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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 ?
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