Thursday, February 11, 2010

Torchwood - Season 2

Second season of Torchwood, and I thought that the episodes might get a lot better. But we had mostly a repeat of Season 1. However, the beginning of the season is quite good, because James Masters (Spike from Buffy) is guest starring as Captain John, a time agent from Jack's past. 

But, after the first episode, we get the same quality as last season; fine but not what was expected, even if we also have Martha Jones for a few episodes in the series, and a very nice twist with the character of Owen Harper.


Owen is dead! However, Jack finds the second glove and brings him back from the dead. But that glove is different, and something comes back with Owen, from the eternal darkness. In the end, problem solved, but Owen is still among the living, a different kind of living dead. This twist I liked, but I felt that Owen was underused and underdeveloped, especially with him being a living dead. They could have build a story or a backplot around Owen and his condition, but all we get are sentimental moments and comedy relief!

Okay, we did know that Gwen and Rhys would get married. But did we have to watch another wedding-going-wrong-but-in-the-end-everything-is-fine episode? And of course all wedding cliches were there, and almost every damned series has a similar episode, with max 1-2 having an original twist or something. Gwen is maybe my favorite character for her humanity and strength.

I think that the best episode of the season is Adrift. When Gwen wants to find a 14-year old missing boy, Jack tells her to leave it alone. What is Jack hiding? And is it better to know the truth, or live with hope?

Toshiko is very intelligent and the writers could have used her technical expertise and inventiveness in much better ways, but she always underdeveloped, and mostly in sentimental scenes or episodes, like the soldier of the past needed to save the future stuff... She certainly ahs her own strengths, and the writers could have shown us much more from Toshiko.

Ianto is the only one who did not have his own episode in this season, mainly because he had the worst episode of Torchwood, Cyberwoman, in the last season. There isn't much to say about Ianto, other than he could have been developed better as well, and maybe show us something from the past, as he was working for Torchwood 1, until its destruction in the battle of Canary Wharf (Doctor Who, Doomsday).

Final verdict is that the best episodes of the season, are the episodes with James Masters as Captain John and the episode Adrift.

At the end of season 2, only Jack, Ianto and Gwen are left in Torchwood. Toshiko was killed by Gray, and Owen was disintegrated saving Cardiff from a nuclear explosion (he was dead anyway!) I am currently watching the 3rd season, which is a 5 episode special "Children of Earth", which is much better than the previous seasons.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Torchwood - Season 1

After having watched all seasons and specials of the Doctor Who series, I started watching the spin-off series, Torchwood, which features the character of Captain Jack Harkness.

Generally, it is not a bad series, and it is quite interesting. However, we are talking about Captain Jack Harkness and the worlds of Doctor Who. So, excuse me, if I wanted something more than just another series, which has not been delivered.

The characters and the setting are very good, and if the scripts were much better, we could have a lot of good and shining moments for the characters. What is missing especially is that twist in the script, that one episode that people will remember. But there is nothing in this season. Just some good episodes and some bad episodes (in the latter category, I would definitely put Cyberwoman...)

The series could have more episodes about Jack's past; after all he was born and lived in the 51st century, he was a Time Agent, he has been around the universe with our favorite Timelord, and there could definitely be a few stories about his past (and there could have been a couple of cross-overs with Doctor Who).


The best episode of the season is, in my opinion, "They Keep Killing Suzie". The Torchwood team has to revive Suzie for a couple of minutes, using a certain alien glove; however, Suzie does not want to die again!

That glove there, was very similar to Rassilon's glove from Doctor Who's End of Time. Of course, the Doctor Who episode was produced much after Torchwood's first season. 

Next, on my three best episodes list, is Out of Time. This is where we have good character development, especially for Jack, Owen and Gwen. But still, it could have been a lot better.


And the last episode that I liked more than the others, is "Combat". This is an Owen Harper episode, where we do see that Owen has more depth and hurt than anyone else on the team maybe, and that there is something hidden deep within Owen.

And last scene of the season, is the glowing hand of the Doctor, the sound of the TARDIS materializing, and Jack and hand disappearing...

Closing, this is not a bad series. The episodes are just okay, and I felt like there could be much much more. I don't know whether to categorize it as Undelivered Potential, Wasted Potential or both.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Doctor Who - 2008 - 2009 Specials - David Tennant

This post is about the last episodes of David Tennant as the Doctor. As from Spring 2010, we will have a new Doctor, but more about this later.

Firstly, we have the Christmas 2008 episode, "The Next Doctor", set at Christmas Time in London of 1851. Guest starring David Morrissey as a second Doctor! But is Morrissey one of the next regenerations of our beloved timelord, or is there a different explanation for this second Doctor? The answer lies with a fob watch, like the one every timelord has in their possession, like the one the Doctor has in Human Nature/Family of Blood and the Master has in Utopia.

This is a good episode, nothing special though as far as the story is concerned. Here we start to see the influence the events in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End had on the Doctor. This is an episode based on the performances of Tennant and Morrissey, and on this end we are rewarded. They make a good team, especially for the first part, when Morrissey thinks he is the Doctor. The initial scene with the rope was hilarious!

Planet of the Dead and a new companion maybe for the Doctor? I wish! Lady Christina De Souza is an interesting character, and I would gladly have her as the Doctor's companion for another season with David Tennant. The two had good chemistry, maybe Lady Christina has a lot in common with the Doctor, but also a lot of differences. However, this is where Davros' hard words find their aim: the Doctor does not want a companion, he is afraid that those words were true.

The next special, Waters of Mars is maybe the best of the specials. It's neither the story nor the enemies of the Doctor, that are the central theme here. This special is a character study of the Doctor himself, of his feelings, of who he is, and what he is doing. The events of Waters of Mars are fixed in time, and cannot change without dire consequences for the future. Is there a solution? Can the Doctor do something, even a little thing?

But why does he do it? Is it because he really wants to help, or is it because of his pain? Maybe because of his own ego? The last few minutes, from the moment he talks and brags to Adelaide, until the end of the episode, those are some of the series' finest moments.


And here we are at the end of Tennant's Doctor, with the End of Time Parts I and II. I was expecting much much more from a special that marks the end of one of the most loved Doctors, where we have the Master, and the return of the timelords... The first part was such a disappointment, story wise! If it weren't for John Simm and David Tennant's performances, it probably would have been totally unwatchable. Honorable mention to Bernard Cribbins, he is wonderful as Wilfred Mott... I liked his character very much, all through the 4th season.

In the second part, things get a little better, especially in the second half of the episode, where we have Timothy Dalton portraying Lord President Rassillon! Really wonderful to see so many good actors on the screen together.

I didn't like the reason for the Doctor's regeneration at all. I thought it was quite lame, and it was like the writers just put that scene there so that we can have a regeneration. I don't know what or how I wanted it to be, but certainly something a lot better. Anyway, the Doctor has a bit of time before his regeneration, so he goes to say goodbye to all the people he traveled with in the last 3 seasons. He even finds Rose, before the events with the plastic consciousness, before she ever met the Doctor...

I don't want to go, the last words of the timelord before his regeneration. Neither did we Mr. Tennant!

I don't know how Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor will be. I am certainly going to give Matt Smith a chance to convince me that he has that special quality to make at least a good Doctor. And frankly, I want Matt Smith to be good in the role, I want to be watching and enjoying Doctor Who for years to come.