Mickey Finn").

Whedon’s original cult hit proved that a preposterous premise can produce ultra-smart drama with emotional resonance. Torchwood proved that it could be infinitely more infantile than its teatime counterpart, despite the swearing and shagging.

Maybe we should be hoping the writers plunder more, not less, from Whedon for its second outing ?


Answer to this article

7 Messages de forum

  • Its one of those shows u either like it or not...Simply that,not every ones cup of tea...I didnt mind the first episode ,but only time will tell if it rates well here in Perth.W.A..I was even more pleased to hear James Marster is going to appear in the second season of torchwood..hey im not complaining why not see some of the buffy gang in other shows..they are good actors never short of a an acting spot..thats the way too be always in peoples view ,never get forgotton...Never to hear the awfull words muttered "Oh wonder what happened to him after buffy"...God knows ???

    Voir en ligne : James Marsters - "Torchwood" Tv Series - Guardian.co.uk Review

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  • Absolutly- the turning the Daleks into "Vampires with a soul" was the last straw. The irony is Joss Whedon wanted to make the Ripper spin off with "old school" BBC production values.

    For a PC v Mac style youtube parody of the new RT Davies Daleks see below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch ?v=XEtMNrK9nHQ

    Voir en ligne : Mac V PC doctor who parody

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  • You had respect in writing this article before saying Primeval was better than torchwood. I know some people do not like Torchwood, but all the problems picked with it in this article are rife in that abysimal show too. At least Torchwood is obviously working on it’s problems. Primeval had to deal with plot holes, science that couldn’t even possibly be true, oh and if the story got slow we had gratuitous shots of Hannah Spearitt in her underpants.

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  • Well, fair enough if you don’t like it, but Torchwood had some awesome stories, and some awful ones. Captain Jack Harkness was brilliantly done, Small Worlds was eery, Cyberwoman was rubbish etc. This is the first time this kind of series has been done by BBC Wales, however, so they need to find their feet more than anything else. Part of the peril of recording everything beforfe showing it to an audience. You can’t judge reaction in time. Torchwood series 2 should be better by far, now they know what works and what doesn’t. Roll on Series 2 !

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  • James Marsters - "Torchwood" Tv Series - Guardian.co.uk Review

    26 décembre 2007 18:28, par Madam Miaow

    "Torchwood is currently the only other sci-fi show we have, and it still doesn’t qualify for a place in the top three."

    I wish I’d written that !

    Excellent review.

    Voir en ligne : Madam Miaow says ...

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  • Rip Off or not...this show kicks butt and I love it. Not like we will see a Buffy movie anytime soon. Can’t wait to see season 2 and I am sure James will be wonderful as usual

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  • Does Russell T pay Joss Whedon royalties ? Capt Jack returns after an absence to find that the Scooby Gang - no, I mean the Torchwood team - have a new leader and are managing just fine without Buffy while she was in the grave, no I mean Jack. Who comes in with the line "Hi Kids. Miss me ?" Buffy’s first line in BtVS series one ep one. And the duster - Angel/Spike or what ? Then there was the line "I’ve died so many times" - expecting James to break into song. ANd Captain John was just Spike with dark hair. Not that I am complaining cos James is still gorgeous - still got those cheekbones working for me - and hey, the kissing... momma. Not quite sure what the plot was in this ep tho.

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